America's Military Spending, and the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars in Fiscal Perspective



There were 39 combat related killings

in Iraq during the month of January...

In the fair city of Detroit there were

35 murders in the month of January.

How's that for perspective!


HOWEVER, BEFORE YOU "PASS ON" THE ABOVE INFORMATION, please note the following responses on the internet:


Detroit, total population from 2000 Census: 951,000

Detroit, Total Murders in 2003: 366

Average Murders per month: 30.5

Monthly Murders / Total Population: .000032

Monthly per capita likelihood of being murdered in Detroit: .000032 %

Detroit average monthly murders Per 10,000 people: [point].32


Average total US troops in Iraq: 138,000

Number of US Casualties in Iraq Since March, 2003: 1114

Average US fatalities, per month: 58.6

US Monthly Fatality rate per capita: .00042

Average Monthly Fatalities per 10,000 troops: 4[point].2

Ratio of likelihood of dying as a US soldier in Iraq as by murder in Detroit:

25 : 2

Therefore, a US serviceman in Iraq is 12.5 times more likely to die than someone in Detroit is likely to be murdered.


According to the Post, there were 248 murders in DC in 2003.

Washington, DC, and Detroit

Wash. DC Pop, 2000 census: 572,000

Detroit Pop, 2000 Census: 951,000

Total pop of two cities: 1,523,000

Year Total Murders in Detroit, 2003: 366

Year Total Murders in Wash DC, 2003 : 242

Year Total Murders in both, 2003 : 608

Year Tot Murders / Tot pop (608 / 1,523,000) : 0.00039

Month Tot Murders / Tot Pop : 0.000033

Avg Monthly Murders / 10,000 pop: [point].33


Total Servicemen in Iraq, Avg: 138,000

Total fatalities since March 19, 2003: 1114

Total fatalities/ total servicemen: 0.008

Month fatalities/ servicemen (19 Months Since March 19, 2003): 0.00042

Average Monthly Fatalities per 10,000 troops: 4[point].2


Ratio of likelihood of dying as a US soldier in Iraq as compared with being murdered in both of the nation's murder captials, Detroit AND Washington DC:

4[point].2 : [point].33

which is the same as 13 : 1 (rounded)


You are @13 TIMES more likely to die as a serviceman in Iraq than as a murder victim in Detroit or DC.

Yes, compared to WWII, the casualty rate of U.S. troops in the war in Iraq is low. But the Iraq war is not WWII, neither is the Iraq war as noble a pursuit. The Iraq war was a war of choice, and the deaths of troops and civilians must be weighed accordingly. Iraq is not a struggle to save Western civilization against the massive marauding armies of a powerful fascist enemy. Iraq was a resource-grab against a tiny Middle Eastern state, isolated and impoverished by a decade of sanctions.

An expert at "Google Answers" performed slightly different calculations than the above, but I believe the google expert may not take into consideration the "per 10,000" ratio in both cases. Even so, the google expert still concluded that "Iraqi insurgents are 33% more lethal to U.S. troops than Detroit's murderers are to the people of Detroit."

Someone else on the web wrote:

"How's this for perspective? How many Afghani and Iraqi CIVILIANS died in the U.S. wars in those countries compared with the 3,000 U.S. CIVILIANS that died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11?"

Here's the numbers:

AFGHANI CIVILIANS KILLED (not including the thousands of Talibaners the U.S. bombed and killed): "The report places the death toll of Afghani CIVILIANS at 3,767, lists the number of civilian casualties, location, type of weapon they were killed with, and source of information. It is a conservative estimate, and the genuine death toll could be as high as 5,000."

IRAQI CIVILIANS KILLED (not including the thousands of insurgents the U.S. has killed): 100,000 CIVILIANS have been killed by the U.S.'s actions in Iraq according to the latest in-depth report published in The British medical journal, The Lancet, Oct. 2004. And let's not forget the 600 tonnes (from two wars) of depleted uranium dust in the air and water in Iraq, the discarded radioactive ammo bins for that ammo (that some Iraqis have used to carry milk and food stuffs in), and the discarded radioactive bullet shells that children and adults pick up off the ground.


Al Qaeda kills 3,000 Americans in 9/11 terror strike.

In retaliation the U.S. goes to war and kills well over a thousand Al Qaeda members (who knows how many?), kills several thousand Talibaners in Afghanistan (who knows how many?) who were not even members of Al Queda and had nothing to do with 9/11, kills thousands of Iraqi insurgents who had nothing to do with 9/11, and also kills around 103,000 CIVILIANS in Afghanistan and Iraq, all of whom had nothing to do with 9/11.

Are we "even" yet?

