Casualties of War


Daniel M Pourkesali
by Daniel M Pourkesali

President Bush marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with a speech at the Pentagon [1] claiming that "The world is better, and the United States is safer" as result of a war that has claimed nearly 4000 American lives, wounded 30,000 [2] and cost well over $500 billion and counting.

But is the world and the United States in particular, really better off today? Well the answer depends on whom you ask. This writer makes no claims of expertise but as someone employed in the aerospace industry know that the war has been very good for the weapons and defense contractors who have seen their profits soar as a result of billions of dollars worth of military goods and equipment orders. Big money for them is in the annual Pentagon budget which rose from $294 billion in 2000 to its proposed $515 billion in 2009 [3] not including the cost of the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which are funded through separate supplemental budget requests.

The Defense Department does not keep an exact number [4] of the contractors it employs, but according to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics [5] on American Workforce the total is still considered to be a fraction of the total 150 million labor pool which is getting older, increasingly female, more white-collar and as of late more unemployed, uninsured, and less well off.

An analysis conducted by McClatchy Newspapers [6] in 2007 found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. In the meantime, the average price [7] for a gallon of gasoline has increased from $1.25 in January 2000 to $3.25 today with many analysts predicting $4.00 by early summer.

And for those lucky enough to be excluded from the 47 million medically uninsured, insurance premiums have increased [8] by $1,400 for family coverage in 2007 versus what they paid in 2000. Employment-based health insurance premiums have also increased by 100 percent, compared to cumulative inflation of 24 percent and cumulative wage growth of 21 percent during the same period.

Income gaps have reached unprecedented historic levels [9] between the richest Americans receiving the biggest tax breaks passed by this administration, and those at the middle who shoulder a larger tax burden and whose paychecks buys less and less as result of soaring health care, tuition, gas, and food prices.

So how can Mr. Bush openly defend this costly debacle as a smashing success in face of such pervasive dire outcome? The answer may come from a survey conducted by Pew Research Center [10] last week that found public awareness of the American military fatalities in Iraq has declined sharply since last August. Only 28% of those surveyed were able to approximate the correct number of Americans that have lost their lives in the Iraq war.

Sadly, the prevailing apathy toward those who govern us through fear and neglecting the idea of holding power to account as informed members of civil society has been the greatest casualty of this war.


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Daniel M. Pourkesali is an engineer with an aerospace company in Northern Virginia. He is a member of the National Iranian American Council, the Persian Gulf Organization, and Iranians for International Cooperation; and serves on the US board of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran.


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Are the fascists partying too hard?

by Q on

haven't seen any attacks yet. This is unusual.

Good stuff as always Daniel.


Thanks Daniel!

by Midwesty on

The real inconvenient truth.

Daniel M Pourkesali

Thank you for your comments.

by Daniel M Pourkesali on

Thank you for all your positive comments. Unfortunately, America today has turned into what President Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address delivered on 1/17/1961:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."… "We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

In just the opening days of the so called "shock and awe" campaign against a country that had not attacked nor posed a security threat to the United States, our military dropped over 8,700 bombs, including 3,000 missiles, and fired millions of rounds of ammunition on both military and civilian targets in Iraq – staggering numbers that have since been multiplied by many folds in the past five years much to delight of what Eisenhower first coined as the "Military Industrial Complex" but at the expense of what we once took as granted, i.e. our "liberties and democratic processes."

Continued maintenance of this "misplaced power" requires a steady and uninterrupted supply of perceived dangers both foreign and domestic. Containing the spread of communism served its purpose for decades but the collapse of the Soviet Union necessitated new sources of 'imminent dangers' which thanks to the events of 9/11/01 manifested itself in the current 'war on terror'. As one alleged enemy is eliminated it must be quickly replaced by another to keep this war making industry running like a well-greased machine. U.S. arms sales have been on a steady increase over the last few years. According to this report [1] published in Nov '06, $21 billion in foreign sales agreements were signed from September 2005 to September 2006 up from $14 billion the year before.

Six of the top 10 major recipients of U.S. weapons systems are from the Middle East: Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE which have to be constantly reminded of the menace their 'dangerous' neighbor Iran poses in order to secure steady transfer of these armaments. Of course arming of such unstable regimes with these sophisticated weapons is then successfully used as an excuse for producing the next generation of even more expensive weapons. And so the vicious cycle continues.

The only known danger to the survival of this beast is ‘an alert and knowledgeable citizenry’ which is why billions of dollars are spent on preventing it through efficient and careful use of the media; subject of whole other analysis [2] that you may find of interest.

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Thank You Daniel

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

very informative.



by Mehdi on

This article could also be titled "Profiteers of War." It is amazing how you never see this type of information in the mainstream media. I think this brief article is enough to make it clear that Bush and his gang have no interest in bringing about democracy in any place in the world. That would be TERRIBLE for their business. Imagine peace in the Middle East? You know how much money these guys will lose? This article explains quite well why the western imperialist NEEDS regimes like IRI, Saddam, etc and why they "brew" such regimes years in advance. It explains why the imperialist (elite few) desparately NEEDS Al-Qaeda and terrorism; why they need to secretly fund and support characters such as Bin Laden! It explains why they need the Palestine/Israel conflict to go on for another 200 years or more. It is all good for business! These conflicts and violence around the world is NOT human nature (as our dear psychologists/priests want us to believe) - it is only the nature of a select few who crave power and control (the same people that the psychologist and the priest work for)! Imagine what would happen to the world if such figures were correctly identified and isolated from positions of power!