One of the factors being considered in the Syria debate—and rightly so—is how much an intervention would actually cost. But what isn’t being discussed as much is the fact that U.S. taxpayers have already given more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid during the conflict:
The United States has sent in aid $1.01 billion to Syria in the 12-month fiscal year period, 2012 to 2013, the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, reported.
The U.S. contribution to the country tipped over the $1 billion mark last month, when President Obama vowed another $195 million for humanitarian efforts, Breitbart.com reported.
He said then: “To help the many Syrians in need this Eid al-Fitr, the United States is providing an additional $195 million in food aid and other humanitarian aid, bringing our humanitarian contribution to the Syria people to over $1 billon since the crisis began.”
And not surprisingly, “the vast majority of aid is going to territory controlled by President Bashar al-Assad, and the small amount reaching opposition-held areas is all but invisible,” The New York Times reports. Thus, aid is being used as a weapon in the conflict. “Food supply is the winning card in the hands of the regime,” one rebel commander said, according to the Times.