America is also building over a dozen new permanent military bases in Iraq, America retains all rebuilding contracts for American companies, America maintains substantial control over Iraq's oil. And the American government is more broke than it has ever been in U.S. history, making America less "secure" than it has ever been financially, and more in danger of financial collapses than terrorist ones. America continues to spend less than it should on defending its homeland boarders. (See articles below.) The U.S. grows weary apparently of inspecting its own boarders but feels energized when we are killing nameless folks in foreign lands outside our boarders. (Kind of like how Al Qaeda must feel too when it strikes at nameless folks living in foreign lands.)

America had the world's sympathy after 9/11. America also had satellite photographs, killer robot spy planes, and missles with cameras in the tip that allow you to view the missle's progress and direct its aim! We could have put an enormous bounty on the head of Osama, a couple hundred million dollars, and kept scanning the internet and radio waves, via satellites and other survaillance equipment on the ground and in high flying survaillance planes, and paid off informants, and brought him in, or brought him down, with patience, and at a far less steep price than what we actually paid for. We could have spent money on vitamin D tablets for taliban women forced to cover their bodies from the sun and hide under burkas, and we could have had moderate Muslims dialoging with the Taliban about the medical illnesses of Taliban women, and why they needed greater access to medical treatment and why compassion for women was important even according to the Koran, and we could have paid for that medical treatment, setting up hospitals. With NATO we could have continued to enforce no-fly zones over Iraq and UN weapons-search teams on the ground. All of those things would have been less costly, monetarily, and less destructive, and shown a different side of the U.S., a far more "Christian" side. Instead, Afghanistan and Iraq were bombed to heck, and cities in Iraq shelled to heck, and Afghanistan has rejoined the ranks of the world's leading poppy producers (from which opium is made), and the warlords are still in place. While in Iraq, the old frictions between rival religious groups and political groups and ethnic hatred are due to errupt as soon as the U.S. turns the state over to "the people." We have solved nothing.

And America continues to exceed the world at spending money simply on "things that go boom." The military and industry and government are so tight in bed together that they cannot even begin to conceive of new ideas or plans other than continuing to make things that go boom, and whinning and dinning politicians so that they spend ever more money on such things.

-- E.T.B.

Amount of money that the United States Defense Department has lost track of, according to a 2000 report by its inspector general:
$1,100,000,000,000 (One trillion, one hundred billion dollars). That is not the amount the Defense Department spent, but merely the amount they "lost track of."

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Ratio of the above amount to the rest of the world's military budgets combined: 2:1.

Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies

- Harper's Index, August 2003

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21. The United States, the most Christian nation on earth, has placed its treasure in destruction and death. As Associated Press' Dan Morgan reports (June 12 2004, Tallahassee Democrat), the Pentagon "plans to spend well over $1 trillion in the next decade on an arsenal of futuristic planes, ships and weapons with little direct connection to the Iraq war or the global war on terrorism."

The 2005 defense budget - the word "defense" has become a joke in the post Cold War world - will reach $500 billion (counting the CIA), $50 billion higher than 2004. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next ten years, the armada of aircraft, ships and killer toys will cost upwards of $770 billion more than Bush's estimate for long-term defense. Morgan reports that Bush wants "$68 billion for research and development-20 percent above the peak levels of President Reagan's historic defense buildup. Tens of billions more out of a proposed $76 billion hardware account will go for big-ticket weapons systems to combat some as-yet-unknown adversary comparable to the former Soviet Union." The mantra heard in Congress, "we can't show weakness in the face of terrorism," fails to take into account the fact that when the 9/11 hijackers struck, the US military--the strongest in the world--failed to prevent the attacks. So, logically one would ask, how does a futuristic jet fighter defend against contemporary enemies, like jihadists who would smuggle explosives into a train station or crowded shopping mall?

-- 2006 Pentagon Budget as Sacrilege -- Bush Invests National Treasure in Death and Destruction by SAUL LANDAU, Counterpunch, June 25, 2004

"One industry that has done particularly well during the Bush administration has a strong interest in the outcome: the arms industry. A new report from the World Policy Institute tracks how this critical sector has exerted influence over administration policies, and how it is 'voting with its dollars' in the 2004 campaign.

"These have been boom years for the arms industry, with contracts for the top ten weapons contractors up 75% in the first three years of the Bush administration alone," notes William D. Hartung, the co-author of the study and the director of the Institute's arms project. "While some of this funding is related to the war in Iraq or the campaign against terrorism, much of it relates to Cold War relics like the F-22 combat aircraft or nuclear attack submarines that have little or no application to the threats we now face or the wars we are now fighting."

