In this week's speech from West Point, President Obama cited - among other things - economic reasons for setting a timeline to exit Afghanistan. Certainly, no one can argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been costly. But is there really as much of a connection between the current economic crisis and the high of these conflicts as has been purported? Did these spur a culture of unsustainable borrowing by homeowners and insanely risky lending/derivative trading by "Too Big to Fail" institutions?
It seems that the high price tag of these military endeavors probably falls under the same category of GDP - both are technically important economic measures but realistically have little direct impact on a 10.2% unemployment rate. Then again, most people have been fairly well trained to blame the economy for all kinds of issues over the past year, and perhaps that is what President Obama and his speechwriters were banking on. So was the economic angle of this speech really the most compelling argument or just the easiest way to sell the final decision to the American public?
-Jarret Harris, New York, NY
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