Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Cost Of Freedom

Boingboing provides a nifty counter for the Cost Of war in Iraq - permalinked in the left sidebar - startling numbers if you compare it to what it could have purchased in a saner world - it is hard to comment on the justifiability of this expenditure - the region was stable and secular earlier, although governed by a murderous dictator.

From the parent site,
"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."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
April 16, 1953
This is not the only war - and not the least of the costs of war, particularly on children.
UNICEF estimates that between 1985 and 1995 two million children were killed in wars, 65 million disabled, 12 million made homeless, 1 million orphaned and 10 million left psychologically traumatized. As ethnic wars have become more prevalent, children have increasingly been viewed as "legitimate" targets of ethnic strife. In addition, an alarming number of children are being enlisted in the military. In 1988 as many as 200,000 children under the age of 16 served as combatants in war. Many children have been brought up knowing nothing other than war: taking up arms seems a completely natural way of life, and children orphaned by war often look to the military to serve as a surrogate family.

The cost of war can also be measured in terms of lost opportunity for children: money spent on armaments is not money spent on education, healthcare or nutrition. Futhermore, the poverty and lack of development resulting from war frequently fuels hostility that leads to further conflict. It has been estimated that redirecting just one-quarter of developing countries' military expenditure will make it possible by the year 2000 to achieve such goals as primary healthcare for all, immunization of all children, elimination of severe malnutrition, provision of safe drinking water for all, universal primary education, reduction of illiteracy and family planning.

The parent site, the National Priorities Project has been in existence since 1983 - bios of members
Currently, the Cost of War calculator is set to reach $152 billion at the end of 2004. This amount is based on the National Priorities Project analysis of the three requests made by the Bush Administration for funding for the war on Iraq, and what Congress actually allocated.

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