Mar 19, 2012
The Hidden Cost of the War on Terror
Army staff sergeant Robert Bales, trained as a sniper, slaughtered seventeen people in Afghanistan.
Bales left his post in the middle of the night, entered homes in a nearby village, and shot people while they slept.
The early signs point to mental illness as a possible reason for the attack. The sergeant apparently suffered a traumatic brain injury two years ago. After shooting his victims, several of them were stabbed and set on fire.
The suspect suffered the brain injury in Iraq in 2010 after a vehicle he was riding in rolled over. But he passed a mental-health exam following the injury, and was declared fit for deployment. Having spent twenty years in the Air Force, I don’t put any stock in military doctors, especially when it comes to something as complex as the human brain.
An Army psychiatrist recently back from the base where the shootings occurred, who declined to be named, said he knows of two cases in which two soldiers walked off post. “They lost all sense of reality and they just marched down the road. One even got to another Forward Operating base."
The shooting in Afghanistan is reminder of the growing cost of the Iraq-Afghanistan war. The dollar cost of the War on Terror has been rising at an exponential rate. In 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom was given a price tag of $100 billion. The Department of Defense recently claimed the Iraq War's cost as being under $1 trillion. A major report by Brown University, which took into account interest payments and other expenses ignored by other reports, said the total for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is at least $3 trillion.
We haven’t been financing these Middle East campaigns from our spare pocket change. Our nation is on the brink of bankruptcy, and no one in Washington is willing to consider our war costs as part of the problem.
We are scheduled to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The flow of red ink doesn't end as the last tank rolls out. Over two hundred thousand soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated at Veterans' Affairs medical facilities. The cost of medical care and compensation benefits for veterans will skyrocket once those troops return home. In 2007, the tab was $660 billion. Five years later, the cost is over $1 trillion for just the next thirty years.
There is a special class of veterans that we don't know how much they will cost us. These are people who have suffered profound injuries. In previous wars, soldiers who suffered massive brain injuries or lost limbs would likely die on the battlefield. Today, medical science has been able to save their lives. Since most of them will need intensive care for the rest of their lives, they will cost the system millions.
For several years, I’ve warned that our leaders have been incompetent in managing the cost of our foreign wars. Now that we are about to finally leave these godless nations, the damage is largely done. We have followed the same mistake made by the Roman Empire A major cause of its fall was its spending on constant wars.
At least the Romans got something for their military adventurism. When they subdued a land, they would utilize its resources for the benefit of the empire. Our investment in Middle East war has only made the world worse off. We liberated Iraq, only to see it fall into the hands of leaders who are friendly to Iran. Our air war against Libya has allowed Islamists to gain key positions of control of that nation. Afghanistan will quickly be reclaimed by the Taliban once we pull out.
Our next mistake will probably be Syria. We’ll spend hundreds of billions to kick Assad out of power, only to see Hezbollah running the government in Damascus. Assad is a brutal tyrant who deserves to be cast into the hottest part of hell, but we can’t replace him with a party whose campaign logo is "Death to Israel."
Sometime in the near future, the long-term cost of the War on Terror will become a current reality. Once our nation suffers a financial meltdown, all these military endeavors will come to an abrupt end. Since Bible prophecy has no direct mention of America, it seems to predict our exit from the world stage. The Antichrist will be the world’s greatest military leader. America’s sudden departure would indicate the way is being cleared for his arrival.
While most all others who claim the Christian model for their faith system remain silent on one of God’s most prominent signals of the end of the age, Pope Benedict XVI has not. I never thought I would be saying it, but kudos to the pontiff for speaking out on what many of those I consider the most Bible-centered ministers and ministries won’t touch these days.
Speaking out against homosexuality has been rendered akin to racism and use of the “N” word by American media. Government has all but made speaking against the immorality of homosexual activity and the dangers it presents to culture and society a hate crime, in many ways.
