Infographic: Visualizing The True Cost Of War

Tyler Durden's picture

While we have shown some quite fascinating infographics (here and here) from the folks at Demonocracy, this one may be the most informative. Because while everyone knows by now that if the global "bailout" to preserve the insolvent ponzi were to be paid in crisp, physical $100 bills, the amount of money required would fill countless skyscrapers, and only pales compared to the the amount of money needed to fund the insolvent welfare state which at last check was at over a quarter of a quadrillion, it is another less appreciated aspect of the daily US spending routine that is arguably just as big an offender when it comes to endless wanton spending: the cost of war. Below we present just that, in a series of simple, easy to understand charts that even Nobel peace prize winners should grasp.

The true cost of war:

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jayman21's picture

I just read some of the comments attached to this graphic on the other website.  If you have been a ZHer for awhile, you will realize what a gift the ZH website/comments are to the 12% who actually have a critical thought process.  The last Ron Paul Poll I saw, had him at 12%, so I will just extrapolate against my better judgement.  I hope the rest of the people wake up sometime this year, but I do not have much faith after reading the comments.  Yahoo is not much better, but then again, I go there for entertainment, not to be challenged.


I wonder with amazement....How does it not bother most people that they are being stolen from.  The Fed - devalues the dollar and if you have savings it is worth less.  Capital gain bought something 10 years ago for $100,000 and now you sell it for $200,000.  You made $100,000 and you are taxed on $100,000.  If you know the rule of 7, you broke even and paid the government principal not a capital gain if you adjust for inflation.  F%$# you Buffet for the new capital gain tax ideas you dirty silver manipulating a&^hole.  Have you not messed with the rest of us enough?  I know, you will get away with it.  Just read the darn comments on the other websites.


My question to fellow ZHers?  What is it going to take to wake everyone up?  Any historical event that can give us some guidance?  Or, it just does not happen and we have these ups and downs due to the fluctuation of the 12%.  I was not a member of the 12% until sometime in 2008.  It took a punch in the stomach after reading conquer the crash and the black swan.  Yes, I do believe the 12% move up and down.

malek's picture

And what exactly should keep me from writing in Ron Paul's name myself? (Plus any VP that comes to my mind.)

kito's picture

well, it a good thing all of that sacrifice was for "freedom and democracy" around the world..............

HungrySeagull's picture

Hate to see the WW2 version adjusted for time difference.

Tree of Liberty needs watering with blood of Patriots.

Our Military volunteers everything, anything and sometimes requires life to be lost so that others may live.

cranky-old-geezer's picture



Our Military volunteers everything, anything and sometimes requires life to be lost so that others may live.

That may have been true in WWII, but every "war" since then has been about containing / controlling fake enemies, not real enemies, the present "war on terror" being the best example.

On top of that, most of American's military imperialism these days is about forcing oil exporting nations to price their oil in US dollars, and Iran would be the next petrodollar war.

So no, it's no longer about freedom and liberty, and soldiers aren't dying so others may live in a free society.

On top of that, most people in the military these days are there as a job / career choice, not to defend freedom and liberty, which is rapidly eroding here in America while they're in some other nation protecting the petrodollar (and other banker interests).

...which makes them mercenaries in every sense of the word.

spankfish's picture

Cranky, I live near the logic free zone.  In my spare time I do research for several people at the National Archives in Prince Georges County.  The reasearch is all WW II, mainly Uboot, and what the Reich was doing in Latin America.  Let me just say this, none of us know anything about WW II unless you spend time in the archives reading.  My research just on the above listed subjects gives new credence to the book "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong".  I won't go into detail, but when I tell people of my findings they first deny and tell me I'm a nut job... then I show them the copies and scans with the National Archive seal.  then I get a WTF look of amazement.  

Oh, and I spend time talking to WW II vets... first person history is chilling.  My uncle, god rest his soul, was D-day +2.  He did not talk much about the war.  Most I got from my dad.  WW II is not what we think.


moondog's picture

Don't be a such a tease. Share with us some of the more shocking details. History is much more interesting than corporate media BS.

lolmao500's picture

Sorry but that's not the true cost of war.

The true cost of war is uncalculable in human lives, sadness, mental health, DU rising cancer rates by thousands of percents... it touches tens of millions and will continue to do so for million of years (DU).

The scum starting these wars should be the ones having their limbs cut off and the ones breathing DU and the ones going bankrupt and the ones seeing the people they love blown apart.

Whoever starts a war DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK WAR IS.

