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For just 12.5 percent of annual Afghanistan costs, we can secure the border

The United States continues to spend an enormous amount of money nation-building in Afghanistan, where the U.S. has virtually zero interests, in a country whose people present no current threat to us.

In 2018 alone, the Pentagon estimated that the U.S. military dropped $45 billion dollars on the long Afghan war, which has been going on for 17 years and counting. As I detailed last month in Conservative Review, there is no longer an American interest in Afghanistan, and there has not been for quite some time. And given that President Trump appears to be leaning toward finally withdrawing soldiers from Afghanistan, we can hope that significant funds will soon be freed up for other U.S. priorities.

Topping that list of unfunded national security priorities is a no-brainer: our southern border, which remains recklessly unsecure and leaves our Border Patrol agents hopelessly underfunded for stopping some of the most dangerous criminal organizations and individuals from entering our country. 

For just 12.5 percent ($5.7 billion) of the $45 billion that we spent in Afghanistan last year, the president and Congress can fund and bolster border security. Plus, we can reopen the government and repurpose wasted funds to reinforce actual national security measures.

There are many other places where the president can seek funds for the border wall. But given that the border wall is a national security issue, it’s much easier to make the case that the funds should come from the Defense Department. 

Afghanistan isn’t the only multibillion-dollar boondoggle in the defense apparatus. The Daily Caller reported Wednesday, “The Defense Department has relinquished over $27 billion to the U.S. Treasury since 2013 simply because it couldn’t spend the money quick enough.”

In recent years, the Pentagon has burned through $125+ billion in bureaucratic waste. U.S. taxpayers footed the bill for the trillion-dollar boondoggle that is the F-35 program. The DOD also overpays defense contractors in a system that awards no-bid, non-competitive contracts.

Many legal experts agree that the president has the statutory authority to build the wall and the right to reappropriate defense funding for the border wall, which should be priority 1A for our national security. If he doesn’t want to cut the Afghanistan nation-building budget by a mere 12.5 percent, he can find plenty of funds elsewhere within the Defense Department.

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