The US Empire’s Shameful Multiplier Effect – OpEd


Let X = number of persons who died in the USA as a result of the 9/11 attacks.

X ≈ 3,000.

Let Y = number of persons who have died in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of direct war violence associated with the U.S. attacks and occupations since 9/11.

Y ≈ between 158,000 and 202,000.

To avoid the extremes, let us split the difference and say Y = 180,000.

Therefore, Y ≈ 60 X.

Let Z = number of persons who have died of causes indirectly related to the wars and occupations, such as diseases caused by the war’s destruction of infrastructure and housing and its dislocation of populations.

Z ≈ between 2Y and 6Y.

Therefore, Z ≈ between 120 X and 360 X.

This situation is not exactly a case of an eye for an eye, even if the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan had been responsible for the 9/11 attacks, which they were not. And the toll continues to mount with no end in sight. In this case, sad to say, the multiplier effect has been all too real.

Robert Higgs

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

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