LetThemEatRand's picture

They know, but they just don't care.  Your life and health and well being is not relevant to them.   They do not have empathy and they consider those who do to be weak.  If they can make five bucks cutting off your arm and then throwing you in a for-profit prison for bleeding on the sidewalk, they will do so and sleep soundly at night.

economics1996's picture

When the economy is totally fucked war is how the elites drain the last bit of wealth owned by the peasants and transfer that wealth into the hands of government and the elites.  

LetThemEatRand's picture

When the economy is totally fucked war is how it became totally fucked and the peasants get to fight it for the elites.  The government is co-opted by the elites, and then complete clowns like you advocate for the elimination of government so as to cut out the middle man.  Ask history how many pure free market economies existed versus how many Kingdoms, Fiefdoms, Dictatorships, etc existed since the dawn of civilization.  We The People can do better than your vision of a white boxer kicking everyone's ass.

economics1996's picture

USA 1791-1935.  Hong Kong 1946-97.  Capitalist, free, limited government examples.  Capitalism produces wealth.  Government steals wealth.  Government produces nothing.  Just a fact of life.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Government produces nothing.  Just a fact of life."

Roads (e.g., the interstate highway system, great for commerce);

Schools (literate people, great for a productive work force);

Nuclear Power (Manhattan project -  ask GE and many other private companies how much money they made off this shit that was realized through public dollars);

Rockets (space program, man on the moon, Tang, etc);

The Internet (which was not invented by Gore, but which was invented and created and made possible in public universities);

Every cool weapons system (ever see Top Gun?) that you think makes your penis larger and which was funded by public money....

I could go on.   But go to the next Sarah Palin party and she'll reassure you that you are right despite all facts to the contrary.




Oracle of Kypseli's picture

They do it all with American taxpayer money and not efficiently, I may add. No altruism in any government actions.


LetThemEatRand's picture

Seriously?  We've gone from "government does nothing" to "government is productive but inefficient" in two fucking blog entries?

You people are pathetic.  Really.  Tell me about the efficient private interstate highway system.

Tell me about the efficient private funder of fucking aircraft carriers that you fucks love so much.

Tell me about the efficient private funder of the space program.

Max Fischer's picture



Arguing with goofball right-wingers is endlessly entertaining, isn't it?  

Especially when you find some whacked-out libertarians or Tea Party super-freaks...  the Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Ron/Rand Paul, Glenn Beck crowd.   It's like a study in strangeness, delusion and eccentrics.  

Max Fischer


Colonel's picture

Its amusing watching left-wingers always banding together as their gooberment fiat war-mongering Tower of Babel collapses. Just keep rocking back and forth and telling yourself "Obama will fix everything".

Colonel's picture

"You people are pathetic.  Really.  Tell me about the efficient private interstate highway system.

Tell me about the efficient private funder of fucking aircraft carriers that you fucks love so much.

Tell me about the efficient private funder of the space program."


 What is that leftist parody? You don't know where the gooberment gets its money??!! Do you think it comes from the fed? I'll tell you about the private funder of those gooberment programs its the citizens/private sector funding ALL of that shit with their taxes ya lefty goofball.

Colonel's picture

Oh yeah and don't forget that "efficient" post office gooberment worshipper.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Do you agree or disagree that those who wish to be non fucking Orwell good citizens should be locked up in privately run prisons that benefit the oligarchs?

Acet's picture

One of the reasons Government exists and regulates is to avoid "Tragedy of the Commons" situations (look it up and read about it, it's part of game theory).

In any situation where there are shared resources (for example, fisheries), where the negative externalities (for example, polution) of a money making activity are not incurred by those making the money or there is a natural monopoly (for example, water supply), the "hand of the market" does not work - as each and all market actors egoistically tries to maximize personal outcomes, together they end up exhausting the shared resource, creating unsustainable amounts of the negative externality or squeezing their monopoly customers to the maximum.

While a case can be made for less government or for government to stop interfering in certain areas, the case for zero government is irrational, idealistic mumbu-jumbo and shows a lack of critical thought.

Colonel's picture

Public schools = literate people?! Now that's funny.

weinerdog43's picture

Back to kiddieland homo schooler.

Colonel's picture

A commie asswipe who doesn't like homeschooling go figure. But then again how could you clowns brainwash the next generation without your government skrools.

Calmyourself's picture

Rand, we are all still trying to figure out at what $ level .gov steals family wealth you were going to let us know at what point that occurs.  Oh and which union represents your workers and  yeah Government produces nothing it takes productive resources from one group uses them very inefficiently and spits out a public good.  Statist tool..

blunderdog's picture

Come on, already.  "Government" is just another corporation.  IN PRINCIPLE it's a corporation that shifts allocation of resources based on the public interest, which is supposed to be represented by the politicians chosen for the jobs.

