CBS’s Schieffer Warns of Excessive Spending...On Military

Bob Schieffer, CBS At the end of CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, host Bob Schieffer fretted over massive government spending but avoided blaming current Democratic proposals: “I’m not even talking about the cost of health care....It is now costing $1 million a year to keep one U.S. soldier on the ground in Afghanistan, not to mention that for every soldier there, we have one civilian contractor.”

Schieffer also cited reconstruction costs in Iraq: “I picked up the New York Times to discover we have spent more money rebuilding Iraq’s schools, hospitals, water treatment and electrical plants – $54 billion – than we have spent on any construction project since the Marshall Plan.” He described his reaction to the war spending: “...last week I got surprised – no, I should say had a jaw-dropping shock – a better way to put it – every time I picked up the newspaper and read about the numbers that we’re throwing around lately.”   

In concluding his commentary, Schieffer wondered: “...when President Obama came calling to China, we owed the Chinese more than a trillion dollars...is going a trillion dollars in hock to one country made us more secure?”

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
10:53AM

BOB SCHIEFFER: Finally today, during the Johnson administration, the Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen was railing one day against government spending and managed to say ‘a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.’ That’s almost quaint these days and I’m not even talking about the cost of health care. I used to say I had been around so long that nothing surprised me. But last week I got surprised – no, I should say had a jaw-dropping shock – a better way to put it – every time I picked up the newspaper and read about the numbers that we’re throwing around lately.

Like yesterday, when I picked up the New York Times to discover we have spent more money rebuilding Iraq’s schools, hospitals, water treatment and electrical plants – $54 billion – than we have spent on any construction project since the Marshall Plan. Which you’ll recall was to rebuild Europe after World War II. Sobering but not surprising, many of those facilities may close when we leave because there are not enough trained Iraqis to operate them.

Another number in the news last week that I found astounding. It is now costing $1 million a year to keep one U.S. soldier on the ground in Afghanistan, not to mention that for every soldier there, we have one civilian contractor. Which helps explain another shocker that came out last week. That ten years ago we owed the government of Spain more than we owed China. Yet when President Obama came calling to China, we owed the Chinese more than a trillion dollars. Yep, old Ev Dirksen was right. A billion here, a billion there and it added up to real money and a big pile of bills. But is going a trillion dollars in hock to one country made us more secure?
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC