What's (Amorally) Wrong With the GWoT

Estimates of the cost to date of the Global War on Terrorism run to about $600 billion and are only going to keep going up. Pretty much everyone has an opinion about what the returns to date have been, ranging from "the world is a significantly better place and it's completely worth the cost, plus much more" to "the world is a significantly worse place and we shouldn't be spending a dime on such a disaster". And in between there are hundreds of (presumably coherent, but often mutually inconsistent) more nuanced positions.

The persistance of this disagreement should be setting off alarm bells no matter where on the spectrum you find yourself: If we can't even come to anything remotely resembling a broad consensus on just what the consequences of a policy are, then clearly what we're lacking is broadly agreed-upon, checkable metrics of success. And if we don't have those, then why would anyone spend so much money on a project where we can't even determine the sign of the effect?

Surely it's uncontroversial to say that if we must spend money, it should be spent on projects where we can easily tell if they're having the desired effect or not. There ought not be a whole lot of room for reasonable disagreement on the matter (though there may be plenty of room to disagree on which effects are desirable). But at the end of the day, I have no clue what the hell Iraq is going to look like in 10 years and neither do you. Surely there should be some sort of dicussion about whether this is a prudent investment strategy, even among those not resolutely hostile to the idea of something like the GWoT. $600B is a lot of moolah to throw away on roulette.

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The main problem I see is

The main problem I see is distinguishing between a person's stance on what is occurring, and a person's stance on the desirable effects. Intuitively, it seems that a person is more willing to funnel occurrences through their theoretical world view, and with the level of vocalization and ease of communication present at the moment, I'm not surprised the issue is murky at the moment. I'd have no problem with attempting to find some objective way of looking at the current effects of the War on Terrorism, but finding it objectional based on level of disagreement doesn't seem to be the way to go. Consider, for example, the range of ideaology present in, say, the American Civil War. And how are Americans supposed to look back on their involvement in WWI?

Money Well Spent

How can anyone really tell how much is acceptable for this? I mean, $600B is a lot of money, but how much is too much? Can anyone say that if we ended up spending two or three times this amount, and came out with peace in the middle east, is that acceptable?
How much is acceptable to throw into cancer research or AIDs research then? We've been putting money into both of those for a lot longer then we have this war on terror, yet we still have no cure. Is the money we've put into both of those worth the vacines and treatments we have now? Take that and ask yourself, if the money we've put into the war on terror worth the increased safety from terrorist we have now?
How about the war on Drugs? When was the last time anyone looked at the total number we've spent on the war on drugs and criticized it? People are still getting high, maybe that's the reason no one is complaining...

It's acceptable to throw as

It's acceptable to throw as much money as voluntarily provided, no more, no less.

Taxes aren't voluntary

Taxes aren't voluntary and that's what goes to fund some of this stuff...

duh

duh