"Lies, damn lies, and statistics."
The past few days the number "83 billion" has been tossed around by right-wing media as somehow a huge "waste" from Joe Biden, because omg omg he personally "left behind" US military equipment valued at that astronomical amount.
This number comes from Traitor Trump, and is apparently unique in that it is a NEW lie from the former so-called president. (These days his lies are usually recycled from months or years ago -- what WaPo calls "golden oldies" lies.
The Washington Post factchecker gives this particular Trump lie three Pinocchios. Only three because the $83 billion isn't made up out of thin air like many of Trump's lies. The Afghanistan War has been a huge money pit for the American taxpayer, but we did NOT leave $83 billion dollars of equipment "on the ground."
U.S. military equipment was given to Afghan security forces over two decades. Tanks, vehicles, helicopters and other gear fell into the hands of the Taliban when the U.S.-trained force quickly collapsed. The value of these assets is unclear, but if the Taliban is unable to obtain spare parts, it may not be able to maintain them.
But the value of the equipment is not more than $80 billion. That’s the figure for all of the money spent on training and sustaining the Afghan military over 20 years. The equipment portion of that total is about $24 billion — certainly not small change — but the actual value of the equipment in the Taliban’s hands is probably much less than even that amount.
As on C&L colleague put it, ending the war in Afghanistan ended the circle of money for military contractors and their investors in DC and the media:
We give Afghanistan military weapons
Taliban seizes said weapons.
We give Afghanistan more weapons
Taliban again seizes said weapons.
Keep repeating to make military contractors more money.
Those invested, both financially and emotionally, in keeping that war machine going, are very upset by ending the war.
And hey, all it was going to COST us was money that goes in THEIR pockets, as well as a few US Marines every year. Listen to veteran Lucas Kunce knock down that argument:
Endless war makes certain people rich. And it makes other people dead. Time to stop killing for profit and bring those soldiers and that investment home.