Opher Aviran, Consul General of Israel to the Southeast Eastern United States, spoke to Columbus Rotarians about the close ties between the United States and Israel. He spoke of the mutual economic benefits of American-Israeli trade connections, using, as example, how Israel’s high-tech development community contributes to American businesses that have facilities in Israel. I have read Israel does have some really talented digital whizzes.
Perhaps the relationship’s working the best for Israel. Their national economy is in much better shape. Their national debt as a percent of their Gross National Product is less than 75 percent. Our national debt’s percentage of our GNP is 106 percent.
We give Israel about $3 billion a year in foreign aid, which is the most we gave any country between 1976 and 2004. Maybe it should be the other way around. To be fair, a lot of that $3 billion goes to American arms manufacturers. You could say it’s just another way of subsidizing the military-industrial complex.
Maybe our government should just stop sending money gifts to any Mideastern ountry. What are we getting for it? The country that we buy the most oil from, Saudi Arabia, doesn’t need handouts from the U.S.
Then there is the military factor to consider. What have we gained by spending almost $900 billion on the war in Iraq? Actually, according to a paper by Linda J. Bilmes of Harvard, the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will total somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion when you factor in longterm medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replacements, and social and economic costs. Our government says the Iraq war is over. If that’s the case why are we still pouring money into it? We’ve budgeted $5.2 billion for it this year.
What are we going to gain by sending $1.4 million Cruise missiles into Syria? I guess it will give a boost to Raytheon, who now manufactures those missiles. We’ll have to buy some more to replace the ones we use. Will we raise taxes to pay for them? Of course not. We’ll just have to borrow some more from China. Well, we could just transfer the funds from Medicare and Social Security. It would be interesting to see the political fallout from that since the millions who have paid money into those insurance programs would be affected.
And those Cruise missiles may just be the beginning of the cost of getting mixed up in that civil war. We don’t know what the consequences of attacking Syrian targets may be. You just never know until you do it.