What if the Wars Ended Right Now?

How much money goes toward the wars?

How many people are employed because of the wars?

What would be done with all that money and manpower instead?


47 thoughts on “What if the Wars Ended Right Now?

  1. Sarah Gibson

    Could your tax dollars be better spent?

    IN the State of Texas alone Taxpayers will pay $56.2 billion for total Iraq war spending since 2003.

    For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

    12,831,715 People with Health Care for One Year OR

    42,791,948 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR

    1,301,473 Public Safety Officers for One year OR

    986,458 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR

    7,364,496 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR

    10,503,011 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5350 OR

    669,914 Affordable Housing Units OR

    24,134,171 Children with Health Care for One Year OR

    8,054,918 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR

    1,053,748 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR

    903,031 Port Container Inspectors for One year

    So if the war ended right now, we could provide a lot more money for the people in the United States

  2. Shaun Jackson

    I dont disagree that there is a lot of money funding the war but what happens to the private companies that are in that area of the world that are helping the United States economy grow and the soliders? Soliders fight and they earn a paycheck doing it and when they come back they will be unemployed. Right now I understand that the United states has a very limited number of jobs and our finances are in a ruin, but if all these soliders come home we will end up with trying to supply a large group of unemployed veterans and that will also suck tons of money from us. All the factories producing weapons will also decrease production and some will shut down and there will be even more peolpe unemployed and we will also have to support them too. and there are also private companies doing business there because they have the United States military trying to stop the terrorists and the are not only helping us they are helping the worlds economy and if they are destroyed or they leave because the military left and the workers that came from the companies come back to the United States there are even more people unemployed. we will also spend for them too. There are more things that I could list but my hands are shaking and a headache is coming thinking about it but is it really cost effective to stop the war or is more effective to keep it going??????

  3. David Truong

    This is a little thing I heard on Boston Legal.

    As of the end of 2007, Over $450 Billion had been spent on the Iraq War, over $650 Billion if the Afghanistan invasion was added in to that amount. If indirect costs are added in, then over $2 trillion has been spent.

    The $450 billion could have been…

    -Free health insureance for every uninsured family in America ($124 billion)

    -For $68 billion, we could convert every single car to run on ethanol

    -Primary education for every single child on the planet, every single one of them, would cost $30 Billion

    -And for $7 billion, we could end hunger in America.

    All that adds up to $229 billion, a little more than half the cost of the Iraq War.
    Makes you wonder hmm?

    Disclaimer: I don’t know if these are the exact numbers or not and whether or not Boston Legal is trustworthy but it works for me and the numbers make a point. Credits to Alan Shore and that is just my paraphrased version not the exact words he spoke.

  4. Paige Lee

    From http://costofwar.com/ the amount spent on wars since 2001 is quickly approaching 100,000,000,000, and rising. While war employs many people, it is also apparent by looking at the major role war debts play in our total national debt on the Debt Clock, that there are better things that money could be spent on. The issue of health care for example, of which proposed plans will plunge us deeper into debt. As the government borrows more and more from other countries for the seemingly endless and unethical use in war, it is obvious that this money could be put to more vital problems.

  5. Kaitlin Foster

    Alright, so this isn’t from a website or anything, it’s just some questions I asked myself. If we weren’t at war, could some of those soldiers be training for other purposes? I understand that some soldiers would have to find work, but the U.S. still needs trained and available armed forces, right?

    Also, people in the U.S. who have jobs other than the armed forces are still being called to other countries. For example, my dad works with a lady who lives in Pennsylvania. She was called a couple weeks ago to Iraq for the reserves, and isn’t currently employed at her previous job. Because she’s going for the sake of her country, the business has to hold her job for when she comes back, and more work is put on them. It’s as if everything would be more lax if she wasn’t there.

    Would we have more money to go towards technology improvement? The money we have already spent could have easily gone towards the environment, healthcare, and energy, and it could actually go towards solving our own problems going on in the U.S..

