- It costs $1.3 million to keep a US soldier in Afghanistan.
- US troops already outnumber the militant faction of the Taliban by 12-1
- For the cost of a single additional US soldier stationed in Afghanistan for a single year, the US could build roughly 20 schools.
“It’s hard to do the calculation precisely,” says Nicholas Kristof in his NY Times column More Schools, Not Troops, “but for the cost of 40,000 troops over a few years — well, we could just about turn every Afghan into a Ph.D.”
Rubbish? The Taliban will burn them down?
“Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan — and not one has been burned down or closed. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban. The Afghan Institute of Learning, another aid group, has 32 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with none closed by the Taliban (although local communities have temporarily suspended three for security reasons).
“In short, there is still vast scope for greater investment in education, health and agriculture in Afghanistan. These are extraordinarily cheap and have a better record at stabilizing societies than military solutions, which, in fact, have a pretty dismal record.”
For Christ Sake, Obama, give peace a chance.