War, what is it good for? I feel war, is good for absolutely nothing at all. What is the value of a life? Why do some feel that war is acceptable? Is war part of our biological make up? Could we seek out an alternative to war? These are some of the questions that are asked when it comes to the controversy surrounding war. There are differing opinions and views as well, from the pro-war, too the activists against war, the political, and the philosophy of war. No matter how you look at it though, I believe that we can find a better way. I think we have come far enough along in the evolutionary scale that we could settle our differences better than acting like animals, fighting and killing over territory. I read some of the political views from the political scientists Paul Seabury and Angelo Codevilla in their book, War.
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Some of the political views just make me hate politics even more, because I don’t feel that they make any sense at all. Seabury and Codevilla talk about political warfare, saying “propaganda, agents of influence, sabotage, coups de main, and supports for insurgents—are not acts of war in the same sense that armies crashing across borders or airplanes dropping bombs are acts of war. They are in fact war whether done in pursuit of victory during war or during unbloody conflicts as serious as war. If these political tools are not used seriously, they are not acts of war.
But then again, politically unserious bombings and invasions are not acts of war either.” How can people think that this makes any sense at all? I don’t know if I have ever seen a bombing that wasn’t serious. An invasion is a pretty serious matter as well. Is this a way to ease the minds of the people who decide to invade? Try telling the families that have lost loved ones in the evasion of Iraq. I guarantee they will take it pretty serious. But I guess this is ok because politicians called it the“The War on Terror” a war for “American justice” and “American freedom”. The wars begun in 2001 have been tremendously painful for millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, and the United States, and economically costly as well.
Page 2 Why War Is Bad Essay
Each additional month and year of war will add tothat toll. Moreover, the human costs of these conflicts will reverberate for years to come in each of those four countries. There is no turning the page on the wars with the end of hostilities, and there is even more need as a result to understand what those wars’ consequences are and will be. While most Americans have seen the brief stories of people who died in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan, the true impact of their deaths can escape anyone not personally involved as a family member or friend of the over 6,600 dead.
The lost potential of a life not lived and this large new community of bereaved parents, spouses, children, siblings, and close friends are the main painful homefront legacy of these wars. Moreover, although the military suicide rate has historically been quite low, it has climbed steadily since the 2003 invasion and reached 349 deaths in 2012, exceeding the civilian rate. Most of the public are aware, at least, of the approximate number of US troops who have died, but even here the human cost of the wars to US and coalition forces extends well beyond them. Large numbers of private contractors working for the US military in those war zones have also died providing oil transport, food services, and other logistical and security support to the troops.
Following the official withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in December 2011, a host of contractors and US State Department and other government agency employees remain in the country. In January 2012, the United States Embassy had hired 5,000 contractors to protect its 11,000 employees, and to train Iraqi troops to use United States weapons systems and equipment. By the end of September 2012, there were 13,500 contractors working in Iraq for the Pentagon and the Department of State, and over 21,000 private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Contractors do not enjoy the benefits, protections, and recognition that uniformed troops receive: contractor deaths during these wars have been underreported, their families are often not compensated for their deaths and injuries, and contractor healthcare has often been substandard. In particular, foreign workers for US contractors have had their deaths and injuries unrecognized or compensated. The ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have taken a tremendous toll on the people of those countries – resulting in the deaths of between at least 158,000 to 202,000 civilians. The decade long war in Afghanistan has continued to take lives with each passing year. As of February 2013, between 17,000 and 19,000 civilians have died as a result of the violence. The total number killed in Pakistan may be as high or higher than the toll in Afghanistan, with NGO estimates ranging widely between 18,000 and 49,000 recorded deaths.
In Iraq, over 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence have been civilians. Iraq Body Count conservatively estimates that at least 134,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence due to war between the invasion and early March 2013. If trends continue, another 4,000 or so Iraqis can be expected to die in 2013 from continued violence. In addition to the direct consequences of violence represented by these numbers, thousands more Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis are falling victim to the dangers of a battered infrastructure and poor health conditions arising from wars. In the case of Iraq, excess deaths indirectly resulting from the war add several times the 134,000 civilians killed directly by violence. People have been killed in their homes at night and in markets and on roadways during the day.
They have been killed by bombs, bullets and fire and by weapons whose acronyms have newly entered the lexicon — improvised explosive devices (IED) and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs or “drones”). Civilians die at checkpoints, as they are run off the road by military vehicles, when they step on a mine or a cluster bomb as they try to collect wood or tend to their fields, and when they are kidnapped and executed for purposes of revenge or intimidation. They have been killed by the US and they have been killed by its allies and they have been killed by insurgents and sectarians in the civil wars spawned or fanned by the invasions and what followed. And death can happen some time — weeks or months — after a battle.
In March 2002, Human Rights Watch documented the results when one US cluster bomb that had failed to explode on impact was detonated by five boys on their way to a picnic in Takh-te-Sefar, Afghanistan, “Ramin, 15, died immediately. . . . Soraj, 12, lost both legs. Ismaeel, 16, sustained a chest wound. Farhad, 18, injured his foot. Waheed, 5, received a chest wound and minor head injury.” The survivors would need immediate medical care, long-term care, and prostheses. And the effects of war death and injury linger. When families lose members to death or injury, not only is the human suffering immense, but there is also often loss of the household’s only breadwinner.
There are also financial burdens for medical care, care of a disabled or orphaned relative, and funeral expenses. When the nongovernmental organization Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict visited a neighborhood in 2008 affected by an airstrike in Herat, Afghanistan on October 22, 2001, it found that the neighborhood remained damaged from the strike. “The air-strike reportedly missed a military target and directly hit an area within the city, damaging or destroying the houses of forty-five families, killing twelve and injuring tens of others.” CIVIC investigators interviewed survivors. “According to the father of one family, everyone he was close to was affected: ‘One of the bombs landed in our yard.
