In light of the crisis in Ukraine, it seems appropriate to bring back a topic that has impacted the US economy for well over a century, wars. It’s not cheap to go to war, however well planned and however short duration it is – there is no war that is of short duration, really. –
For the past two decades alone, the United States has been involved in multiple wars; the most notable are Iraq and Afghanistan and the cost to wage those two wars alone is staggering. According to National Priority Project, the combined cost of war for Iraq and Afghanistan is $1.5 trillion dollar as of this writing, and that number continues to go up by the tenth of a second.
While it is possible to put a number in the amount of money that is being spent, it is however most unfortunate, it is very difficult to quantify human casualties for it is not just about those who are killed or wounded; their loved ones must bear the cost of the aftermath. In addition to the soldiers killed or wounded, there are hundreds of thousands of families whose lives are completely altered, both in the United States and in Iraq & Afghanistan.
According to iCasualties.org, there are approximately 4,500 US soldiers that were killed in Iraq and well over 32,000 wounded; some may never recover to a normal life. On the side of the Iraqis, the toll was much heaviest; according to iraqbodycount.org, there were approximately 174,000 Iraqis who were killed, 123,000 of which were civilians. – they are victims of US bombings and gunfire – Over 252,000 Iraqis were wounded during the same period.
A similar story emerges from the war in Afghanistan. According to Congressional Research Report document dated December 6, 2012, there were well over 18,000 US soldiers who were wounded and approximately 2,877 were killed during the same period. The toll on the Afghan civilians was much heaviest; according to the same document, there were over 15,000 deaths and approximately 23,000 wounded.
The American people can no longer afford to sit on the sideline and let Washington take the country to war in a whim. War costs lives; it costs money. It places a toll on emotions. Most importantly, there is no upside.
Follow Mike Ducheine on Twitter: @mducheiney
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