-- Arms Industry Influence in the Bush Administration and Beyond: A World Policy Institute Special Report by William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, October 2004

More than 100 countries have military budgets of less than $1 billion, roughly what the Pentagon spends in one day. The U.S. and its allies, including Australia, account for more than 70 percent of the world's military spending whilst so-called "adversary" powers--Iran, Iraq, North Korea--account for an absolutely trivial amount.

Graph showing annual military expenditures of U.S. and allies in proportion to the annual military expenditures of communist and "rogue nations." Be prepared to be surprised:

The occupation of Iraq is a drain on financial resources necessary for homeland security. The U.S. government spends more every three days on the Iraq war than it has in three years on the security of the country's 361 commercial seaports.

As Pentagon spending boomed to wage war in Iraq, the administration's 2004 budget cut $2 billion from crime prevention and public safety programs. The proposed 2005 budget slashed $805 million from emergency responders. An estimated full two-thirds of the increases in the Pentagon budget since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks funded programs and activities largely irrelevant to homeland security or counterterrorism operations, according to the Center for Defense Information.

The price is too steep for the results we are getting in President Bush's campaign against terrorism, today's author says.

In August, President Bush made a revealing comment, arguing that "we can't win the war on terrorism."

His instincts were right - but for the wrong reasons. A "global war on terror" is, by its nature, unwinnable.

First consider the words of Bush's own secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld. In a memo dated Oct. 16, 2003, Rumsfeld wrote:

"We lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?"

How might we answer Rumsfeld's question? The International Institute for Strategic Studies, the best-known and most authoritative source of information on global military capabilities and trends, estimates worldwide al-Qaida membership now stands at 18,000, with 1,000 active members in Iraq.

According to the IISS, which operates out of England, the conflict in Iraq has "accelerated recruitment" for al-Qaida. So the answer to Rumsfeld's question is no.

Second, we must understand that terrorism is a strategy, a tactic, used by states and non-state groups alike to advance political goals and objectives. Declaring a war on terrorism is as if President Franklin Roosevelt had declared a war on blitzkrieg.

-- John Gershman, "Let's Rethink This," The Albuquerque Tribune, October 5, 2004


In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed more than 3,000 people, President George W. Bush ushered in a "war on terrorism" to, as he put it, "bring to justice" those behind the attacks or who pose a similar threat to innocent people.

By even conservative estimates, Bush's campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to at least as many innocent lives lost. What is the moral status of this?

According to Independent Institute senior fellow Robert Higgs, Bush's military response -- especially the use of aerial bombing -- is "not morally valid."

In a new op-ed published in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Higgs argues that the sheer magnitude of "collateral damage" caused by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq should give Americans pause.

* Nearly 3,800 Afghan civilians were killed between Oct. 7 and Dec. 7, according to economist Marc Herold (Univ. of New Hampshire), who calls his estimate "very, very conservative."

* At least 3,240 civilians were killed by April 20th, based on an Associated Press survey of 60 of Iraq's 124 hospitals, although data from other hospitals and deaths that families did not bother to report to the hospitals surveyed surely raise the civilian death count.

"If we take as reasonable lower-bound estimates 2,000 Afghan and 4,000 Iraqi civilian deaths [The number of Iraqi civilian deaths have since been researched and shown to be far higher, around 100,000. See the news that hit in Oct./Nov. of 2004 based on research in Iraq that was published in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet. -- E.T.B.], then we can conclude that the U.S. forces already have inflicted at least two undeserved deaths for every death the terrorists caused in the Sept. 11 attacks," writes Higgs. "Many of the dead in Afghanistan and Iraq are women and children. Moreover, many of the thousands of Iraqi army personnel killed in the invasion arguably ought to be regarded as essentially innocent, because as conscripts they were fighting only under duress (and only in defense of their homeland). Thus, in a grotesque mockery of justice, the Bush administration has taken several innocent lives for each innocent life lost at the hands of the terrorists.

"One might say -- as many do -- that the two killing sprees are not comparable, because the terrorists set out to kill the innocent, whereas the U. S. forces killed the innocent 'by accident.' I greatly doubt, however, that this argument can hold water. When U.S. forces employ aerial and artillery bombardment -- with huge high-explosive bombs, large rockets and shells, including cluster munitions -- as their principal technique of waging war, especially in densely inhabited areas, they know with absolute certainty that many innocent people will be killed. To proceed with such bombardment, therefore, is to choose to inflict those deaths.

"If you or I settled our scores in our neighborhoods in such a fashion, neither moral authorities nor the legal system would countenance our slaughter of innocent bystanders as excusable. Nobody can gain moral absolution merely by labeling his killing spree a
'war.' It's not a morally valid way out for you and me, and it's not a morally valid way out for George W. Bush, either."

See "Not Exactly an Eye for an Eye" by Robert Higgs (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, June 23, 2003)

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