A colossal wastage like a house on fire up in smoke

Imagine you stuff your shirt and pant pockets with dollar notes. Once these overflows, you fill up all your kitchen drawers and house closets, but the supply of dollars continues. And you carry on pilling them up in every room and garage from floor to ceiling, then the lawn of your house while the dollar spill advances toward the neighbour’s house.

And these are not one-dollar bills but in the denomination of 100-dollar each.

Now let us calculate the total value of this stockpile. Callipers and micrometres can come up with results of billions or trillions of dollars.

Except for very few, that is all the world nations’ combined annual expenses on arms and ammunition. It represents a significant portion of military spending, often to launch an offence in the name of defence.

Manipulation of war and its staging is a big business of billions and trillions of dollars, and more and more countries are getting into it.

The United States and Russia are leading the pack, accounting for over half of all global arms exports. On the receiving end, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia and China as the top five importers from 2018 to 2022.

A Times of India report (Feb.3, 2023) says India spent $24 billion in foreign arms buying in the last five years.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says the world military expenditure passed two trillion dollars in 2021. The statistics are climbing fast after the Russia-Ukraine war enters over 400 days of fighting, and we see no end.

In this mammoth military spending, some expenses go for salaries and wages, food, housing, medical needs, etc. But the bulk of it stirs up the buying spree on a comprehensive and diverse range of equipment and machinery from planes to ships and submarines to tanks and drones, missiles and anti-missiles, bombs, rockets, and the rest of the firepower.

Each item costs hundreds, thousands, millions and even billions of dollars. And when deployed in wars, battles, or conflicts, they get destroyed, drowned, grounded or go up in the smoke within minutes.

Mindboggling numbers pop up when we see the cost of a tank, a fighter plane, a warship, a single bomb, rockets, and hundreds of other items used or fired in a battle or a war.

For example, a tank can cost from $5 million upto $16 million (M1A2S MBT), an F-35 Fighter $80 million, a sophisticated warship costs not less than a billion dollars, a missile up to half a million dollars, and a hand grenade, the size of a baseball $ 45, and a 500 pound laser-guided bomb carries a unit price of over $2000 to $4000.

Imagine how many bombs, grenades, rockets and missiles get released thru the super expensive tanks, missile launchers and fighter planes, contributing to the devastation and deaths on a colossal scale.

Ultimately, these exorbitant-priced war-wares also go up in flames in a flash, just like the dollar-stuffed house if set on fire, gutted to ashes promptly and swiftly.

Can a sense of sanity prevails among the world’s citizens, particularly its leaders, and seek a worldwide shutdown of the industry that produces weapons of mass destruction and mass killing?

-by Promod Puri


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