With the renewed push by the leaders (owners) of the USA and the UK to keep the theater of war open in Iraq we must consider how much wars cost us. The British Air Force destroyed a truck with alleged links to ISIS using Brimstone missiles during an “armed reconnaissance mission”. The cost of a Brimstone missile is about £150,000. The Pentagon spent approximately $7 million t$10 million per day since July 2014 to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Some may not even know that there is a war in Syria.
Military officials try to justify this aerial warfare by comparing the costs of it to that of the ground warfare. This may remind us of the language used during the early days of the Vietnam war which eventually developed into an all out war using everything even submarines. We still bear the costs of that war: civilian casualties, destroyed villages, veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, victims of Agent Orange and so on. Who could put a price tag on all that suffering?
Further cost we have to pay for these war is an assault on our freedom. Taking your shoes off at the airport may not seem much at first, but it could quickly develop to the Transport Safety Authority forcing you to only use locks on your luggage which they have a masterkey to. Of course that masterkey could end up in wrong hands. Just like intentional
“backdoors” built into software so the government, or anybody who figures it out, could have access to information on computers including mobile devices or “smart” TVs in our homes.
Is there anything else we should add to the cost of war? Let’s examine the phrase “armed reconnaissance mission”. Reconnaissance traditionally to obtain information about the other side and one may use the word spying to substitute it. The intelligence community and the army then moved on to suggest that we may deliver “preemptively” strike upon groups of armed persons who have not yet did anything, but were allegedly preparing to do something against them and they told us it was not war. Finally came the combination of these into the term “armed reconnaissance mission” which means let’s see who is there and if there is someone let’s blast them. One may call it manipulation or assault on our intelligence.
Meanwhile people in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe or Oceania; where there are no CNN or Fox News cameras; are dying of hunger or cold or diseases. There seems to be no war declared on poverty only on drugs (excluding alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs), terrorism and freedom. We have no idea how does it feel to see tanks on the streets and soldiers carrying assault rifles looking at every move people make every day. Yet this is the reality in countries such as Palestine or Afghanistan. Imagine while you are getting your morning coffee (in a non-recyclable single use cup) somebody in camouflage uniform points a large calibre weapon at your head because you wear a different headdress, have/lack a beard or worship another god.
Imagine if you had to read all the names of every human being killed every day everywhere on this marvelous Earth. Imagine if you had to look at their dead bodies. Imagine dreading every day not knowing if it would bring another missile destroying a school or a hospital or an unexploded lying in a playground. Imagine the people who are living like this. Imagine young men and women going to war, because they could not get another job or where fooled by a recruiter’s lies, coming back in a coffins or with limbs missing, wounded, traumatised and unable to live in peace anymore.
We must know about these to be able to make an informed decision whether or not to get to war or go to peace. This spiritual cost of war we all pay and this far outweighs the monetary costs.