We’ve all heard the expression that, “time is money,” so it’s reasonable that we make the most of our available time. We can measure the time we’ve spent as having been used productively or wastefully, but I’ve never seen someone talk about the total number of future hours available. Those are hours which have not yet passed by, and have not yet been used for making money.
I am 30 years old. This means that I’ve spent 262,800 man hours alive. If I retire at the age of 62, and presumably stop working, this means that I have 280,320 man hours of available work time remaining. If I should die tomorrow, that is a potential 280,320 man hours wasted. Paid at minimum wage ($7.25/hr) and working the mythical “Eight Hour Work Day,” this means I have the potential to earn $677,440.00– before taxes and cost of living.
Speaking of living, or maybe dying, the conflict in Syria has ramped up over the summer. Last week brought us “proof” that the Syrian army used a nerve agent against Syrians. Of course, it later came out that the rebels (who aren’t actually Syrian at all…) were responsible for the gas attack, so let’s think about this whole “war in Syria” thing before we make an unnecessary and expensive decision. Time is money, and there is nothing more expensive than war.
Let’s look at what we know about other recent conflicts. The war in Iraq is estimated to have cost only $2.2 Trillion dollars. That figure also says nothing about the cost of human life.
Most sources will agree that the official number of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq was approximately 4,500 people. The average age of servicemen across all branches of the military services is 28.6 years of age. If we presume that those 4,500 casualties would have lived another 30 years before reaching retirement, what have we actually lost?
Eight hours a day, for 365 days per year, paid at minimum wage gives $21,170.00 per year. A potential 30 years of work would give $635,100.00 in earnings. Multiplied by 4,500 casualties gives $2,857,950,000.00 in potential earnings lost. Of course, this number doesn’t reflect the scores of servicemen who’ve committed suicide after suffering with debilitating mental illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety disorders, or the numbers of servicemen who’ve lost limbs and become permanently disabled. For the sake of verifiable numbers, we’ll just stick to the the official count of combat casualties.
Those 4,500 combat casualties were the price paid for “Freedom!” and “Democracy!” in Iraq, and it only cost us $2.85 Billion dollars. That’s quite a bit to pay for something we don’t even get to enjoy for ourselves. While America’s youth were “cashing out” in the name of freedom and democracy in Iraq, the NSA was spying on Americans at home; DHS was molesting your children in the airport; Janet Napolitano told us that the border is more secure than ever; and the economy continues to flounder.
Depending on who you ask, America’s youth died for our freedom, or alternately for freedom in Iraq. I’d like to call the bank and have the charges reversed because “product was not as described.” Funny thing is that we can’t “un-kill” those 4,500 Americans. If only international conflicts and decades-long wars had an international “Lemon Law.” I can see it now, “Oh, sorry, Iraq- The war didn’t go so well for us, we’re just going to un-kill our boys and try something else.”
As if the average Joe didn’t know that the war in Iraq was a horrible idea, now we’re looking at another one in Syria. Practically everybody except for the Washington, D.C. warhawks think that war in Syria is a terrible idea.
Let’s look at the bill of sale, shall we? What’s being used to sell us another quagmire in the Middle East?
A very long time ago, in a country very far away from ourselves, Syria supposedly fired on civilian protesters during the Arab Spring. Later, we were told that the Syrian army was bombing civilians and rebel strongholds. More recently, we were told we should invade Syria because of how uncommonly brutal their “civil war” was. Never mind that the atrocities committed were overwhelmingly from the rebels. It’s all just so awful that it’s tearing my heart out– Oh, wait… That actually happened? Oh, right– and we have the rebels to thank for that one. You know, the guys whom Obama is backing?
The most recent justification for war in Syria was the allegation that Assad’s army used nerve gas to kill civilians.
Does anyone still think that it’s going to be a good investment of American time (read: life) to purchase a war in Syria? This sounds like a bad Craig’s List post. You know, the one where the vendor can’t tell you exactly why he has to sell his mint ’64 Pontiac LeMans so quickly? Yeah, I wouldn’t go for it either, so don’t let the vendor twist your arm and make you pay. If that scenario sounds familiar, that’s exactly what’s happening with Syria right now.
Obama is going to sell us a war in Syria, and he’s going to make us pay for it with the blood of America’s youth. War is a racket, and just like Obamacare we don’t get to opt-out of this one. Time is life, and we shouldn’t throw it away in Syria. You can Stand with Syria, you can stand by yourself, but don’t stand with Obama.
Let’s make sure that freedom is a domestic product, because we don’t need to send America’s youth to fight and die overseas for it. There is nothing more expensive than “cashing out” in the name of freedom, so let’s spend our money locally, and fight for American freedom first.