Wednesday, May 09, 2007
# Posted 8:02 AM by Taylor Owen
WANNA BUY A WAR?: Together, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have just become the second costliest in US history (as absolute dollars, not percentage of GDP). So what have other US wars cost? Below is a list from the Congressional Research Service, figs are in Billions of 2006 bucks.(13) opinions -- Add your opinion
Don't be silly about this. Stop using the number two spot as the basis for comparison. Come back when the wars are number one on the list.
A very distant second, still far closer to the cheapest than the most expensive. And you had to combine 2 wars to get it to 2nd place.
No matter, these are meaningless statistics. Expense as a percentage of GDP MIGHT mean something, but not much.
More than anything, this says technology is expensive. We already knew that.
Davod. not sure how I was being 'silly'. in fact I made no judgment on the figure at all..
Timothy, I agree with you. these have little to do with the arguments for or against the war. It is either good or bad, right or wrong, in isolation from cost (up to a point anyways). They are worth knowing though.
The war will ends in terms of money because it was framed around the basis of acquiring more money. The genocide in Sudan would have been addressed had the Sudanese been starving upon fields of oil. Economically speaking however with regard to the Iraq War; we have failed to make up the difference in lives and cash. As a nation, who now needs to make up for a vast debt and needs to bolster its image, we should vote to focus our efforts on world poverty. The world's poor according to the Borgen Project are the newest and least exploited emerging market. If we could cultivate this market, we could make money and help people. Keep in mind I am only framing this in economic terms because it seems that is how we as Americans vote.
Here is a link to the Borgen Project homepage.
Star Trek fans, you may notice that the first four letters of Borgen spell Borg. Think about it.
While percentage of GDP would be one useful comparison, how about whether or not the figures are in constant dollars?
How was the war framed around making more money?
I would suggest a little more reading on the history of Sudan and the Darfur conflict. The problem is about race and religion. But as with most conflicts (such a neutral word) money is at the root of this as well. Sudan has the potential of lots of oil. The Chinese are bankrolling the Sudanese and the Russians are selling the Sudanese weapons.
Surely part of how we react to these numbers is whether they represent value for money? For the Americans, $1.54bn might seem cheap to get rid of us haughty Brits, even if the GDP cost came out as pretty high. And becoming a global superpower and whupping Nazis seems good value, even at $3,235.96 bn. In comparison, has America got $609bn of value out of Iraq and Afghanistan?
What would the cost of the Cold War have come in at?
This only demonstrates the idiocy of making even real comparisons through time (the comparison based on nominal dollars is even more hilarious). The only way to fairly understand this is as a share of GDP. And by that metric WW2 is overwhelmingly more costly than the present war: roughly 50 percent of GDP at its annual peak, as opposed to under 1 percent of GDP annually for Iraq and Afghanistan.
The total dollar cost of a war would include the war's dead (specifically, economic activity that these casualties would have generated but did not).
The cost of wars on American soil would include damage to infrastructure - do the Revolution and the Civil War factor that in?
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