Earlier today, the Associated Press published
The costs of the Afghanistan war, in lives and dollars
From the "Human costs" section:
American service members killed in Afghanistan through April: 2,448.
U.S. contractors: 3,846. Afghan national military and police: 66,000. Other allied service members, including from other NATO member states: 1,144. Afghan civilians: 47,245. Taliban and other opposition fighters: 51,191. Aid workers: 444. Journalists: 72.
From the "Paying for a war on credit, not in cash" section (note that some of the statistics combine the Afghan and Iraq wars):
Amount President Harry Truman temporarily raised top tax rates to pay for Korean War: 92%.
Amount President Lyndon Johnson temporarily raised top tax rates to pay for Vietnam War: 77%.
Amount President George W. Bush cut tax rates for the wealthiest, rather than raise them, at outset of Afghanistan and Iraq wars: At least 8%.
Estimated amount of direct Afghanistan and Iraq war costs that the United States has debt-financed as of 2020: $2 trillion. Estimated interest costs by 2050: Up to $6.5 trillion.
From the “The wars end. The costs don’t” section:
Amount Bilmes estimates the United States has committed to pay in health care, disability, burial and other costs for roughly 4 million Afghanistan and Iraq veterans: more than $2 trillion.
Period those costs will peak: after 2048.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s statements
I could not find a press release from Capito. Here is what she has said on Twitter (today’s Intelligencer also referenced this):
Capito asserts that the president’s actions are “erasing the gains” of the past several years. What gains are you referring to, Senator? Please be specific and how they justify the trillions of dollars that have and will be spent on this war.
Representative David McKinley
Here are David McKinley’s questions posing as arguments:
McKinley makes seven arguments, but they are all in question form; it's a convenient structure that allows him to assert without having to offer any proof. (Note that McKinley acknowledges that they are statements/assertions and not questions when he draws his conclusion: “This is so sad.”)
Finally, it should be noted that both Capito and McKinley have recently returned to the Republican’s favorite argument when Democrats are in power: the deficit. Of course, as they have both proven, “what about the deficit?” is suspended when it comes to supporting war and passing Republican tax cuts.
Is this Biden’s finest moment, so far, as President?
The president, yesterday:
"I am president of the United States of America and the buck stops with me. I'm deeply saddened by the facts we now face. But I do not regret my decision to end America's war-fighting in Afghanistan and maintain a laser focus on our counterterrorism missions."
We should never have gone to war against Afghanistan in the first place – terrorism is a tactic, not a country. Biden’s three predecessors, especially Obama (who could have declared “mission accomplished” with the capture of Bin laden), probably saw this but were afraid to face the political fallout that Biden now faces for ending the war. As for the chaos in Afghanistan, I think it was inevitable once it became clear that we were finally leaving. I think this was a brave decision on Biden’s part; hopefully, the American public will agree that it was the right thing to do.
A way for McKinley and Capito to demonstrate that they truly support the Afghan people
Here's Maryland Republican governor, Larry Hogan, committing to having more Afghan citizens relocate in Maryland:
Why don't McKinley and Capito talk to Governor Justice about doing the same thing in West Virginia? Not only would it demonstrate their willingness to support those who have fled the Taliban, it would help reverse the state's declining population numbers. (Why am I skeptical that this will happen?)