Twelve Zeros

In World Events on June 3, 2010 at 6:35 AM

One trillion dollars. That’s right. When you hit a milestone of this magnitude you break out the confetti. Pop the champagne. Put on sexy underwear. But this time around there will be no colorful streamers. No sweet bubbly. No role-playing naughty Nurses or hunky Firemen.

This trillion is special. And the fancy part is you’ll have nothing to show for it – except for the spectacular mess of the day or decade after.

The “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan are the subway bathrooms of America. And guess what? You’re the one holding the sewer-scented, splinter-handled mop.

A one trillion dollar (stank) job. In Wall Street, big-oil, big-insurance, big-bank speak, that’s twelve zeros, son.

But please, there’s no reason to feel completely violated. At least not until you’ve gained a realistic understanding of what you could have been spending all that cold hard green on.

If you sadistically want to have a little fun with your own misery, the good folks at put together this nifty little factoid submittal:

You will have the distinct opportunity to conjure up all sorts of neat-o stats like being able to buy enough Snickers bars to stretch a path to the Moon and back – it’s my dream to see Patrick Ewing dunk on the Moon.

But on to more substantive, down-to-earth spending efforts. Like paying the salaries of two million teachers for ten consecutive years. Or offering up over 21 million Public Safety Officers for an entire year. Or providing basic education to every child on earth! There’s more, but I’ll leave some of the fun ideas on the table, to save you from slitting your wrists prematurely. Relax, get lose, it’s a party!

All said the “War on Terror” has been a smashing success. Just look at how much we’ve bombed those pesky little terrorists into submission. And I’ll tell you what; the good old U.S. of A is back! Back to the 20th Century. Modern day “warfare” if that’s what we’re calling it these days, includes a whole lot more than having the ability to drop a twenty thousand pound bomb on some random “Towel head” – sounds fun, heh?! One trillion bucks later, the most powerful military in human history is losing a “messaging war” with a loosely organized splinter cell of radicals with laptops. Simply put, the world is not convinced that the “terrorists” are the bad guys. To many, more people than Americans are willing to admit, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

When spending big dollars, plan carefully. Otherwise, a million here or a billion there could easily be made to feel non-consequential. Afghanis and Iraqis have been shaped to think lean for centuries.

We all may have to face the fact that those middle-eastern “hillbillies” (often) from wealthy families, are a lot more crafty and smarter than our sophisticated and often tough talking “decision makers” when it comes to battle in the 21st century.  After all, they have fewer resources; human and otherwise. Meanwhile our political leaders and military officials wearily sing the conciliatory phrase ”…we have to be right 100% of the time. The terrorists have to be right only once.” Somehow, I am supposed to take comfort in this security song. At least I should get a lap dance with it.

Fighting foreign invaders is old hat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The reality is our guys are outmatched. This was the case for Russia – their economy was near complete collapse as the tanks rolled out of Afghanistan. The U.S. is trending in the same direction.

To put your anti-terror spending spree into perspective on a large scale, it only took three-quarters of this purse to bail out the entire U.S. banking industry.

Just a heads up, so when the day comes that you visit your local market and find no toilet paper but plenty of party favors, you’ll be able to look back on that grand old party with a crooked smile while quipping: that was one wild binge.


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