As far back as history takes us, wars have always been around, from the ancient Mesopotamian wars to the current war in Afghanistan and the Syrian civil war.
Wars have killed millions of innocent people, impoverished nations, wasted resources, turned people into monsters. Yet governments and leaders never learn. America has entered into wars it had no business involving itself with, masking its desire for global dominance with feigned altruism and humanitarianism. The Vietnam War and Korean War were proxy wars that killed more Vietnamese and Koreans than Americans and Russians.
Here are the catastrophic consequences of war that we should keep reminding ourselves of, for the following reasons:
- Wars have a significant control over the way the world behaves, and it is disadvantageous to everyone.
- Previous wars increase the probability of those warring countries getting into future wars.
- The effects of wars stay long after the wars are over.
American veterans of WWll, and the wars in Vietnam and Korea interviewed 50 years after the wars report psychological distress that severely affect their behavior and their family relationships. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder were common among those veterans.
Consequences of war
- Human casualties
The immediate consequence of war is death. An online atlas created by a researcher, Matthew White, showed that the 20th century wars (1901-2000) resulted in the deaths of 37 million military and 27 million civilians in wartime, presumably from artillery fire, excluding 59 million who died in wartime from famine.
The wars with the largest fatalities in the 20th century were the First and Second World Wars, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Chinese Civil War.
- A destroyed economy
The consequence of war on economy affects both families and the country. The treasury is depleted due to the cost of weapons being manufactured or bought from other countries. Soldiers are not adequately paid, and family income is insufficient. Other family members must supplement their income by working in far-away places, resulting in broken homes.
Countries in a war find their economies ruined and take years before they can recover. Japan and South Korea have been lucky in that respect because of the foreign aid, especially from the United States. From aid received after WWll and the Korean War, they are now in the top 11 richest economies in the world. Great Britain and Germany, world powers before WW1 and WWll, have lost that status and never regained it, although their economy has recovered.
- Psychological trauma
War inflicts emotional and psychological wounds on combatants and civilians. Many soldiers are unable to sustain healthy relationships after the war. They turn to isolation, drugs and alcohol because of depression and anxiety. They are unable to find employment. In the worst cases, soldiers with PTSD have gone on a rampage and killed other people.
Civilians in war countries, especially young girls and women, recount the horror they suffered from assault and rape, and seeing their families brutally killed. Prostitution is rampant in areas surrounding military bases, especially the US military which has the most overseas bases.
A new revelation arose in 2014 when more than 100 old and destitute South Korean comfort women accused their own government of selling them to American soldiers for sex. During the Korean War and decades after, their government officials persuaded them to go into prostitution solely for the US troops as a service to their country, so that the Americans continue to stay and save them from a North Korea attack, and to keep the US dollars coming in for their economy.
In February 8, 2018, the Seoul High Court found merit in their case and ordered the government to compensate the women financially.
- A destroyed infrastructure
Destruction of infrastructure is an inevitable outcome of any war. Japan, a booming economy prior to WW1, lost 40 percent of its industrial plants. It recovered quickly owing to a pledge of security and financial aid from the US, a labor force with strong work ethics, private sector investment, and personal savings.
The British Empire was a global power before WWll, owning overseas colonies that made up most of the world. After the war, Britain was near bankruptcy; bombs from enemies shattered the country’s factories and ports. The United States stopped financial aid to Britain in 1945, making sure it would never become a world dominator again.