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Commentary :: War and Militarism
Wars against Terror
12 Nov 2013
"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake" (Jeanette Rankin). "Every war has two losers" (William Stafford). "You can make fish soup ou9t of an aquarium but can't make an aquarium out of fish soup (Polish proverb). George Orwell warned that war could become a domestic necessity to divert people from economic contradiction.

By SoZ - Sozialistische Zeitung

[This article published on October 4, 2013 is translated from the German on the Internet,]


All the wars waged by NATO since the beginning of the 1990s ended with conditions of greater instability and impoverishment, with enormous economic costs for the directly involved states and with massive human sacrifice and tremendous financial costs for the NATO states.

The Handelsblatt newspaper in its September 7, 2013 weekend edition compiled the following numbers. These statistics are by no means exhaustive since they do not include all the participants in the wars –in the states where the wars were fought out.

The first Iraq war (also called the Second Gulf war, January 17-February 28, 1991) aimed at bringing Kuwait occupied by Saddam Hussein under western control again. The Iraqi head of state should be kept from becoming the next Saudi Arabia. Bush senior convinced a “coalition of the willing” of his intentions and shifted the costs to them: above all to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Total costs: $61 billion (including US: $10 billion and Germany: $10 billion)

The Balkan wars were the result of German Yugoslavian policy. They accelerated the disintegration of the Yugoslavian state through the premature recognition of Slovenia and Croatia as independent states so these could be opened for the US market and Serbia’s power base restored. A stabilization and pacification was not achieved. The Balkans remains a poorhouse and a trouble spot.

Costs of the Kosovo war (1998/99): total costs up to today [BBC estimate without follow-up economic costs (including US: $3 billion and the other NATO states: $1 billion]. The KFOR deployment (NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo) that has not ended costs $2 billion annually.

The Second Iraq war (March 20-May 1, 2003) sought to overthrow Saddam Hussein and rearrange the region in the sense of US interests. Saddam supported the terrorist attack of September 11 and planned an attack on the US with weapons of mass destruction, it was argued. The regime change plunged Iraq into a lasting ethnic-religious civil war that forced the US to keep its troops in the country for another eight and a half years. The Second Iraq war permanently destabilized the internal political situation as well as the region. Oil production stagnates and the infrastructure goes to ruin. Violence rules in Iraq. Thousands of civilians will be its casualties.

Human sacrifice: US soldiers: 17,847 killed (from August 1990 to March 2007, according to Veterans associations of the US armed forces), 32,200 wounded up to 2011. Iraqi soldiers: presumably many times more, statistics are hardly available. Civil population: the death toll of casualties fluctuates greatly from 151,000 (to the beginning of 2008) to 654,965.

Costs: US: $823 billion (without including Veteran’s provisions and interests on the war credits). Germany: 400 million euros for the “reconstruction” plus 4.8 billion euros waivers on debts. The total costs at the end could amount to $3.9 trillion (estimate of Brown University).

In the Afghanistan war (since December 2001) NATO intervened in a civil war between the pro-Western United Front and the Taliban and overthrows the Taliban government. None of the long-term military goals were reached: neither a permanent defeat of the Taliban and liberation of women nor the construction of a stable and halfway democratic alternative government.

Human sacrifice: Killed: 2271 soldiers of the coalition forces – including 2270 US soldiers, 54 soldiers of the German army, wounded: over 17,000 US soldiers

Costs: US: $600 billion (only for military operations) plus an estimated $1 trillion for care of veterans. Afghanistan: $5-8 billion in direct and indirect support for the Afghanistan security forces. Germany: 36 billion euros (2010 estimate) – three times more than estimated at the beginning. The costs of the Afghanistan war have not ended. Several thousand US soldiers and several hundred German soldiers will remain in the country after the withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014.

Ten years of “war against terror” (2001-2011) cost the US $3.8 trillion – nearly as much as the Second World War ($4.4 trillion) (estimates of Handelsblatt)
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