Matthew Leatherman’s Sept. 22 Point of View “ A bottomless fund for a permanent war” was right on target. He highlights the fact that it takes $7.5 million a day to finance our current operations in Iraq and that the Pentagon’s contingency fund is an off-budget, deficit-financed fund for virtually perpetual war.
America needs an honest conversation about how much our overseas military engagements are costing, who’s going to pay for them and how. For the past 12 years, the answer has been to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars from China, Russia and other foreign creditors and leave the tab for our children and grandchildren to pay off.
Recently, in questioning Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, I brought to his attention that America’s debt was $5.6 trillion in 2000. Today it is over $17 trillion. We need to ask ourselves if borrowing more money from overseas to finance another armed conflict in Iraq is fiscally sustainable.
I also asked Hagel whether he thinks Congress needs to pay for the operation in Syria and Iraq today or put it on the backs of our grandchildren. Hagel admitted that the operation the Obama administration is proposing in Iraq would not be brief. If past is prologue, it will not be cheap, either.
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U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones
The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 3.