The other landed on my brother’s house, the other my neighbor here, the other my neighbor there.'” CIVIC also found that “Even those who were spared direct harm complained about a general deterioration of their quality of life, and that they had received no help to recover.” Civilians also die when war damages infrastructure. These indirect war related deaths would not have occurred were it not for the damage to infrastructure, and environmental disruptions and dislocations produced by the war’s violence. Refugees from the violence, for example, often lose access to a stable food supply and/or to jobs and income, resulting in increased malnutrition and vulnerability to other disease.
Loss of home or destruction of sewage treatment facilities can lead to lack of access to safe drinking water. Loss of access to health care is also common, leading to fatalities that would otherwise not have happened. It is almost always difficult to record and count the dead and wounded in war. And there are often disputes about the identities of the dead. A variety of war zone observers have asked: Were these “innocent civilians” or “insurgents”? Were they killed by the US, by other pro-government forces, by anti-government forces, or by others? Given how the laws of war are written, many ask, were their deaths intended, the foreseeable consequence of using a particular weapon in a populated area, or an “acceptable accident”? The challenge of counting the civilian dead in these war zones begin with these basic questions and then continues with contentious debates about the answers and the methods for recording and counting casualties.
The Costs of War project describes the specific challenges of estimating civilian death and wounding in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. The reports also discuss the ways civilians have been killed in each of these war zones and how the pattern of killing has changed over the course of the wars. The reports survey the various counts and estimates given by different sources, and then makes an estimate from them of the dead and wounded. There are at least three ways to think about the economic costs of these wars: what has been spent already, what could or must be spent in the future, and the comparative economic effects of spending money on war instead of something else.
The Costs of War economics research team used the most up-to-date publicly available figures at the time of their writing to calculate the spending on the wars from 2001 through fiscal year 2013. The Pentagon’s total allocation for war from 2001-2011 in current dollars was $1,406 billion. The DOD was also allocated additional funds for its base budget. This totals between $706 and $780 billion, some portion of which has been used for war expenses (such as increased medical care for active duty soldiers), and all of which might be counted as having been appropriated as a result of the war climate in Washington. War related spending is also found in the budget, known on Capitol Hill as “International Assistance” spending. Aid to Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan grew because of the war to $104 billion in current dollars.
Much of that spending by the State Department and USAID directly supported military efforts. The United States paid for past wars by raising taxes and or selling war bonds. The current wars were paid for almost entirely by borrowing. This borrowing has raised the U.S. budget deficit, increased the national debt, and had other macroeconics effects, such as raising interest rates. The U.S. must also pay interest on the borrowed money. The interest paid on Pentagon spending alone, so far (from 2001 through FY 2013) is about $259 billion in current dollars. The U.S. also increased spending on homeland security by more than $455 billion beyond the levels already in place. We include this as excess spending on homeland security that occurred as a result of the war on terror. Considered by many an important part of domestic mobilization for the wars, there continue to be questions about the effectiveness of this spending.
The U.S. has already spent $135 billion for both medical care and disability for more than a million veterans of these wars. Each day, more veterans continue to apply to receive their benefits. The costs of war don’t end when the fighting stops. Specifically, the U.S. has incurred obligations by fighting the wars. For example, the U.S. is obligated to pay the future medical and disability costs of veterans As in past wars, medical and disability costs will peak in about 30 to 40 years, totaling an estimated $754 billion. Unless the U.S. immediately repays the money borrowed for war, there will also be future interest payments. We estimate that interest payments could total about $1 trillion dollars by 2023, or $7 trillion by 2053. What could the economy look like if we had not spent that money on war?
Were jobs lost or gained by war? Military spending does produce jobs. But spending in other areas could produce more jobs. Military spending has also affected investment in public assets and inastructure. While investment in military infrastructure grew, investment in other, non-military, public infrastructure did not grow at the same rate What could the United States have done except make war on the people who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11? The alternatives for finding and holding accountable those guilty of the 9/11 attacks, and for preventing future attacks, were not long, if ever, considered: a military invasion of Afghanistan commenced on October 7th, 2001.
Those methods, however, might have enabled the United States to better prevent and cope with the threat of terror attacks, and at far less cost to life and treasury. Comparisons have been made between states that have used military responses to terror tactics and states that have taken alternative policing and political approaches. A report in 2006 made systematic examination and it showed that several approaches have been much more effective than military responses at eliminating future attacks.
They include criminal justice responses and attempts to address the well-being concerns of both combatants and the broader populace that might support them. The study found that 40 percent of the 268 groups were eliminated through intelligence and policing methods; 43 percent ended their violence as a result of peaceful political accommodation; 10 percent ceased their violent activity because they had achieved their objectives by violence; and only 7 percent were defeated militarily. Military responses have often created more extensive violent response and terrorism against the civilian population caught between two opposing forces.
The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan have served as an effective recruiting device for new terrorists. For example, contrary to the US government’s rationale that invading Iraq would prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists, the country has instead become a laboratory in which militant groups have been able to hone their techniques of propaganda, recruitment, and violence against the most highly trained military in the world. The number of terrorist attacks in Iraq rose precipitously following the 2003 invasion and has not returned to its pre-war level. In addition, wars often create the conditions for additional aaviolent conflicts over the new resources and new political alignments created by an initial invasion or occupation. The civil wars and criminal violence that erupted in both Iraq and Afghanistan are examples of this phenomenon.See More on War