Thanks for the link, Kenology. I would like to say that our response on the Taliban after 9/11 is completely justified in my opinion. They asked for war, and they got a war. I would like to see them all destroyed (yes, I think the Taliban are evil). That being said, the study is NOT just the war against the Taliban, but ALL the wars combined (including the messy Iraq war). There are quite a lot of things to consider, and I think people who say the US is fighting just for it's own purposes are simplifying things far too much. However, clearly the US is not just fighting for altruistic reasons either. At any rate, I do entirely agree that the cost of any war is always much higher than mere figures released by the government (as the study shows, there are many "hidden" costs which really are not that hidden, they simply often are not taken into account)...
I think the Taliban was an entity that they allied with back in the 80's and it turned out to bite them in a$$ later on. That happens. And that study talks about ALL wars, which is what I've been talking about this entire time. In addition to those wars would be the costs of maintaining military bases all over the world and all the other hidden costs. This is all why I believe the official numbers Brandon linked to were understated.
But, I think there are too many peripheral wars or destabilization efforts that the US has been involved with that leads me to believe that the US is fighting to maintain its dominance. For example, we know all about Operation Ajax (the overthrow of Mossedegh), the overthrow of Allende, Lumumba, Arbenz Guzman, the Iran/Contra scandal, etc. Most, if not all, of those were motivated by US corporate greed. And let's not forget that the US is still the only country to ever be convicted of international terrorism by the World Court. So, even after 9/11, a war on the Taliban... ok. But even if we give the gov't a pass on that, it still doesn't make sense as to how we go involved in Iraq - and the fact that it had to lie to us in order to garner that initial popular support.
I'll also say that I think this government can definitely work. It's just that corporations have taken it over and run it for their own benefit and not for the benefit of the people - which brings us back full circle to your healthcare question; because I think that's primarily why we don't have a single-payer system.