  6. James Aiuvalasit

    Here’s something interesting from the Department of Defense – http://www.defenselink.mil/Contracts/index.aspx

    While it could be argued that some contracts might not count as money going to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the contracts definitely support the US Military.

    Here’s one of the DoD’s current publications showing their economic performance in 07 and 08 – http://www.defenselink.mil/comptroller/docs/citizensreport.pdf

    “…The Department’s net cost of operations during FY 2008 totaled
    $676.0 billion.”

    That’s a lot of money.


    A large number of civilians have been employed in the Department of Defense due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are even civilians employed in the Military branches themselves, like the Army Civilian Corps, Civilian Marines, and the US Merchant Marine (Auxiliary) and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. (Auxiliary groups are not a part of the military, but work in tandem with the military, in this case the Navy and Coast Guard)

    There are also private civilian contractors that have been hired to perform secondary and rear area duties in many locations across the world besides Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “…Today, the U.S. military relies on Civilian Contractors to maintain 28% of its weapon systems. Ideally, they would like to use contractors to maintain 50%. Military contracting today appears to be a real growth industry, particularly for those with the skills necessary to work with the US Military. R&R is more likely to be in Dubai or Bangkok (like their Vietnam Civilian Contractor predecessors) and salaries are sky-high. Special-forces-trained Security Operators make over a thousand dollars a day; more than ten times the wage of enlisted equivalents; but even a Bus Driver makes eighty thousand dollars a year tax-free, and companies are starting to offer juicy incentives like profit sharing.
    Whatever else can be said, this much is true: as long as the US military has bases overseas or are involved in peacekeeping with the UN, Companies will always be hungry for qualified workers, and the workers will always be hungry for the high paying jobs and adventure that can only be found working as an International Civilian Contractor.”


    Many of these Civilian Contractors are former military personnel.
    According to a CNN article “… the U.S. military today is beefed up by a force of nearly a quarter million private contractors. There are even cases where contractors oversee the contractors.”


    Regardless of what these civilians are doing, there are tons of them working for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other countries, and our own.

    (I hope all my links work)

  7. Matthew Wong

    The cost of the war on terror in 2006 (by msn) says that it could surpass about 1 trillion. Each day, as the war progresses, there is about an increase of $200 million each day. The “war on terrorism” has become a “war of terrorism” for our economy. The employment because of the war is pretty much people working for the war, like soliders, and officers, and the people that are making weapons for the wartime productions. If the war was stopped, there would be a loss of jobs for the wartime productioneers, but more money for ourselves. We are making increasing our debt each day by getting into the war, and not successful at getting out of it. We could use the money for other things, such as paying off the debt, but the interest could be an issue if we do not have enough money to pay it off. We would be borrowing others’ money to pay it off, and that would just create new debt. A country could be ruined if they didnt have enough money to pay back what they dont have….. like the current Afghanistan and Somalia.

  8. Ali Aenehzodaee

    Historically the US does not have a good reputation of taking care of veterans after conflicts. This is most likely going to be the case after the current mid-east conflicts. It’s reasonable to say that if our economy does not grow they will be unemployed (or at least whatever that third category is), but even so, will this damage be greater than or less than the damage of federal spending for the war?

    “Savings in Iraq will also be dampened by Afghanistan, where the plan calls for a more modest troop increase, but where the primitive transportation system can make logistics more expensive. Even if many of the Iraq war’s costs simply vanished, analysts say those savings would be too small and come too late to jolt the economy out of the crisis, though they could reduce the deficit long term, allowing a recovery to take firmer hold.”

    Either way it will be difficult at least for the next couple of years (assuming Obama sticks to his plan of withdrawal by 2011).

    As far as manpower and income go, maybe vets will find something in the private sector that will invest money back into the economy through spending.

  9. deanwebb Post author

    Great points from everyone and I really enjoyed the links – they worked. 🙂

    As for what happens when all the veterans come home to an economy that’s bad or worse, look at Russia after it left Afghanistan. The military there moved into politics and the former soldiers supported that move in the hopes that they’d be first in line for the crumbs falling off the government table.

