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The Cost of Israel And US Wars

By Gideon Polya

21 July, 2005

Notwithstanding the 1967 Israeli attack on the defenceless USS Liberty (34 deaths out of 206 US casualties), the US has continued to bank-roll Israel and the illegal Israeli occupation of Arab lands. Further, US support for Israel is intimately connected with the continuing US War on Muslims from Africa to Afghanistan. What has been the financial and human cost of Israel and US wars over the last half century?

For a detailed and carefully documented account of (a) the economic cost to the US and (b) the human cost of illegal war and occupation in the Israel-Occupied Palestinian Territories and the US-Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories see "The Economic and Human Cost of Israel & US Empire" in Media Monitors Network (see:

Below are some key statistics of importance for decent folk who believe in the Jeffersonian principles of the American Declaration of Independence, namely the equality of all men and their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Estimates of the cost of US support for Israel range from $200 billion (simple monetary value plus interest, 1949-2005) to $2,600 billion (total actual economic cost to the US, 1956-2002).

The post-1967 avoidable mortality (excess mortality) and under-5 infant mortality in the Occupied Palestine Territories have been about 320,000 and 170,000, respectively. The post-1950 avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality in Israel's neighbours have totalled 24 million and 17 million, respectively. The post-1950 avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality in countries Israel has attacked militarily have totalled 43 million and 29 million, respectively. Israel's complicity in this carnage is clear but the actual extent of its responsibility is debatable.

In the post-war era the US has economically and militarily dominated the people and resource utilization of the World and is accordingly complicit in the associated horrendous global avoidable mortality (currently about 20 million per year). The post-1950 avoidable mortality (excess mortality) has been 1.3 billion (for the World), 1.2 billion (for the non-European World) and 0.6 billion (for the Muslim World) - however the actual extent of US responsibility is debatable.

Direct US responsibility for mass avoidable mortality is clearer in countries devastated by US militarism. Thus the post-1950 avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality have been 8.0 million and 4.6 million, respectively (for Korea) and 32.5 million and 13.4 million, respectively (for Indo-China) (noting that excess mortality does not cease when occupying forces leave a devastated country). In comparison the enemy (Axis) civilian and military casualties of World War 2 totalled 11 million out of a total death toll in all theatres of 55-75 million.

The simple monetary cost (without including interest and other economic cost components) has been $350 billion (for the Korean War), $800 billion (Vietnam War), $80 billion (Gulf War, 1991), $38 billion (War in Afghanistan, 2001-2005) and $179 billion (Iraq War, 2003-2005). The ultimate cost to the US of the Iraq War may eventually exceed $1,600 billion.

The avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality have been 1.3 million and 0.9 million, respectively (for the Gulf War and Sanctions War against Iraq, 1991-2003), 6.5 million and 4.9 million (US-backed civil war and war against Soviet occupation in Afghanistan, 1979-2001), 1.5 million and 1.2 million (US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, 2001-2005) and 0.4 million and 0.3 million (US invasion and occupation of Iraq (2003-2005).

Western civilian deaths from jihadists and Muslim insurgents have totalled about 5,000 (1980-2005). US military deaths have totalled about 295,000 (World War 2), 33,651 (Korean War), 47,369 (Vietnam War), 148 (the Gulf War, 1991), 208 (invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, 2001-2005), 1,745 (invasion and occupation of Iraq, 2003-2005) and 1,953 (for the invasions and occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-2005).

"Death ratios" of "enemy civilian and military deaths" to "US military deaths" have been 37 (World War 2) (as compared to a "total enemy deaths" to "total Allied military deaths" ratio of 0.6, largely due to 13.6 million Red Army deaths), 238 (Korean War), 686 (Vietnam War), 8,783 (Gulf War and Sanctions War against Iraq), 7212 (Afghanistan War), 229 (Iraq War) and 973 (US invasions and occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan).

The World War 2 "death ratio" of "murdered Jewish children" to "total Axis military deaths" was 0.3. In comparison, the "death ratios" for "Asian enemy under-5 infant deaths" to "US military deaths" have been 137 (Korean War), 283 (Vietnam War), 6,081 (Gulf War and Sanctions War against Iraq), 5,769 (Afghanistan War), 172 (Iraq War) and 768 (US invasions and occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan).

Of course respect for Mother and Child is a fundamental tenet of decent human societies and accordingly the horrendous toll of infant lives in Asian countries devastated by the US War Machine is an obscene blot on humanity. According to the latest United Nations Childrens' Fund (UNICEF) report (2005), in 2003 the under-5 infant mortality was 110,000 in Iraq and 292,000 in Afghanistan as compared to 1,000 in the invading and occupying US Coalition country, Australia (noting that in 2003 these countries had populations of about 25, 24 and 20 million, respectively). Non-provision by the US Coalition of life-sustaining requisites in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories is killing 400,000 infants annually, corresponding to over 1,000 avoidable infant deaths DAILY.

"High tech" war minimizes politically-unpopular military deaths but causes horrendous civilian casualties (mostly indirectly through societal disruption and infrastructure destruction). The appalling "enemy infant"/"US military" death ratios over the last half century derive from US developments in long-range weaponry, better medical technology for wounded soldiers and in brainwashing of US soldiers to make them more reliable killers. "High tech" war is also immensely profitable - thus the post-9/11 EXTRA profit for the US military-industrial complex has been about $500 billion so far in the Administration-foreshadowed "endless War on Terror".

The mass murder of Muslim kids by the US Administration is occurring for reasons of global resource hegemony, selective corporate benefit (notably for the US arms, construction and oil industries) and for preservation of domestic votes. Peace is the only way - but we are obliged to inform everyone about gross abuse of humanity.

Dr Gideon Polya
29 Dwyer Street, Macleod, Melbourne, Victoria, 3085, Australia
Day & night telephone: +61 3 9459 3649
Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality - numerous articles on this matter can be found by a simple Google search for "Gideon Polya" and on his website:











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