Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Cost of War...and Ultrarunning

Belatedly--'cause I didn't see it until yesterday--I want to cite some fine blogging by David Swanson, here

On the original Armistice Day in 1918, much of the world ended a four-year war that served no useful purpose whatsoever while costing the lives of some 10 million soldiers, 6 million civilians, 21 million soldiers wounded, an outbreak of Spanish influenza that took another 100 million lives, environmental destruction that is ongoing today, the development of new weapons -- including chemical weapons -- still used today, huge leaps forward in the art of propaganda still plagiarized today, huge setbacks in the struggle for economic justice, and a culture more militarized, more focused on stupid ideas like banning alcohol, and more ready to restrict civil liberties in the name of nationalism....

Let's pause there to digest what was said before we finish that sentence.  The "war to end all wars" snuffed out or forever altered literally millions of lives.  Without, you know, ending all wars.  In fact, many historians view WWII as merely a continuation of WWI, after hitting the PAUSE button for a couple decades.

Now, the rest of the sentence, which is where I really wanted to go:

....and all for the bargain price, as one author calculated it, of enough money to have given a $2,500 home with $1,000 worth of furniture and five acres of land to every family in Russia, most of the European nations, Canada, the United States, and Australia, plus enough to give every city of over 20,000 a $2 million library, a $3 million hospital, a $20 million college, and still enough left over to buy every piece of property in Germany and Belgium. And it was all legal. Incredibly stupid, but totally legal. Particular atrocities violated laws, but war was not criminal.

Can you imagine the good that spending today's dollars on butter and not guns could do?  How about universal childhood immunizations?  Safe drinking water all over the planet?  Universal health care?  Funding sufficient research to eradicate any number of diseases?

Instead we p*ss it all away under the guise of defense.

My previous Cost of War posts are here, here, and here.  And especially here, where I posted about Water Project.

The link to Ultrarunning is that we know, probably more than most here in the west, about the importance of safe drinking water.  Most of the rest of our citizens take it for granted that good water just plunges happily out of our taps.  We don't, based upon our experiences in the backcountry, where safe water is still a neccesity, but not a given.



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