  10. Hugo Espiritu

    The I see it we obviously need a defense program. If we used all the money spent on national security then we would be vulnerable to anything, and that would be asking for it. But what Mr. Webb said in class today got me thinking about how the money set aside for protecting the nation is used. The exact details about the way those funds are being used aren’t publicly disclosed which allows the people in charge of that money to use it however they want. I say the only way to make sure you get your say on how the money is spent is by putting the right people in charge with your vote.

  11. Nikkiah Guerra

    What if war could end now? Would there be peace on earth and all the economic problems disappear?
    At this website I shows the total cost of war since 2001. http://www.ask.com/bar?q=how+are+tax+dollars+spent+in+war&page=1&qsrc=0&ab=0&u=http%3A%2F%2Fcostofwar.com%2F
    The cost is over nine hundred and three million and climbing by the second, much like the national debt. When will America see these numbers decrease, or better yet will we ever see a decline. Will we become like Zimbabwe and cancel our currency? I believe our generation is to become the last of our time. We have seen America go from a booming, mass producing, much admired country to a falling economy, much unappreciated, untrustworthy place in less than fifty years.

    Taxpayers in Texas will pay $74.2 billion for total Iraq & Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

    16,946,456 People with Health Care for One Year OR
    56,514,024 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
    1,718,816 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
    1,302,785 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
    9,726,066 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
    13,871,007 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5350 OR
    884,734 Affordable Housing Units OR
    31,873,266 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
    10,637,885 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
    1,391,653 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
    1,192,606 Port Container Inspectors for One year

    I say end the war, but with it let’s stop America’s faults and turn this country to its glorious state.

  12. Diane Stout

    I’m not saying I’m for the war, but what about all those who’s work is connected to the war? What happens to them? Do they simplly pick up a new job? Not in this economy, so then, how would those millions find new jobs? Because if you think about millions are employed because of the war. Soldiers, nurses, doctors, contractors, government workers,….

  13. Katie Wilson

    I could be wrong, but I was thinking if we did end the war, wouldn’t the money we would save eventually help the veterans? Surely that money would help lessen our debt, which would help make our economy better, which would create more jobs, and those jobs, in turn, could be filled by veterans? I know ending the war wouldn’t completely end our debt, but maybe it would be just one step towards making our economy better…

  14. Emiliy Sprunck

    ok, this may be kinda out there, but what instead of completely ending the war, we just re focused it? There are still plenty of other places that the US could help…. like LRA and stuff. (ha! I posted finally!)

  15. Chanel Wan

    I agree with Sprunck on this, if we re focused on the true reasons as to why we are even at war, then maybe we will be able to actually learn from what is going on. We would become a lot more efficient if the reason was clearly stated instead of being plastered all round looking like mud has attacked.

    Yes the war has helped our country with creating jobs, yet it has also put our country into hardship and nearly crashing all of our funds as well. The war is a Catch 22 in this case.

  16. Harrison Thomas

    Throughout the twentieth and twenty first centuries, millions of Americans have been employed by “war” industries. Completely eliminating the need for these industries would not only put countless Americans out of a job, it would also hamper the technological progression of the country. Let us not forget that modern conveniences such as the cell phone and computer were developed thanks to advancements made by these industries.

  17. deanwebb Post author

    Question, though… even though the military-industrial complex is a huge driver of the US economy, is it an efficient sector? Could we do better with those resources?

    But then, are we addicted to war? CAN the US afford to stop fighting? I have a book on this, if anyone’s interested…

  18. Emily S.

    Still, I think there should be some middle ground, It seems like completly quitting the war would wreck our economy, but at the same time, staying in it isn’t exactly working out so good either. Why cant we just transfer to protecting and improving America internally? That way we could still keep people working.

