Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Cost of 911

Ten years ago, four airplanes were hijacked in the USA.  Two of them slammed into the World Trade Center in New York City, causing both towers to collapse.

According to the South China Morning Post graphics, the 911 attacks killed ~3,000 people.  They also led directly to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and indirectly to conflicts in Pakistan and elsewhere, killing 224,000+ people, including soldiers, insurgents, and civilians in the countries affected by the conflicts.  That is roughly 75 times more than the direct casualty in the original attacks. 

On the financial side, the 911 attacks cost the USA 100 billion US dollars.  But the following wars were estimated to cost ~4,400 billion - to the USA alone.  That is roughly 44 times the direct costs of the original attacks. It does not even start to account for the costs to the other nations.

The 911 attacks were due to previous conflicts.   And the current conflicts will not stop today.  As rich and powerful as the American military is, it will not be able to truly subdue its enemies.  It does not even know exactly who the enemies are, let alone where they are and how to stop them.  Its enemies are not going to stop themselves either.  As angry and determined as they are, they are not able to really destroy the USA in the foreseeable future.  If anything, the conflicts will continue and just get worse, the way it is going. 

What, then? If neither military might nor devious terrorism can provide the answer; can people come up with better ways to get us out of this killing frenzy?  Can people at least try to identify the vast majority of the people who do not really want to kill each other, distinguish them from the die-hard incorrigible extremists, and see if something can be done to help those who simply wish to live in peace?

For the sake of the human race, would you please try?  For practical reasons, would the ones with the power, the upper hand, take the initiative to find a better way?  For those who believe in God, whatever you call Him, wouldn't God want you to do that?


Cyiu Chau said...

I am not an expert of economies or politics but I've heard people saying the US government tried to stimulate domestic demand by means of war and I suspect that might be the truth. Probably a part of the 4400 billion spent on firearms and kevlar became the direct income of certain American (and Japanese) companies.

StephenC said...

There is also evidence that a lot of the re-construction business in Iraq went to American companies.

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