Costs of war

Amid the recent spate of numbers being thrown around (a few hundred million dollars for these weapons, forty billion dollars for some more stuff), I was casting around for “how to put these numbers into perspective“.

I found this great article, from the Project on Government Oversight, that covered a lot of bases, and led me to look for more.

This is the first resource, from the Pentagon itself.

This is pretty terrible in itself; if you multiply the two numbers on the bottom line, the DoD estimate comes to $1,497,006,000,000, which is a large amount of money.

This is the second resource, which indicates that the DoD estimate is about a third of the total cost.

Additional factors include the interest on the money borrowed, and veteran care, and bring it to 6.4 trillion over 19 years.

Even if we take the “lower” estimate of $5.4 trillion, it’s still hard to viscerally make sense of it.

One way is to divide it by the number of days: 19 * 365 = 6935.

$5.4T / 6935d = $778.659M/d

Let’s be generous and round down.

The “burn rate” comes to $750 Million dollars, every single day.

Now that’s a lot of money.

As a fun (well, darkly fun) aside, you probably can’t even burn money that fast.

  • Caveat #1: literally burning money is illegal, don’t try this.
  • Caveat #2: there is a way of destroying large amounts of cash, but only the Fed gets to do it, by shredding it (Again, not as fast as $750M a day)

This does make for a good unit of comparison (“DWOTS”, or “Daily War On Terror Spend“).

Here are some things worth “1 DWOTS”:

Deus Ex McKenna

I was going to make a short comment about liking some specific video, then thought I should provide context, then realized that I have … no real way to start because there was too much to say, and if I started in the wrong place it wouldn’t be worth it, and it’s best not to say anything.

Anyway, I will try to write more on this somehow, some day, but for now I’ll just say (this part almost rhymed) that some of the most intriguing, bewildering, lulling, awakening, and funny material I’ve ever heard is by Terence McKenna.

Yes, like many people I like to read or hear, he’s dead.

(the title shamelessly stolen from one of the few YouTube channels featuring old content by him)