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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Outcomes of Some Wars

Today I thought I'd give a brief summary of the results of some of the wars the US has been involved in since 1945. The format was inspired by the table in William Easterly's book.

Korean War

Main Effects: 2.5 million dead; war never officially ends; North Korea goes on to become the world's most abominable police state; South Korea turns out well.

Upshot for the US: Hyundai cars & Samsung phones

Vietnam War

Main Effects: about 5 million dead; communists win anyway; Soviet Union goes down without a fight 15 years later; China abandons most of Communism's economic policies; Vietnam still one of the world's poorest & least free countries.

Upshot for the US: Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket are both great movies.

First Iraq War

Main Effects: about 50,000 dead (figure is disputed); Saddam's regime left more or less intact; Shia uprising ruthlessly suppressed.

Upshot for the US: Americans get to feel good about winning a war again; cheaper gasoline for a few more years; Three Kings is a pretty good movie too.

Second Iraq War

Main Effects: at least 150,000 dead (mostly civillains); no WMDs found; no Al-Qaeda link; democracy getting off to a shaky start.

Upshot for the US: Economy receives boost from sales of patriotic bumper-stickers; Rush Limbaugh stops talking about Bill Clinton for a change; lots of great stock footage for the History Channel.

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