Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, January 27, 2006

Our Second Cheapest War, Ever

        NRO Financial gives us the cost of the Iraq Campaign as a percentage of GDP, as calculated by Prof Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University and Jerry Bower of National Review Online.  The Iraq campaign consumes 2% of GDP, compared to 1% for the Gulf War.  All other wars were more expensive.

        In terms of absolute number of deaths, it's our third costliest war, soon to be fourth.  As a percentage of our population, it's second lowest.

                                                        Proportionate Deaths
Population Total Pop. for a population
Conflict (millions) Deaths Ratio of 300 Million
Revolutionary War 3.5 4,435 85.71 380,143
War of 1812 7.6 2,260 39.47 89,211
Mexican War 21.1 13,283 14.22 188,858
Civil War: Union 26.2 359,528 11.45 4,116,733
Confederate 8.2 198,524 35.59 7,263,073
Combined 34.3 558,052 8.75 4,480,921
Spanish-American War 74.6 2,446 4.02 6,684
World War I 102.8 116,708 2.92 341,584
World War II 133.5 407,316 2.25 915,316
Korean War 151.7 33,651 1.98 66,548
Vietnam War 204.9 58,168 1.47 85,165
Gulf War 260.0 293 1.15 877
Iraq War 300.0 2,377 1.00 2,377

      Data for above table here, except Iraq Campaign deaths,
from here.  To put it another way, in proportion to population, casualties in the Civil War Between the States were about eighteen hundred eighty five times higher than the Iraq Campaign (around eight hundred thirty times higher if you include the Sept. 11th casualties and other terrorist attacks).

        Perhaps the best comparison is with World War III, the Seventy Years War against the late Soviet Union ("late Soviet Union" — WHOOPEE!  We beat you!).  We took 91,819 deaths pulling them down (in the proxy wars of Korea and Vietnam).  Adjusted for the smaller populations, that's 151,713 out of today's population.  Compared to that figure, deaths in World War IV, military and civilian, are maybe 4% of WWIII.  Of course WWIV isn't over, but it's hard to see us ever suffering anything like 150,000 deaths, barring a major WMD attack on the U.S.

        So we're not only winning a war for our survival, we're winning damn cheaply.

        Technorati tags: , , , , , .



Post a Comment

<< Home