Granted, World Wars I and II, and the Korean Conflict were unavoidable, and it could be argued that the War in Afghanistan was justified. However, we did not need to send American troops to Vietnam or Iraq and both of these wars were based on lies.
One reason for these needless wars may be linked to corporate profits while keeping unemployment down.
The Great Depression originated in the U.S. and had its start around September 4, 1929 and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday).
The Great Depression devastated countries around the globe. In the United States, industrial production dropped by 46%; foreign trade dropped 70% and unemployment reached 25%—in some countries it was as high as 33%.
The wartime economic boom during World War II caused a dramatic increase in employment, which paralleled the expansion of industrial production. In 1944, unemployment dipped to 1.2 percent of the civilian labor force, a record low in American economic history.
In 1954, after the Korean Conflict unemployment in the United States went up to about 6%. Then the economy turned down in the summer of 1957 and reached a low point in the spring of 1958. Industrial production fell 14%, corporate profits dropped 25% and unemployment reached 7.5%
The US needed another war to stimulate the economy. The US had already unofficially been in Vietnam since 1953 and in 1964 the war became official with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
In 1960, unemployment in the US was 6.1%, but by 1964, unemployment dropped to 4.8% and then 3.4% by 1968. However, a year after the Vietnam War, unemployment was up again to 7.2%—a 212% increase since 1968.
It is now obvious that war is another option to keep Americans employed. Since the end of the Korean Conflict in 1953, the United States has been involved in thirty-two wars/conflicts. Source: List of wars involving the United States
I started to add up all the months and years US troops have been fighting somewhere in the world since 1953 and gave up—just Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (three of the thirty-two conflicts) add up to more than forty years of combat.
In fact, before World War II, the allocation of resources to military purposes was typically no more than 1 percent of GNP, except during actual warfare, which occurred infrequently. Wartime and peacetime were distinct, and during peacetime—that is, almost all the time—the societal opportunity cost of “guns” was nearly nil.
However, following the Korean Conflict, military purchases reached an unprecedented level for “peacetime” and, despite some fluctuations, remained at or above this elevated level permanently. During 1948-86, military purchases cumulated to $6.316 Trillion, averaging about $162 billion per year, or 7.6 percent of GNP. Source: Cato Institute
In conclusion, after the Korean Conflict, the US capitalist consumer economy added war to its financial formula, and the price has been decades of spilled blood all over the world. The last question is, “Who benefits the most?”
Return to The The Blood Price – Part 3 or start with Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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