  19. Katie Wilson

    I agree with Sprunck too. There are so many countries in need in the world. Maybe instead of wrecking peoples lives, we should send the army to help out. We could actually fight a war on terror instead of just saying we are…

  20. Shaun Jackson

    If there is a middle ground will it be cost effective? It is the military’s job to fight they are not really meant to be a humanitarian organization 100% of the time.

  21. Shaun Jackson

    If there is a middle ground will it be cost effective? It is the military’s job to fight they are not really meant to be a humanitarian organization 100% of the time. There are already organizations for that.

    This is weird, our military stands for humanity while they were meant to fight and destroy for the intrest of ONLY the United States.

    I think George Washington meant something when he said NOT to meddle with other countries affairs and NOT to make permanent alliances. (please excuse my spelling if anything is spelled wrong)

  22. Emily S.

    Still it just seems like an easy way to fix things, hey army, instead of tearing up the middle east, go do something productive like policing human trafficing or something. wouldn’t everone win that way?

  23. Shaun Jackson

    If we did that we would have to reorganize how the military runs and how it thinks. That will also cost money that we don’t have. We will also have to redeploy troops and that also costs money. So we still spend a wad of cash no matter where we go and it will not really help everyone because we still end up losing cash in the end. and the criminals always find a way to sneak by us because there are never enough to stop them all. It will be too much trouble than its worth. I’m not saying human lives are not worth saving from cruel fates it just that it might be just as expensive as the Middle East.

    Emily if you can find other info to see if what you suggested is less expensive, could you inform me?

  24. deanwebb Post author

    It’s true… our military is designed to blow things up, not put them back together. It’s also true that we don’t have the money to take on other missions, but that’s because we don’t have the money for this one.

    Historically, Afghanistan is the high water mark for any empire. They hit Afghanistan and then fall apart.

    We moved into Afghanistan to secure Central Asian energy supplies: they are not secure, 8 years on. The Chinese and Russians are still competing for them quite effectively. Karzai’s government is crooked, and if we pull out, the only big change we’ll leave behind is a legacy of having allowed Afghanistan to become the supplier of 90% plus of the world’s opium and heroin.

    Pulling out may be terrible for our economy, but do we really have a right as a nation to inflict war upon another nation for our economic ends?

  25. Hugo Espiritu

    I think that it might be a good idea to use the money that is spend on wars to create programs that help prevent war. Basically the point of a military and defense program is to insure the safety of its nation no matter how ill-used those resources are. Programs that would spend on defensive equipment and technology that make a nation safe by securing the homeland to any outside attacks instead of soldiers and arms to police the rest of the world would be better use of resources.

  26. Emily S.

    If we are loosing so much money in the war, then it would make sense to pull out and refocus else where. Yah, it might take a bunch of money to start new programs, but won’t increased government spending stimulate the economy?

  27. David Liou

    If you consider the political aspects of the decision; if the US pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq now, after 8 and 6 years respectively, without accomplishing much positive goal, the US would be the laughing stock of the world, and reputation is not something you can buy with money,

  28. Chanel Wan

    The United States is already the laughing stock of the world, not just because of the war but because we are just so damn wasteful. Like we like to go into places that “need” our help but instead it just causes havoc hence the war.

    The U.S needs war, if you look into history like the only reason as to why we got out of the great depression was due to the World War 2. Vietnam helped the economy, World War 1 helped us go through the roaring 20s, we need war to succeed.

  29. Katie Wilson

    War may be necessary for our economy, but that still doesn’t make it right. I just wish there was something else we could be doing with our soldiers and weapons that would actually be good for us AND someone else, or even just good for us without hurting someone else…

  30. David Liou

    Also this time instead of war getting us out of depression. We were already at war with two countries when the recession hit. Now that the economy has shifted to one the focuses much less on manufacturing, having a war may not have as much if at all impact on the sluggish economy.

    We should just cut down on our military, and stop meddling in other countries affairs. The military is wasting a big chunk of the US budget to expensive maintenance and slowing R&D. We should solve our domestic problems before venturing into international affairs.

  31. deanwebb Post author

    I don’t think the wars will end: new question, what if we faced a limited nuclear exchange after an extended conventional war?

