The Cost of Conflict

When looking at the impact wartime has on a nation and the world, there are both the economic and human costs. Governments often fail to consider the human costs until in the aftermath of war.

In World War I, 1914-1918, the direct costs of the war were in the neighborhood of $150 million.


The human cost was 37 million individuals for those involved directly in the conflict and an additional 10 million in civilian populations. While many thought this devastation would end the threat of world conflict, an American statesman and future President, Woodrow Wilson, made the following prophetic statement.
“The war we have just been through, though it was shot through with terror, is not to be compared with the war we would have to face next time.”

Mr. Wilson was right. In World War II, 1941-1945, the second ‘war to end all wars’, over 72 million people lost their lives, 46 million military and 26 million civilians. Some countries, such as Germany, lost over 10% of their total population. In the midst of this, was the horror of the Jewish genocide, accounting for 6 million of the losses. Over 50 countries participated in the loss of life.

Still, the conflicts and the losses mounted. Loss of life in the Korean War, sometimes called the forgotten war, was almost 2.5 million in military personnel and many more in the civilian population.

In the Vietnam War, some 1,250,000 active personnel were loss with many more civilians. This was an unusual conflict, in that children and other civilians were used as shields or pressed into service as human bombs to fend off invading armies. The psychological casualties of those who experienced this and survived are immeasurable.

In more recent times, the mass genocide within countries has accounted for great losses of life. The horror in Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutu brought about the death of over 800,000 Tutsi in 100 days. Sadly, the rest of the world stood back and watched ignoring the lessons they had learned from the likes of Hitler and Idi Amin. Saddam Hussein, amongst his many atrocities, ordered the chemical deaths of 400,000 Kurds. Numerous examples exist of ruthless dictators that isolate a sub-population within their own country and disguise their prejudice under some rhetoric that justifies these mass homicides.

Not totaled into the numbers above are the losses that occurred and continue to occur, due to terrorist activity. Civilian losses are realized every minute of every day as those who believe in random violence as a tool for change wreak their havoc worldwide.

War as a means of resolving conflict is almost as old as man himself. Can the world survive without the use of armed conflict? It would appear, that history has taught that we cannot. But history has also shown us the cost to humanity, and that we must choose carefully when and how we must resort to war. Let us weigh heavily the potential for loss, before we begin to experience it. If we do, the lives of those who have died before would not have been in vain.

U.S. announces 9 troop deaths in Iraq

BAGHDAD – A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala as the streets were packed with people heading for evening prayers, killing at least 58 and wounding scores near some of the country’s most sacred shrines. Separately, the U.S. military announced the deaths of nine American troops, including three killed Saturday in a single roadside bombing outside Baghdad. With black smoke clogging the skies above Karbala, angry crowds hurled stones at police and later stormed the provincial governor’s house, accusing authorities of failing to protect them from the unrelenting bombings usually blamed on Sunni insurgents. It was the second car bomb to strike the city’s central area in two weeks. Near the blast site, survivors frantically searched for missing relatives. Iraqi television showed one man carrying the charred body of a small girl above his head as he ran down the street, while ambulances rushed to retrieve the wounded and firefighters sprayed water at fires in the wreckage, leaving pools of bloody water. The Americans killed in Iraq included five who died in fighting Friday in Anbar province, three killed when a roadside bomb struck their patrol southeast of Baghdad and one killed in a separate roadside bombing south of the capital. The deaths raised to 99 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died this month and at least 3,346 who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The blast took place about 7 p.m. in a crowded commercial area near the shrines of Imam Abbas and Imam Hussein, major Shiite saints. Security officials said the car packed with explosives was parked near a cement barrier intended to keep traffic away from the shrines, which draw thousands of Shiite pilgrims from Iran and other countries. That suggested the attack, which occurred two weeks after 47 people were killed and 224 were wounded in a car bombing in the same area on April 14, was aimed at killing as many Shiite worshippers as possible. Salim Kazim, the head of the health department in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, said 55 people were killed and 168 wounded. The figures were confirmed by Abdul-Al al-Yassiri, the head of Karbala’s provincial council. “I did not expect this explosion because I thought the place was well protected by the police,” said Qassim Hassan, a clothing merchant who was injured by the blast. “I demand a trial for the people in charge of the security in Karbala.” Hassan, who spoke to a reporter from his hospital bed, said his brother and a cousin were still missing. “I regret that I voted for those traitors who only care about their posts, not the people who voted for them.” The U.S. military has warned that such bombings were intended to provoke retaliatory violence by Shiite militias, whose members have largely complied with political pressure to avoid confrontations with Americans during the U.S. troop buildup. The radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr launched a strong attack earlier Saturday on President Bush, calling him the “greatest evil” for refusing to withdraw American troops from Iraq. Al-Sadr’s statement was read during a parliament session by his cousin, Liqaa al-Yassin, after Congress ordered U.S. troops to begin leaving Iraq by Oct. 1. Bush pledged to veto the measure and neither the House nor the Senate had enough votes to override him. “Here are the Democrats calling you to withdraw or even set a timetable and you are not responding,” al-Sadr’s statement said. “It is not only them who are calling for this but also Republicans, to whom you belong.” “If you are ignoring your friends and partners, then it is no wonder that you ignore the international and Iraqi points of view,” he added. Al-Sadr led two armed uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004, and his Mahdi militia is believed responsible for much of Iraq’s sectarian killing. The U.S. military says he has fled to Iran, although his followers insist he is hiding in Iraq. Abdul-Al al-Yassiri, the head of the Karbala provincial council, said local authorities had raised fears that militants fleeing the Baghdad security crackdown were infiltrating their area. “We have contacted the interior minister and asked them to supply us with equipment that can detect explosives,” he said. Ali Mohammed, 31, who sells prayer beads in the area, said he heard the blast and felt himself hurled into the air. “The next thing I knew I opened my eyes in the hospital with my legs and chest burned,” he said. “This is a disaster. What is the guilt of the children and women killed today by this terrorist attack?” Crowds stormed the provincial government offices and the governor’s house, burning part of it along with three cars and scuffling with guards. Security forces detained several armed protesters, said Ghalib al-Daami, a provincial council member. Saturday’s bombing was the deadliest attack in Iraq since April 18, when 127 people were killed in a car bombing near the Sadriyah market in Baghdad — one of four bombings that killed a total of 183 people in the bloodiest day since a U.S.-Iraq security operation began in the capital more than 10 weeks ago. In all, at least 119 people were killed or found dead, including the bodies of 38 people killed execution-style — apparent victims of the so-called sectarian death squads mostly run by Shiite militias. In Baghdad, a mortar attack killed two people and wounded seven in the Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah, where the U.S. military recently announced it was building a three-mile long, 12-foot high concrete wall despite protests from residents and Sunni politicians that they were being isolated. The U.S. military also said Saturday that a suicide truck bomber attacked the home of a city police chief the day before in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, killing nine Iraqi security forces and six civilians. Police chief Hamid Ibrahim al-Numrawi and his family escaped injury after Iraqi forces opened fire on the truck before it reached the concrete barrier outside the home in Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad.

