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The Korean War: Why so expensive?

 
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 08:02 am
In the current issue of Newsweek there is a graph showing the costs of various wars. I was surprised to see that the Korean War costs nearly $600 billion while the Vietnam War costs just over $400 billion. (Gulf War: $375 billion; Afghanistan and Iraq: (estimated) $425 billion). I tried to find an online version of the graph but couldn't, sorry.)

Now I'm curious as to what aspects of the Korean war might have accounted for this $200 billion dollar difference.

Thank you for your insights.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 5,313 • Replies: 13
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Craven de Kere
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 08:14 am
I think they might still be counting the costs in that graph. The war has not yet ended.
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Craven de Kere
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 08:25 am
I did a quick search because your stats intrigued me, I 'd remembered that the Korean war was only a bit more than Nam in GNP.

I didn't find much, in fact, my google search brought me back to able to know with BBB's thread on the history of what US wars have cost.

I have found many sites with drastically contradicting figures but I do know that the maintenance of troops in Korea over the last 50 years has cost much more than the actual war.

Since the war technically hasn't ended i wonder if Newsweek was including the running costs.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 08:33 am
I don't know how they calculated the numbers, Craven, as they don't give much information. They did project the numbers of the current was through 2007 though and it seems if they were going to projec numbers they should have done so for each war they included in the graph.

It does cite the source as: U.S. Defense Dept, Center for Defense Info., Congressional Research Service, Center for Budget Policies and Priorities.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 03:13 am
Hmmmmmm - it seems the cost has not ended for a number of countries.
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WhoodaThunk
 
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Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 04:24 pm
Boomerang: I'm looking at a chart in today's paper which lists war costs in 2002 dollars:

Revolutionary War - $1.7 billion
War of 1812 - $975 million
Mexican War - $1.5 billion
Civil War - $65.8 billion
Spanish-American War - $8.8 billion
WW I - $564.5 billion
WW II - $4.6 trillion

This version pretty much puts the Korean costs where you would expect them.
Korean War - $391.8 billion
Vietnam War - $840 billion
Gulf War 1 - $8.6 billion (after Allied reimbursements)
Gulf War 2 - $48 billion as of July 15

Souces: Dept. of Defense; Center for Defense Info.; U.S. Civil War Center; Associated Press
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boomerang
 
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Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 04:47 pm
Hiya Whooda!

Thanks for the great info. Those are some amazing numbers, aren't they.

Interesting that the Department of Defense has such a wide variety of figures that they're releasing these days. I understand that your graph is in 2002 dollars but the discrepancies in the Gulf Wars is still pretty massive.
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WhoodaThunk
 
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Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 05:25 pm
The listed Gulf War I expense was our cost AFTER all of the Allies paid us their assessed shares. BTW, I agree with Craven's suggestion that your chart's high numbers for Korea might include the costs of the last 40+ years maintenance of troops expenses.
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Craven de Kere
 
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Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 05:30 pm
Whooda,

Cost of war numbers are very rarely accurate. Always more spin than a top. The numbers I'd go with for gulf 1 actually show a profit (after reimbursement).
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 05:34 pm
Could you run that past me, slowly, Craven?

A war that made a PROFIT? (Other than one for territorial acquisition)
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Craven de Kere
 
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Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2003 04:45 pm
Dlowan, the war was an accountant's nightmare. There were many nations that contributed to the war and did so at many different stages (with some stages being paid years afterwards).

Depending on whose opinion you agree with, the Gulf war either cost a few billion or made a bit. Saudi Arabia, Germany and Japan paid a lot towards that war and by some bean counter's calculations the US made a profit. It's just one of those odd ways that such a complex funding can play out.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Mon 21 Jul, 2003 04:52 pm
Blimey!
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boomerang
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 07:40 am
Very interesting!
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acepoly
 
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Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2003 05:14 am
During the Korea War, China intervened directly by sending thousands of and millions of people to the front, and in collabration with Korea' army, gave as a heavy blow as possible to the US troops. However, the vietnam war didn't see direct assistance from China which only delivered some supporting aids like food and ammunitions. This is probably why the Vietnam War cost 200 billion less than the Korea War. Here, China is the point.
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