  32. Katie Wilson

    Uhh… that would be bad?!?
    Are you referring to the war that we’re likely to have with Iran pretty soon? Or am I just being stupid…?

  33. David Liou

    I don’t think a nuclear exchange would be limited, because the countries involved would just keep on retaliating the other(s)’ strikes. If we had anything left after the nuclear strikes, then we would probably enter a massive rebuilding and clean up phase, stimulating a severely crippled economy by providing jobs. But then rebuilding may not be our problem anymore because we could be invaded by a third party country.

    The novel Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBios is based on the aftermath of a nuclear war.

  34. Harrison Thomas

    I believe any nuclear exchange would lead to a considerable amount of protest, and the public outcry worldwide would probably be so great that it would force some form of disarmament, at least as far as nuclear weapons are concerned.

    Oh and I wouldn’t go as far as calling the United States the laughing stock of the world. Gaddafi put on one heck of a show at the U.N. last week…

  35. Chanel Wan

    I personally don’t think that we would have a nuclear war any time soon because as humans we are too greedy to die right now. I think we would prolong all of the disturbing things going on in the world and if it was the last resort then maybe and only maybe would we go to war. Nuclear war would devastate the world and there are too many environmentalist in the world for the leaders to get way with even thinking of doing anything that horrific to the world. The amount of trauma that would be created if the world went into nuclear war would create havoc and it wouldn’t be pretty or wanted.

  36. Katie Wilson

    If we did start a nuclear war, we would probably be starting World War III… but I agree with Chanel, I doubt we’ll have a full-out nuclear war. Maybe another cold war, but people are too scared of what happened with Hiroshima and Nagasaki to actually have a nuclear war. And seeing as how there are enough nuclear weapons in the world to completely destroy everything several times over, we’d all be screwed if there was a nuclear war…

  37. David Liou

    “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” — Albert Einstein

    With so many countries having nuclear weapons now, and possibly some on the black market. Anything can happen. I agree with Chanel that people are greedy, but they want to ‘win’ at all cost even if deaths are involved, and despite all evidence pointing to doom for all.

  38. Hugo Espiritu

    I agree with David that anything can happen, especially with crazy people heading nations that have nuclear weapons. Anything can set them off and begin the end of the world.

  39. chanel wan

    The way that Obama is fickle with decisions can also set these psycho leaders off to prove a point that the United States isn’t as great as everyone thinks we are.

    We as a world are too egotistic to “lose” even if it will save man kind.

  40. deanwebb Post author

    Well, the wars *aren’t* ending right now. Spending for Afghanistan will likely increase and even though we’re desperately trying to find a way to keep from having to put ground forces into Iran, I think we’re getting closer to that eventuality.

    Ironically, we need a strong Russia to keep an embargo against Iran. If Russia has a power crisis – and there’s a possibility of one in the works – players in that crisis would definitely try to raise funds by shipping gasoline to Iran, destroying the embargo.

    If the embargo fails, there are voices in Israel to act unilaterally and then hopefully draw in the USA into an Iranian conflict. If we refuse, Israel is preparing now to go it alone.

  41. Kevin Shane

    No one likes war. Of course the money we spend on war could be spent on nicer things but the point is Saddam Hussein was a terrible person. Osama bin Laden and everyone behind September 11th are terrible people.

    Even if there is no pragmatic reason for the United States to go after these people, even if the “numbers don’t crunch”, I would go crazy if there was no sense of justice in the world(see Roman Polanski)

  42. chanel wan

    Yeah Hussein was a bad guy, he is dead, bin laden, a horrible guy yeah and the Taliban, but we aren’t truly in war just because they hit the twin towers. That was just a reason as to why we could even start these wars against weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. It was to gain the political power and land that was rich in oil. Sure the bad people in the world do need to be set up and be put away but everyone would be put way that has ran our country or any country if you come down to it. Someone has killed or has ordered someone to kill another country or set army up in another country.

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