It's nothing special.  Sometimes it does some good by shifting tax dollars into development that pays off for everyone.  The phone system made so much possible in the USA, and it was a publicly-funded private industry.  Anyone making the claim that government can't accomplish anything is in at least *some* state of abject denial of history.

None of this is to say that passing laws is the best way to accomplish anything.  As far as I can tell, the only valid reason you have to pass a law is that more than 99% of the people REALLY DEEPLY agree with it in principle.

At that point, there's no reason to pass a law.  Everyone already agrees.  Just do the right thing every time you have the opportunity, and something like PARADISE can dawn here.

AnAnonymous's picture

USA 1791-1935. Hong Kong 1946-97. Capitalist, free, limited government examples. Capitalism produces wealth. Government steals wealth. Government produces nothing. Just a fact of life.

Made me laugh.

So funny. So USA 1791 to 1935 was capitalist, free,limited government.

Good. Since the land transfer from Indians ended in 1898, it means that the biggest land grabbing in human history is on the benefit of capitalist, free,limited government.


Dont look deeper. The government is not the responsible. SImply the conditions to sustain that type of capitalist, free, limited governments have simply vanished.

Too many US citizens, not enough Indians.

So what? Another fine specimen of US citizen who displays the core proof that US citizens do not disagree with tyranny, they disagree with being tyrannized.

The current flavour of government is only bad because, hey, with the shortage of Indians, somebody has to sacrifice and play the part. And that can only be some US citizens as the other options have vanished or are already allocated.

honestann's picture

Sadly, those who start wars know exactly what war is.  However, they are all predators to their very core, and pain, agony, death and destruction make them happy and feel alive and prosperous... by contrast to the millions they have killed, destroyed and impoverished.

PS:  If those who start war didn't understand what war is... you'd find them volunteering for front line duty.  You don't.

Marley's picture

Funny, I always thought it was because they have little dicks.

Desert Irish's picture

There's an old saying if you don't want war elect a former serving general......Eisenhower was the last. All others were wannabee's

LetThemEatRand's picture

All of that money went out of the pockets of the middle class (in the form of IOUs which we call the federal deficit) and into the pockets of the MIC (in the form of cold, hard cash minted by private banks and then called a debt owned by the U.S. taxpayer, repayable at interest).  All of the lives are a cost of doing business.   

francis_sawyer's picture

so that the elite of the MIC could do some blow and engage in midget tranny porn...

Oh yeah & a few bucks went to have better humvee & body armor... sorry about the occasional mishaps...

HamyWanger's picture

Well, you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs

If paying a bit more taxes every year means sleeping better at night, knowing that me and my family are secure and sheltered from islamic and right-wing terrorism, then so be it. Filling your IRS form is a pain in the ass for everyone but once it's done and posted you feel proud to serve your country and help our Boys. 


ZeroChance's picture

What a fucking idiot.  You don't even get a /sarcasm excuse for that bullshit that came out of your fingers.  And, if it wasn't meant to be sarcasm, you and your family don't need shelter, you're already getting mind-raped by these imaginary "islamic" and "right-wing" terrorists.  Enjoy.

ruffles's picture

I know you are a troll,

But still I will say, for the human beings slayed for your omelet,

Fuck you.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

The war machine wouldn't function to this extent without the fiat dollar.

Kill the dollar.

Buy silver

falak pema's picture

The Global MIC complex, arms trade and war mongering,  is based on : "petrodollar" hegemony. Since 1971/1973. Fixed it.

Everything fits in when Pax Americana made petrodollar its blood line and MIC aligned itself to it, disengaging from sterile Vietnam, ping ponging in Pekin, opening up the Great Offshoring trail to "win back Chindia"; and securitising the OIL PATCH, prime source of cheap economic growth for Atlantic first world. Kissinger's Metternichian legacy to Pax Americana-NWO, recalibrated again by FIRE economy Thatcher-Reagan Big Bang in the 80s. 


Collateral damage for this game changer is :  First world sheeple must slim down FAST, and they lose the privileges to democracy and republican trappings; "free will of people"  of nation state legacy the "Welfare state consumer Age" construct of FDR bequeathed to the world at Bretton Woods to a broken industrial and burgeoning post colonial third world. 

We are now in a global Oligarchy construct. All money is offshore, in the hand of new feudals, the Multinationals and the Bankster cabal, and it goes where it goes to create profits for the international 1% and damn the fat and frivolous 99% who will have to learn about pain and shame as Athens today and MAdrid tomorrow...etc. etc. etc. 

