Gene Lyons in Salon on the myriad forces that insist we can't afford health care, but just as strongly assure us that $6.73 trillion for the war in Afghanistan is perfectly doable. (That's $1 million per soldier, per year.) Go read the whole thing:
For all its brutality, the Taliban rebellion is mainly a localized, nationalist effort to expel foreigners -- one reason Gen. McChrystal hopes to be able to pacify them, as his mentor Gen. David Petraeus bought off Iraqi insurgents. With winter approaching, Taliban fighters will soon be forced into semi-hibernation. Any U.S. buildup will take at least a year to complete.
The big rush, in other words, has less to do with military necessity than with Washington political theater: specifically, the war lobby's ability to force President Obama's hand. Actually, "war industry" might be more apt. It's both more concise than the "military-industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned against and it takes into account the "privatization" of military jobs once done by soldiers -- such as driving supply convoys (Halliburton), guarding embassies and other U.S. facilities (Blackwater) and training Afghan soldiers (DynCorp International).
[...] Following upon David Barstow's 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times exposé about blatant conflicts of interest among Pentagon-coached retired generals posing as disinterested "military analysts" on every TV news network you can think of, Americans can no longer afford to be blasé about the war industry.
They're selling us endless war the way they sell cellphones and Viagra.
The question is: How much is President Obama buying?