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The (Opportunity) Costs of ANOTHER War with Iraq - On Violence
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The (Opportunity) Costs of ANOTHER War with Iraq


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four comments


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Some readers haven’t been fans of this series. But the next logical option to not going to war is not spending the money, then subtracting the cost of not addressing the threat. As far as Saddam goes, I think that would have been very low. But not increasing the debt? That is the next logical option.

Going on this, I love this series and here’s why: we don’t have this conversation about military spending.

Stimulus to help the economy? Everyone talks about its impact on the debt. For God’s sake, it became one of the main talking points of the 2010 election.


We have a post way down the line on how critics of President Obama want him to be “a leader” in the world. If he did make us a leader in either the UN sustainable Development Goals or Climate Change, he would do more for American leadership than fighting any war, but conservatives would hate him. Ironic.


“Every cruise missile costs tens of thousands of dollars.”

No way. 250 grand minimum for the small, fighter-launched ones (more regularly 500+ grand for that).

“Tomahawk Cruise Missile
(…)
Unit Cost: Approximately $569,000 (FY99 $).”
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_displa..

“(…) vowing to spend 1.0% of its GDP on foreign aid and development (…)”
I doubt this would make sense. Apart from too great domestic opposition, foreign aid isn’t really something that helps countries much.
An end to support for bad governments, modifications in intellectual property laws and treaties, an end to subsidies for import-substituting agricultural products et cetera would help much more.
Domestic self-interests and the appetite for great power gaming oppose such moves, though.


To broaden the scope, France has just announced it will spend an additional 425M Euros over the next 3 years on security-related improvements. Certainly the recent attacks were emotional, but as has been often repeated, the number of deaths from terror-related incidents are tiny when set against the whole population. Imagine what an extra 425M Euros could do to improve cleaning procedures in hospitals (to fight hospital-acquired infections) or re-engineer the most dangerous segments of highway or intersections, either of which would probably save more than 20 lives per year. Or, if the threat is fundamentalist Islam, better integrate the Islamic population into France so they don’t feel like foreigners in their own country.

It seems Americans have no monopoly on throwing philosophy to the wind when it comes to spending on security.