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Politics

Bin Laden’s 3 Trillion Dollars

By conservative estimates, Osama Bin Laden has cost the U.S. at least 3 trillion dollars.  I’ve been thinking about things we could have done with that money.

  • Pay for health care for every American for ten years.
  • Pay for 30 million young people to go to college.
  • Give every teacher in America a 50% pay raise.
  • Fund every public school in America for four years.
  • Pay off over 20% of the national deficit.
  • Create science grants to bring America back to the top of innovation and advancement.
  • Feed the fifteen million children in poverty for a decade.
  • Increase NASA’s funding to facilitate real space research.
  • Rebuild New Orleans.

The list could go on for hours.  These are just a few things I thought of off the top of my head.  We’ve got Republicans proposing deep budget cuts and fighting over government programs that are suffering for lack of millions of dollars.  And we spent trillions of dollars to kill one man.

I’m not suggesting that Osama wasn’t a bad guy, and that he didn’t deserve what he got.  However, I will suggest that our priorities are very, very skewed.  Let’s not overlook the fact that our own George W. Bush is responsible for more deaths than Osama, and flaunting his policy of torture in front of the U.N. and the entire first world.

In the process of bringing one man to justice, we forfeited any number of programs that would have helped every American citizen in tangible ways.  We spent three trillion dollars so that we could have a collective fist pump and “fuck you.”  We traded homeland prosperity for the illusion of homeland security, illegal wiretaps, constant reminders of “threat level orange,” and the worst foreign relations… well… maybe ever.

We must ask ourselves:  What did we really gain by killing Osama Bin Laden?  Is the U.S. any safer from terrorist attacks today than it was two weeks ago?  Are our foreign relations any better?  Are you wealthier today because he’s dead?  Do you feel better about travelling abroad?  What did you personally gain from the three trillion dollars we spent, and the thousands and thousands of deaths over the last decade?

If you didn’t gain anything, and none of your neighbors did, and none of their neighbors did…

Just sayin’.

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Discussion

9 thoughts on “Bin Laden’s 3 Trillion Dollars

  1. As they say, an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    That is, that trillion dollars, [or the current US counter-terrorism budget used to fund illegal wire taps] should go into research of what makes people terrorists and what we can do to prevent it. Rather than contributing to terrorism, we prevent it.

    Posted by cptpineapple | May 6, 2011, 3:52 pm
  2. Alison, I think that’s a wonderful idea. However, I must point out that we know a lot about what makes people terrorists, but we’re not too keen to deal with the implications of admitting it publicly.

    Certainly Middle East politics cannot be separated from religion, and the Christian-Muslim aspect of our foreign policy is not helping anything. But this is also about on the ground realities. U.S. oil interests and pseudo-imperialism have done nothing to encourage peace. Our dogged support of Israel in the face of fairly reasonable claims by the Palestinians have done nothing to encourage peace. (That, by the way, is completely grounded in religion, Alison. If you don’t know about Zionism, look it up. It’s religion informing politics. No wiggle room.)

    On the other hand, Middle East theocracies create an atmosphere with a volatile and angry populace. Even without U.S. interference, it would be a nasty place. So it’s not all our fault. We have just been picking the wrong approach at pretty much every turn.

    Finally, our handling of religion is curiously Biblical. Our politicians have not removed the beam from their own eye, so they cannot see that the U.S. is nearly as religiously extreme as the Middle East. We do it differently, but religion informs our day to day life and foreign policy in at least as many ways as many of the countries we despise.

    So yeah… prevention. I love the idea. I love it, love it, love it. But without addressing our politicizing of religion, and our own Right Wing Theocratic oil agenda, I don’t think there’s much hope.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | May 6, 2011, 4:06 pm
  3. The question is, why the fuck did it take us 3 trillion dollars to kill one asshole!!!!

    The answer is obvious, of course…another asshole. If we’d had a competent commander in chief ten years ago, we’d be 3 trillion dollars richer, and Bin Laden would still be dead.

    Thanks a lot, W.

    Posted by Ian | May 6, 2011, 5:03 pm
  4. Thanks Hamby, for basically demostrating why I think the atheist movement gets in the way of scientific advancement and think they’re helping when they’re not.

    If you want actual insight into terrorism:

    http://www.amazon.ca/Talking-Enemy-Scott-Atran/dp/0061344907/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1289166873&sr=8-1

    Here’s my review of it:

    http://cptpineapple.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/talking-to-the-enemy-2/

    But that won’t help will it? Until we get rid of religion, it doesn’t matter. And that’s just the thing. Even when research says that getting rid of religion won’t do anything, and that doing something else will be far more effective, we should just discard that advice and go with the getting rid of religion.

    Think we’re helping when we’re not and even when we’re making things worse.

    Posted by cptpineapple | May 6, 2011, 5:06 pm
  5. Yeah. I’m afraid Bush’s “legacy” will continue to bite us in the ass for decades.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | May 6, 2011, 5:07 pm
  6. Actually Ian, the 3 trillion was a waste after all because Bin Laden was caught, when he put his personal information on PSN.

    Posted by cptpineapple | May 6, 2011, 5:09 pm
  7. Alison, I think you misunderstand me. I didn’t say religion is causing the conflict, nor did I say getting rid of religion will solve it. I said that our religious attitudes towards Middle East foreign policy are informing our decisions. And we’re making poor decisions.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | May 6, 2011, 5:43 pm
  8. Hamby, I read you comment several times and re-read it just now.

    I still read it how I first accused you.

    Posted by cptpineapple | May 8, 2011, 2:13 pm
  9. So noted.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | May 8, 2011, 2:27 pm

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