The United States of America is at war in Afghanistan and Libya and has nearly 50,000 troops remaining in Iraq. We have 702 military bases in 63 countries around the world.
We’ve become the world’s policeman.
This mission comes with a hefty price tag — most importantly, in the lives of our soldiers. Secondarily, but not inconsequentially, in dollars. Last year, we spent $685 billion for our worldwide presence, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now we’re adding Libya to the bill.
So, how do we pay for all this policing?
Over the weekend, in a visit to Iraq, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher suggested, “We would hope that some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the megadollars we have spent here in the last eight years.”
We can hope, but Sean Hannity went a misplaced step further: “We have every right to go in there [into Iraq and Kuwait] and, frankly, take all their oil and make them pay for the liberation.”
Heavens! Rescuing someone doesn’t give us the right to take others’ money or oil or anything else.
Now, were a liberated nation to choose to repay us, that’d be nice. Kuwait did actually pay more of the financial cost of the Gulf War than we did.
But face it: Policing the world is just not cost-effective. Making it pay by turning a liberation crusade into an excuse for looting? That’s not police activity.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.