As the United States launches its first airstrikes against ISIS, we must ask this crucial question: Who is paying for the war? Because, if indeed it is worth fighting for, all of America needs to chip in and share the sacrifice. It is time to reinstate the draft and a war tax to give everyone a real stake in decisions on war.
For a decade I have been calling for a draft to ask the American public to stop and think twice about whether the military conflict is worth sending our brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters to fight. Currently the only people making the sacrifice for our military involvements abroad are our military families, who make up less than one percent of America's population and are unfairly shouldering the burden of war. Since 9/11, more than 6,800 brave men and women in uniform paid the ultimate price for our long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; one million came home wounded. The last thing our military families need is another war.
I will soon be introducing a bill to collect war tax so that the cost of the war is not borrowed. The United States has already borrowed some $2 trillion to finance these wars costing up to $6 trillion. These wars have taken up majority of the $9 trillion debt our nation has accrued since 2001. We cannot keep burdening our future generations and take away money that could be used to rebuild our economy, strengthen healthcare, education, affordable housing, long term energy, and build stronger communities.
Under President Barack Obama's leadership I am confident that the international community can show a unified front against our enemy and work towards stabilizing the region. However, if the current conflict escalates to a level in which ground action must be taken, it should only be done as an absolute last resort, and only when the entire nation is fully committed to sharing the sacrifice. We simply cannot afford to lose one more precious life or money we do not have.