25 T of privatised profit and 25 T of socialised nation state debts. Perfect balancing act and growing bigger every month. The first world pension funds the only assets left to sheeple as their wages, present and future, are already hocked -at vitam aeternam- to pay nation state's debts and social costs of unemployed!

Brave New World!

GeneMarchbanks's picture


Don't know if you're a French speaker but are you familiar with Yves Bataille?

falak pema's picture

I am. I don't know him but I've just read his bio and ideas on the NET. Quite a geopolitical ideologue with a penchant for going beyond de Gaulle's 'Atlantic to Urals'. He wants to unite Euroasia all the way to the Pacific!

I find that too grandiose to be a realistic scheme. China will never be a bride to any such marriage, and the Europeans are very attached to their heritage. We can see that today! Its palpable. 

No, my take is that first world is now in a spiral of moral decadence due to past hubris. Its dangerous times in Europe (as in USA), as this economic decline will induce a political decline, (as Marx correctly said : in industrial world, the economy is society's arrow); if the moral fabric of our body politic is attained in a crisis of moral values, then we could lose all; fall into total despotism and regression, like in the 1930s!

You can see the signs of ethnic crispation and national identity reactionist propoganda all over Europe. I do believe we should move towards more trade and integration between regions, but not based on a top down political construct, more by a bottom up trade and cultural process built by individual migrations and networking, aka organic cross fertilisation, which is currently in progress worldwide; as long as we DONT have artificial, Oligarchy fabricated, narrow sectorially propagated, politico-economico-social crises, like today!

The USA, as world hegemony, is no longer the beacon of progress; more the spur of Oligarchical regression, in a world feudal order structure. Its suicidal, as no feudal order can survive without a local cultural base that believes in its cause. It cannot sit in the Caymans and rule 6 billion people like from Mount Olympus. Nobody will buy that in this day and age.

Yves Battaille's solution, from what litte I see, is not IMO politically realistic; however much our critcism of Pax Americana may look convergent. I do not see his take on Serbian nationalism as the way to the future. Nation states have to dilute their ideological soup and recognise INDIVIDUAL personalities and cultural profiles as a benchmark in a fast moving/changing world. We are all now "cultural bastards" or multi cultural (either by marriage or by work/travel profile). 'What unites people is greater than what divides them', stays universal rule; not to be torn asunder by cultural fiction of "nation state" artificial divides imposed often by a culturally stilted elite. 

World leadership does entail the obligation to be an example to justify title of primus-inter-pares, as the UN charter entails for shared world governance on all universal issues. The USA had it under FDR-Eisenhower/JFK, started losing it in Vietnam and have totally lost it under GWB and successors. The lessons of Cuban crisis are now being lost as the nuclear dissemination is now openly on the table and TPTB don't do anything about it in this race to bottom.

Sorry for being soooo long winded, but its Yves Bataille's fault! (or my understanding of it).

Colonel's picture

Exactly as libertarians have pointed out fiat money is intimately connected to war mongering and the sound money that a gold and silver standard would supply would mitigate against war as you couldn't inflate away its cost so easy.

Peter Pan's picture

If you want to eliminate the cost to almost zero, just make it compulsory for the children and grandchildren of congressmen and congresswomen to serve in the front line of Iraq and Afghanistan.

spankfish's picture

That won't happen... the rug rats of the congress critters are to busy working for GS and JP.  Sorry to be the one to tell you.

Tompooz's picture

The greatest cost of war is the loss of humanity; the greatest collateral damage is the loss of freedom.

AnAnonymous's picture

Humanity is not lost in this kind of wars performed through US citizenism.

US citizenism is just one expression of human nature.

War shows US citizens for what they are.

Not much body count performed on the aggressed nations.

The only casualties reported are US and UK US citizens.

ACP's picture

It's like Age of Empires, but with a "PRINT UNLIMITED MONEY" cheat code.

Obadiah's picture

Just type "coinage" in the chat box and yur good to go.  The ONLY way to beat those bastards!

monopoly's picture

Right. If we did not spend a trillion or two on war, death and destruction, I just know all those terrorists including the "Tele Bon" would be chartering 747s from Virgin Airlines and flying into NY on a daily basis to wipe us out. I sure feel safer knowing that as long as we keep killing Americans and those from other nations we will be safe.

What a crock of shit. War is fucking useless and does nothing but Kill! And it changes nothing, nothing. Just check out Iraq.

"Help our boy"s. Yeah, agree, bring everyone of them home from every damn foreign country. Take care of US!