The results have been phenomenal. I’ve noticed the deafening silence from even some of the most fundamental evangelicals–that is, those with significant capability of reaching out in a ubiquitous way. In my observation, speaking out against the gay agenda by Christian ministers and organizations whose purpose it is to guard the nation’s gates of morality with Bible truth seems to have died with the deaths of men like Adrian Rogers, Jerry Falwell, and D. James Kennedy. There are exceptions to the generalization I’ve made. John Hagee, for example, is one who thunders against the modern sodomite goings-on.
Most do not wants to reopen the can of worms that the powerful homosexual lobby presents. That lobby has managed to close that lid and the news and entertainment media have placed it high upon the shelf so as to make it out of reach as a topic of criticism. Anyone within Christian circles of any prominence can, if they talk against the gay lifestyle or gay marriage, expect the wrath of the entire propaganda conglomerate to come down upon them in the most vicious torrent of invective that can be gathered.
Ol’ Pope Benedict XVI has stuck out his aged neck, though, and I, for one, whose personal, Christian belief system is about as far from the Catholic system as Protestantism gets, give this pope a high-five for expressing God’s unchanging view of marriage and sexuality.
The following news item frames the issue and the pope’s stance:
Pope Benedict on Friday denounced the "powerful political and cultural currents" seeking to legalize gay marriage in the United States, where Maryland has just become the eighth state to allow it.
The pope's latest comments in opposition to homosexual marriage came in an address to bishops from several Midwestern states on a regular visit to the Vatican.
"Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage," he said.
He added that the traditional family and marriage had to be "defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature" because, he said, whatever injured families injured society.
"In this regard, particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage (in the United States)," he added in a clear reference to gay marriage.
Last week Maryland legalized same-sex marriage.
Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia currently allow gay and lesbian weddings.
Washington State will join the list in June unless opponents stop it ahead of a possible referendum, and Maryland will be added in January 2013 unless its law, too, is overturned by a threatened referendum in November…
Benedict called on American bishops to continue their "defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarities of the sexes and oriented to procreation."
The Vatican and Catholic officials around the world have protested against moves to legalize gay marriage in Europe and other developed parts of the world. (Philip Pullella, "Pope denounces U.S. political push to legalize gay marriage," Reuters, 3/9/ 12)
There are numerous prohibitions in God’s Word against homosexuality, and they have been gone over many times in the articles on this website and in many other forums. I won’t again go over those in this commentary.
Always, the anger comes against us when we must denounce what God plainly calls an abomination and which He is against to the point that He has brought societies, cultures, and even empires that become immersed in such activity to their ends, according to my reading of the Scriptures and history.
"You hate those who are homosexual,” is the hue and cry from those who want silenced the message that homosexuality is a sin. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course.
We wish for those who engage in such sin to come out of that sin and into God’s light. We want them to then walk in that light so their lives can be blessed of God, rather than condemned.
We are always asked when we address the homosexuality issue:”What about all of the other sins–those in which heterosexual individuals engaged? Why do you not condemn that activity–or other sinfulness?"
It isn’t our place to condemn anyone or anything. And, we don’t. But, God does have things to say about the issue of homosexuality, and He expects His children here on earth to carry His message. It is our duty to point to the Word of God as the only truth there is. God sees sin as contrary to His plan for human beings. He created us, thus has the exclusive right to write and hold the manual for living life properly, so that man is not destructive to himself, or to others.
To my fellow Christians, I say that if you “hate” homosexuals–or anyone else—you are as guilty of sin as is the person practicing that vile activity. I say it not because I speak from my own authority, but because our Lord has said it many times and in many ways throughout His written Word.
Love is the opposite of hate. The word for love in the relevant sense, here, is agape in the Greek language. Jesus said the following, in answer to a question by a lawyer trying to trick him:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. n these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Yet it is incumbent upon us who name the name of Christ to call those who practice homosexuality to repentance. So, to the extent that Pope Benedict XVI points out this grievous sin and exhorts corrective action, I say, “Kudos!”