Reader Opinion: Cost versus benefit

Considering the expenses of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we may be getting a bigger bang for the buck in delivering resources in Ukraine.

Stack of newspapers on a laptop computer.

A term new to me, and perhaps applicable to warring in Ukraine, is “Pyrrhic victory,” where the costs of winning are greater than the benefits.

Wikipedia: “A victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Such a victory negates any true sense of achievement or damages long-term progress.”

Accountants can be deployed to come up with the quantifiable costs of these exchanges - from munitions to reconstructions.

Perhaps wars can be countenanced to supercomputers and artificial intelligences so that they can be quantified daily in dollars but more likely less in sense.


The math used to determine a billing invoice for wars’ expenses will never fully add up the catastrophic costs that even actuaries might be overwhelmed to determine.

What is the value of the many children, allegedly stolen from parents and communities, transported across militarized borders and forcibly held against their will and subjected to unknown events and held in unaccounted for conditions by foreign perpetrators?

This would be a war crime — as is rape, torture and murder of civilians.

Considering the expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan, we may be getting a bigger bang for the buck in delivering resources in Ukraine.

Our own soldiers are not in the gunnery sights of adversaries and we are yet receiving intel from testing our equipment’s capabilities in a war game that is no game.

We may also be putting a material check on actual authoritarian aggression by Russia and potential piracy of territory by China.

Some lessons are more expensive than others. If we will learn from the education tethered with our experiences in Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan, we may be better prepared for what the future has both to offer and to ask from us.

Philip L M Vaughan


Lake Edward Township

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