The prevalent flow in the United States is merchandising: Everything has a dollar-amount value. And who better to oversee such operations than the Merchandiser-in-Chief, Donald Trump, a man whose supportive hounds yap with delight as he dispenses bits and scraps of optimism if not money.
So if dollar amounts might count, I wondered today how much a single air sortie might cost in the much-bombed Syria or other places where American hardware does its best and civilians often pay the price. The answer is that there is no answer. Or, if there is an answer, it is so complicated by factors attending on an air strike that it is almost meaningless. What sorts of planes, what sorts of armaments, what aircraft carriers employed, how much it costs to train pilots, etc. etc.
What I wanted to do was lay that figure next to what it cost to build a school or a hospital ... which is another realm that ended me up in the weeds of particulars -- how big, how many beds or desks, what staffing, what supplies, etc. Weeds heaped on weeds.
Planes and war missions seem to run into the millions. Schools and hospitals do the same. But the war missions seem to exceed the schools and hospitals by quite a lot.
Politicians and defense contractors and other war-minded officials will say it's a ridiculous comparison -- apples and oranges. But a price tag is a price tag in our merchandising era. And so, without the numbers to back myself up, I still wonder how many schools or hospitals might be underwritten if a couple of air sorties simply did not occur. Yes, I'm one of those liberal wimps, but maybe it's something to think about.
Back before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were analyses that suggested that if America had no clearly-stated end game -- no goal in mind -- then the result would be tribal infighting that knew no end.
Dead Americans. Dead children. Dead civilians. And a lot of tribal infighting.