Lock and Load

AK-47 vs AR-15 which one is the better assault rifle M16/AR15 The first M16s had all kinds of problems, most of which have been resolved. The remaining problems mainly amount to jamming due to dust or sand during long periods in the field. Since civilians almost never spend weeks in the field, a civilian owner will almost never see one of those problems.

The M16 is different from other military rifles in the following respects: The 223 ammunition it uses. The rifle has enough power to kill humans or deer if not bears and cape buffalo, is accurate out to several hundred yards and, with heavy (75 – 95 grain) bullets and quick-twist barrels, can shoot to 800 – 1000 yards. It is accurate and allows rapid, well-aimed fire. The M16 does not use a piston; gas blows back through a very small tube straight onto the bolt carrier. This eliminates the movement of the piston inside the rifle increases accuracy. * The bolt locks into the barrel rather than the receiver, simplifying several kinds of things, not the least of which is cleaning. * The lower receiver with the serial number totally detaches from the upper receiver and barrel, meaning that somebody who owns one lower piece of an AR16 / M16 can buy several differrent uppers, cheaply and with no further legal requirements. * The barrel-upper receiver connection does not involve high torque as with some other military rifles. This makes M16s basically easy to work on. The US switched to 223 caliber rifles during the Vietnam war; the M16 and civilian variants of it are the closest thing there is to a real assault rifle which is also a believable rifle and can hit things at significant distances. In particular, in a gunfight at 500 yards between a guy with an M16 and a guy with an Ak47, the guy with the AK would most often be SOL. The US switched to 223 caliber rifles during the Vietnam war; the M16 and civilian variants of it are the closest thing there is to a real assault rifle which is also a believable rifle and can hit things at significant distances. In particular, in a gunfight at 500 yards between a guy with an M16 and a guy with an AK47, the guy with the AK would most often be SOL. “The M16 is by far the more superior weapon. It’s lighter, more accurate, more versatile, and with proper maintenance it is very reliable. Indeed, it might be less sand proof then the Galil/AK47 series. However, all you need is to clean it once a day and it will work properly. Since modern armies clean their small arms on a daily even during combat deployment this is a non-issue. In fact, most of the myth regarding the M16 unreliability date back to the Vietnam War when the M16 was first issued. The 5.56 ammunition given then to the troops used a low quality sticky powder that caused massive buildup of dirt in the M16 mechanism and eventually to jamming problems. When the ammunition was changed, the misfire problems disappeared as well.”