The Cost of War

I know this will be old news to most of you, but I feel the need to vent about Iraq. I recently heard a Rob Bell sermon that prompted me to think about this. And coupled with reflecting on my recent trip to Kenya... I felt the need to vent.

As usual, the state of the world has gotten me upset. Today I was looking into the cost of the Iraq war. So far, this quagmire has cost the US nearly 400 billion dollars (and this figure does not include soldier salary, combat pay, or a number of other factors). When including secondary costs, the figure is near (or over) one trillion.

On top of this, this war on terror is doing nothing to dissuade terrorism. Even the conservatives are beginning to admit that our presence in Iraq has galvanized a new generation of “terrorists” – a group that largely consists not of people who are religious extremists, but of people who have been terrorized by the US.

But the thing that outrages me the most about this war is not as much the futility as it is the cost. Particularly when you place the cost of the war next to the cost of basic human needs like basic health care, education, water, and sanitation.

Basic education for everyone on the planet – 6 billion annually (the amount the U.S. spends on nuclear research annually)

Water and Sanitation for everyone on the planet – 9 billion annually

Reproductive health for every woman on the planet – 12 billion annually (currently, 1 in 16 moms in Sub-Saharan Africa)

Basic healthcare for everyone on the planet – 13 billion annually

These are estimates from the U.N. Human Development Program (here is the link to where these figures can be found… download Chapter 1). The annual cost of the Iraq war could cover all these costs twice a year. In fact, the amount of money America spends on a weekend of holiday shopping could very easily cover these costs.

I’m not sure, but I think that this would do a lot more to make our planet safe than killing everyone who possess a real or imagined threat to our own way of life… which is the way of consumption.


Marcus said...

good post, but i didn't think there was any number bigger than a billion...

sara without an 'h' said...

Thank you for a post that resonates.

Ethan and Laurel said...

yeah but, freedom's not free, right?

Dan said...

Good point. Freedom isn't free... it costs folks like you and me.

Counter-point: freedom only costs a buck-o-five...

Amy said...

there ISN'T a number bigger than a billion.

i hold to it.

Dan said...

And I hold to my answer that 2 billion is indeed bigger than a billion.

Your move, Blok