A couple weeks ago I posted a diary summarizing part of a new study, "Costs of War" led by Prof. Neta Crawford of Boston University and Prof Catherine Lutz from Brown University with contributions from a significant number of noted economists, anthropologists, lawyers and political scientists.
The study outlined the economic, social, political, human, and environmental costs of the wars over the last ten years. The authors admitted they felt they had yet to examine the total costs after a full year of study.
The study group estimated the monetary costs to the United States at an admittedly conservative $4.3 trillion. There have been other studies that have estimated the cost at least that high. The United States has spent well over $10 trillion on military, security and intelligence programs and war in the last ten years. The debt has been caused by war and the insane gambling allowed on Wall Street and in the Too Big to Fail Banks.
Today I'll highlight the human costs.
IGTNT: Six to Remember. Three young Marines and three young Guardsmen, some with children.
"Eight civilians, including women and children, have been killed in a US-led NATO airstrike in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.
In a separate incident, at least four people were killed when police opened fire during an anti-US demonstration held in the southern province of Zabul on Friday.
A provincial police chief said people took to the streets to protest an attack by US-led NATO forces in the Qalad district of Zabul province that killed three Afghan civilians."
I could go on all night.
*U.S. *killed during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) - 1694; Wounded - 11191.
*U.S. *killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn - 4474; Wounded - 32227.
**Number of Iraqi refugees: 1,683,579
**Number of Afghanistan refugees: 3,054,709
These figures don't count the number of contractors and coalition members killed and wounded or the dismal conditions the fortunate non-refugees must endure.
Need more? Back to the "Costs of War" study.
"According to Brown University's report, approximately 225,000 people have been killed and 365,000 physically wounded in the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since the September 11 attacks.
Neta Crawford, who authored the report's section on human costs, says that these numbers represent those people directly killed or wounded by bullets and bombs. Indirect deaths related to the disruption caused to infrastructure and health services as result of the wars are not included.
"The estimates from other conflicts are that between four and 15 times the number of people who die as a result of the bombs and bullets - the fire of war - die from these indirect effects," Crawford, a political science professor at Boston University, told Deutsche Welle. "It would not have been absurd to say instead of X number, it's four times that or 15 times that. We don't know."
The human cost, however, does not begin and end with the individual. Every death and physical wound has carried broader social costs that have strained families and communities throughout Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.
"Every person who has died who has made money for their family means their family is poorer," Crawford said. "Every death means that you have to pay funeral expenses. Everyone who is injured or maimed, you have to keep caring for them. It is a continued burden on the families of the survivors of the dead and wounded."
By my calculations, four to 15 times the study number of 225,000 killed would total 900,000 to 3.15 million Iraqi, Afghanistan and Pakistan deaths directly and indirectly caused by these wars, at least one of which is and has been clearly illegal. George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are war criminals. President Obama will be judged. The study doesn't include the costs in Yemen, Somalia, and Libya directly or indirectly caused so far by U.S. and NATO imperialism.
How much more costs are we willing to allow? The economic costs are astronomical. The human and social costs to our soldiers and the Iraqi, Afghanistan, and Pakistan people are abhorrent, almost genocidal. The costs keep going up and will keep going up for decades. The highest level of spending for veterans of WWII occurred during the 80's and 90's.
The Afghanistan war isn't even "scheduled" to end for almost two and one half years, the end of 2014. The Iraq occupation appears officially extended forever. This country is involved in wars in Yemen, Libya and Somalia and has special operations troops performing "missions" in over 70 countries worldwide with projections to increase that to over 120. This is complete madness.
The vast majority of citizens in this country are fed up. The timing is right to challenge the military machine. While the Super Congress decides the fate of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the non-discretionary Income Security programs (WIC, food stamps, disabled and elderly assistance, housing assistance, veterans assistance, unemployment, etc.), citizens need to rise up and end the wars and the rampant militarism infecting the entire planet.
A major "open ended" antiwar/anti-corporatism protest is planned for October 6th, the tenth anniversary of the Afghanistan war. If you can't go, tell people about it. Support the cause any way you can. This is a chance to tell the oligarchy we are going back to a democracy, such as it ever was. They're doing it across the pond also. The world is burning, now it's our turn.
It's the same thing, we've done it before man.