Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We paid WHAT? (part 1 of 4 War Questions)

Megyn Kelly talking to Karl Rove, "Is this just math that you do, as a Republican, to make yourself feel better, or is this real math?" Fox "News" on Nov 6. 2012 

A few numbers about war, military, veterans and profiteering. Hopefully I've taken stats from enough sources that the numbers are more reflective of real math than special Department of Defense math. However, since the conglomeration of stats are probably more accurate than the Fox standard, I'll report (in the Fox definition of "report") and you decide. 

"That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations is as shocking as it is true." — Thomas Paine

(The enormous reference list is at the end of the 4th section.)

The Financial Costs of Major US Wars

See if you notice a trend. (Hint, the costs balloon as profiteering becomes not only condoned, but assisted, by our government.)

"No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic." - A. J. P. Taylor

The American Revolutionary War (1775 to 1783)

US National cost $37 million
US States cost $114 million

Great Britain cost £80 million  
France cost equivalent of £56 million

"History is replete with examples of empires mounting impressive military campaigns on the cusp of their impending economic collapse." - Eric Alterman

The French national debt from the American Revolutionary war was a factor in causing the French Revolution.

America's national capital was moved out of New York because of the war debt. The Federalist party wanted the nation to consolidate and pay all state debts incurred during the war. Thomas Jefferson, for the Republican party, agreed but only if the capital could be moved to a location chosen by George Washington. 

“There is such a thirst for gain [among military suppliers] that it is enough to make one curse their own Species, for possessing so little virtue and patriotism.”- George Washington

George Washington refused all military pay.

The Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815)

Alright, it isn’t a US war but when I looked up costs, I wondered how they compared to similar wars. The cost of the Revolutionary War appears to have been a bargain.

Great Britain subsidy for every 100,000 Russian soldiers in the field ₤1.5 million
Great Britain cost £1.6 billion
Great Britain national debt after Waterloo £679 million

"The art of war is like the art of the courtesan - they might be called sisters, since both are the slaves of desperation." - Pietro Aretino 

American Civil War (1861 to 1865)

The Union
Actual Cost $3 Billion
Adjusted Cost $60 Billion

The Confederacy
Actual Cost $1 Billion
Adjusted Cost $20 Billion

"To wage war, you need first of all money; second, you need money, and third, you also need money." - Raimondo Montecuccoli

In the 1850s, national expenditures averaged $1 million a week. By 1861, the government was spending $1.5 million a day and in 1865 the cost had jumped to $3.5 million a day. America became the first country to spend more than $1 billion in a single year. 

“Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the Nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains of the South and their countrymen mouldering the dust.” – Abraham Lincoln

A nationwide draft was initiated but, for a fee of $300, a draftee could buy his way out of the war.  Also, as a "temporary" measure, the government formed an office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

WWI (1914 to 1918)

"War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to make a profit from it." - George Orwell 

US Actual Cost $22 Billion
US Adjusted cost $334 Billion

Great Britain Actual Cost $35 Billion
France Actual Cost $24 Billion
Russia Actual Cost $22 Billion
Total Actual Cost for Allied Powers $125 Billion

Germany Actual Cost $27 Billion
Total Actual Cost for Central Powers $60 Billion 

"Peace, which costs nothing, is attended with infinitely more advantage than any victory with all its expense." - Thomas Paine

Reparations were an imposed requirement forcing the losing countries to "pay back" the costs associated with the war. Germany was required to pay 132 billion gold marks (the equivalent of $33 billion US dollars.) 

Germany paid less than 21 billion before Hitler ended payments. On October 3, 2010, Germany finally paid off the WWI debt with a total of 269 billion marks.

WWII (US involvement 1941 to 1945) 

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - Dwight D Eisenhower

Actual US Cost $296 Billion 

Adjusted US Cost $5 Trillion
Americans purchased $186 billion in war bonds, which paid for three quarters of total federal spending from 1941-1945. 

Cost of theManhattan Project $20 Billion 

“I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.” – Franklin D Roosevelt 

Less than 20 percent of the value of Jewish assets stolen by the Nazis and their collaborators has been restored. At least $115-$175 billion (2005 prices) remains unreturned. 

Great Britain made a final payment of $83 million in 2006 to the US for loans taken during WWII.

Total Global Cost of WWII in 1945 value $1.075 Trillion 

Vietnam War (1962 to 1973)

"It is not true that people learn nothing from history: they are marvelous at learning the wrong lessons. So it must seem, at any rate, to most students of America’s war in Vietnam." - Hugh Brogan

Actual Cost $173 Billion 

Adjusted Cost $770 Billion

Estimate of actual cost including veteran care and financial aid to Saigon $900 billion 

In calculating the actual cost, the United States spent $140,000 per each enemy killed.

War on Terror 

(2001 to present which makes this the longest running, US war)

“War is a barbaric tool of the war profiteers and Empires who employ them. War pits young people from the working class against other similarly poor, or disadvantaged humans, for nothing but the greed of the few.” – Cindy Sheehan, antiwar activist after her son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed by enemy action during the Iraq War.

Actual Cost as of 2014 
(including both Afghanistan and Iraq)

$1.7 trillion 

Harvard research estimates a total of $4 to $6 Trillion will be spent when care for vets is included.

Per a recent government announcement, an additional $30 to $40 billion a year is required for the war against ISIS 

"History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap." - Ronald Reagan

At one point, the cost of the Iraq War (not including the Afghanistan War) was $435 million per day or $13 billion per month. 

Cost of increased oil prices related to the Iraq War (2003-2008) $274 billion.

The 2011 military budget was the largest annual military budget in history and in inflation adjusted dollars, exceeding spending during World War II. 

“Republicans drove us into debt with two wars and the Bush tax cuts. Now they want to pay for that debt with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This is not only immoral it is bad economics. Why do Republicans always have money for war but not for those in need?” – Sen. Bernie Sanders

Another comparison?

Russia and China must have huge military budgets, right? Russia has an active draft and mandatory military service and Putin doesn’t seem like much of a pacifist. China has a population of 1.35 billion versus America’s 316 million, not to mention the US owes them $1.3 trillion so that should translate into some fire power.

"I have a feeling that I'll get everything I want." Vladimir Putin 

2014 Global Military Budgets

US $610 Billion 
China $216 Billion 

Russia $85 Billion 


"War is fought with silver bullets." - Chinese saying 

US military spending is more than the combined military spending of not only China and Russia but also:

Saudi Arabia $80 Billion 

France $62 Billion 

UK $60 Billion 

India $50 Billion 

Germany $47 Billion 

"The Department of Defense is the behemoth...With an annual budget larger than the gross domestic product of Russia, it is an empire." - The 9/11 Commission Report

Yep, and not only does America spend more than other countries, we spend more on military (considerably more) than other discretionary funded programs.

"Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both.” - Abraham Flexner

2015 Discretionary Tax Dollars $1.16 Trillion 

Department of Defense $638 Billion

Education $70 Billion 
Veteran Benefits $70 Billion 
Energy and Environment $35 Billion 
Science and Research $35 Billion 

"Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear." - General Douglas MacArthur

AND, evidently that isn’t enough because the Pentagon requested a budget of $708 billion, plus an estimated $200 billion in supplemental funding, called "overseas contingency funding", $40 billion in "black box" intelligence agency funding, $94 billion in non-DOD military spending, $100 billion in veterans benefits and health care spending, and $400 billion in interest on debt raised to pay for prior wars and the standing military.

So anyone want to tell me about how we can not afford to provide health care?

"All wars are fought for money." - Socrates

Next up? Who made an obscene amount of money on war.


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