Sunday, July 6, 2014

War Costs

In World War I. Since this year is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, it will certainly be repeated throughout the year that about 120,00 U.S. soldiers died in the conflict. Although true, that is not the whole story. From Thomas Fleming’s The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I (p. 307) we read:
The Americans had been in combat two hundred days—approximately six months. In that time, 50,300 doughboys were killed. Another 198,059 Americans were wounded in action. Another 62,668 died of disease—an appalling 38,815 of these in training camps in the United States. Another 4,503 were killed in accidents. Almost 1,000 committed suicide. Adding in minor causes, the total deaths were 120,139. In 1930, the Veterans Bureau estimated that war-related diseases, wounds and other kinds of trauma inflicted on the Western Front had raised the total cost to 460,000 deaths. Men disabled by gas attacks were particularly prone to die young. More than 41,000 doughboys were shell-shock victims, listed as pyschiatrically disabled. Many of these men were hospitalized for the rest of their lives.
But even if “only” 120,000 American soldiers died in World War I, that is still too many. In fact, even if just one American soldier died in World War I, that is one too many. The United States needed a foreign policy of nonintervention then and needs a foreign policy of nonintervention now. The best policy to save our young men: noninterventionism.

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