Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cost of Empire - Sword and Dollar: excerpt 7

empire has a great many overhead costs, especially military ones, that must be picked up by the people - the Vietnam War cost $168.1 billion in direct expenditures for US forces and military aid to allies in Indochina - the war's indirect costs will come to well over $350 billion (for veterans benefits and hospitals, interest on the national debt, etc.) - as the economist Victor Perlo pointed out, by the end of the war inflation had escalated from about 1 percent a year to 10 percent; the national debt had doubled over the 1964 level; the federal budget showed record deficits; unemployment had doubled; real wages had started on their longest decline in modern American history; interest rates rose to 10 percent and higher; the US export surplus gave way to an import surplus; and US gold and monetary reserves had been drained.

there were human costs; 2.5 million Americans had their lives interrupted to serve in Indochina; of these 58,156 were killed and 303,616 wounded (13,167 with a 100 percent disability); 55,000 have died since returning home because of suicides, murders, addictions, alcoholism, and accidents; 500,000 have attempted suicide since coming back to the USA - ethnic minorities paid a disproportionate cost; thus while composing about 12 percent of the US population, Blacks accounted for 22.4 percent of all combat deaths in Vietnam in 1965 - the New Mexico state legislature noted that Mexican Americans constituted only 29 percent of that state's population but 69 percent of the state's inductees and 43 percent of its Vietnam casualties in 1966.

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