Lane Filler is a member of the Newsday editorial board. He came to Long Island in 2010.
In 2016, the United States spent about $600 billion on defense and $15 billion on foreign aid. This likely isn’t the best way to divide that $615 billion if the goal is to keep the world safe for ourselves and our allies. It’s definitely not the best balance for keeping people alive, in Afghanistan or North Korea or Syria or Iraq, and perhaps not in the United States.
There are other options in how we try to lead the world and sway our enemies and make new friends. To be wedded to war, to missiles and manpower and battles and planes as the best and only option is to enter an expensively exclusive, foolish and deadly marriage. These tools have a place. Few people are naive enough to say they don’t. But can’t we also talk about how cheap, easy and convincing it could be to try kindness before resorting to killing?
The estimates of how much the United States will have spent in Iraq by the time it’s done fighting there and treating all the hurt soldiers vary wildly, but $2.5 trillion is a conservative guess. Taken by itself, $2.5 trillion to most of us means “so, so much.” It’s one decent new car for every family in the United States, as long as…
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