No, We Cannot Afford to Fund Yet Another War

quoth the raven's Photo
by quoth the raven
Thursday, Oct 19, 2023 - 14:58

Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance

By Connor O’Keeffe, Mises Institute

In a 60 Minutes interview over the weekend, host Scott Pelley asked President Joe Biden, “Are the wars in Israel and Ukraine more than the United States can take on at the same time?” The president answered, “We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defense. We have the capacity to do this, and we have an obligation to.”

In a Sky News interview released Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gave a similar answer when asked whether the US could afford to fund another war at this time: “I think the answer is absolutely. America can certainly afford to stand with Israel and to support Israel’s military needs. And we also can and must support Ukraine in its struggle against Russia.”

This is not true. To see why, we need to understand the military goals of Washington’s allies in each conflict.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said Saturday that Israel’s goal in Gaza is “the rout of Hamas and the elimination of its leaders after the slaughter they perpetrated.”

The first phase involved cutting off food, water, and energy to Gaza and pummeling the strip with airstrikes while Israeli forces mobilized. Now the IDF are “in formation” for a ground invasion of Gaza City. Last Friday, Israel told the 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza to leave their homes and move to the southern half of the territory.

So, it appears that the plan is to send the army into Gaza City with the goal not merely to prevent Hamas from carrying out more attacks but to overwhelmingly defeat it as a movement and kill or capture its leadership.

But the Hamas attacks revealed blind spots in Israel’s monitoring of hostile activities within Gaza. So, Israeli forces may not have a clear idea of what they’ll find in Gaza City. Hamas is known to use an unmapped tunnel system to move around the city, and they have clearly been able to build and store a tremendous number of rockets undetected. Who knows what else they could be hiding.

As Hussein Ibish laid out in The Atlantic last week, the intended effect of Hamas’ terrorist attacks is “precisely the ground assault Israel is now preparing.” If a battle in Gaza City is what Hamas wants, we should not expect a quick and easy victory for the IDF. If an overwhelming defeat of Hamas is even possible, it will be enormously costly to achieve in terms of time, resources, and lives.

Ukraine presents a similar dilemma. Ukraine’s stated goal has been to drive Russian forces out of both the occupied portions of eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. The American public has so far been forced to provide $44 billion, along with an amount of military equipment so massive that Washington’s stockpiles have been greatly diminished.

We were told the Ukrainian forces would begin...(READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE, FREE, HERE). 

Contributor posts published on Zero Hedge do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Zero Hedge, and are not selected, edited or screened by Zero Hedge editors.