Remembering the Losses of 9/11

9-11 tributeToday marks the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 when 2,977  Americans lost their lives.  As we pause to remember the tragic events of that day, and the senseless loss of life associated  with it, now may be a good time to reflect on some of the losses suffered since then that stem from our response to 9/11.

  • 2.3 million men and women served in Afghanistan and Iraq in the decade after 9/11. [1]
  • More than 50,000 service men and women have been injured while serving. [2]
  • 103,000 have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and 253,000 have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). [2]
  • Twice as many Americans died in wars in response to 9/11 than actually died on 9/11 (4,486 died in Iraq; 2,344 in Afghanistan.) [3]
  • On top of this, at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of the US invasion.  Other estimates put the figure at 500,000. [2] [4] [5]

The price paid in financial terms has also been great:

  • world trade centersThe cost of these wars is 3.3 trillion dollars and counting.  Adding future costs of treating veterans of these wars and the interest on the debt will push the cost to $4.4 trillion. [6]
  • Virtually all of these expense have been added to the national debt which will continue to impact our children and grandchildren for decades to come.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider what we might have otherwise done with these funds:

  • We could have given every single man, woman and child in the U.S. a check for $10,000.
  • We could have paid the full cost of “ObamaCare” for three decades. [7]
  • We could have paid for a four-year college degree (including tuition, room and board) for every high school graduate for the next ten years. [8]
  • Or we could have funded the federal Head Start Program for the next 434 years! [9]

Perhaps the next time we are asked to respond to a crime against our humanity by going to war we might consider whether such a response is the wisest one.

 

SOURCES:

[1] http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-veterans-numbers/story?id=14928136#1

[2] http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/security-military/us-military-casualty-statistics-costs-war-iraq-afghanistan-post-911#

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/23/world/middleeast/23casualties.html

[4] http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-do-we-ignore-the-civilians-killed-in-american-wars/2011/12/05/gIQALCO4eP_story.html

[5] http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131015-iraq-war-deaths-survey-2013/

[6] http://costsofwar.org/sites/default/files/articles/20/attachments/Costs%20of%20War%20Summary%20Crawford%20June%202014.pdf

[7] http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44176

[8] http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76

[9] https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/standards/pi/2013/resour_pri_003_042613.html

 

 

 

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