I have generally avoided saying anything about Veterans' Day, not because I don't recognize what people who have served in the military have done, but because I believe, generally, that most wars represent a failure of the political leadership of the nations involved. And because of the very real human cost of those wars. We tend to remember the cost to people in our own countries, but to forget--or ignore--the costs--deaths, injuries, destruction--suffered by people in other countries. Even other countries that were on the wrong side of the war (Germany in World War II). Here's the casualty data for America's largest wars; note that the Indian wars are not included, and we have no estimates of native American deaths/casualties in those.
|War||Deaths||Wounded||Deaths per 100,000 Population||Casualties per 100,000 population|
|American Revolutionary War||25,000||25,000||1,000||2,000|
|War of 1812||15,000||4,500||188||244|
|American Civil War||625,000||500,000||1,988||3,578|
|World War I||116,516||204,000||113||310|
|World War II||405,399||671,000||304||807|
|War on Terror||6,717||51,000||2||20|
In many ways, the US has been fortunate, in that there has not been a war fought here in 150 years (and, yes, I am aware of what some people think about the "war" on "terror").
And, when I think about this, I always think of Phil Ochs' song "I Ain't Marching Anymore":
'It's always the old who lead us to the wars,
Always the young to fall.
Now look at all we've won with the sabre and the gun
Tell me was it worth it all..."
Mostly, it has not been.