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This year will mark the 18th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, the forever war characterized by regime change, a surge, drawdowns, and then re-engagement across three presidential administrations. We take a retrospective of the entire war, from the forgotten events of the leadup to its total financial and moral costs to date. Journalist Douglas Wissing and the Costs of War Project’s Neta Crawford take us through the staggering amounts of money spent on prosecuting the war and the development of Afghanistan, and we investigate where the money went. Veterans who served at each stage of the conflict, from the Gen Xers of the early days to the millennials of the Obama surge, give us the changing, and unchanging, picture of the unending war. Finally, philosopher Seth Lazar talks with Barry about sunk costs and the role that thinking about past sacrifices plays in rationalizing the indefinite continuation of war.
In Slate Plus: Neta Crawford talks about the opportunity costs of the wars that can’t be calculated, and Barry talks with Doug Wissing about the opium economy of Afghanistan.
For all back episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 of Hi-Phi Nation, visit www.hiphination.org.