Flu and War

According to the WSJ 24,000 people per year die of the Flu.  If Michael Osterholm director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, is to be believed, an effective flu shot would require about $1bn in investment and many years.

We have now spent 1.4 Trillion dollars on the war on terror.  The start of which was 9/11 and the tragic loss of 2,753 lives in NYC.  

The imbalance of this equation is staggering to me.  I am skeptical that the war on terror  can be won through aggression.  I remember speaking with supporters of the FMLN in El Salvador during the height of their guerrilla war in the 1980s.  They used to say that when the army was bombing the San Salvador Volcano in an attempt to defeat the guerrillas that they were, in fact, 'fertilizing the mountain".  It only increased the resolve of the guerrillas and their supporters.  

Much the way, I fear, US efforts to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in  creating greater resentment and fear when what we needed to create was greater trust and cooperation.

I believe the best antidote to terrorism is opportunity.  Opportunity for the majority in a nation to participate meaningful in the daily life and economy of their communities.   

There cannot be security without prosperity.  And there cannot be prosperity without security.  Investing trillions of dollars fighting military wars instead of investing in the human capacity and institutions needed to create prosperity will not get us where we want to go.

It might bring a sense of justice for the tragedy of lost lives of 9/11.  But it has made us incapable of saving what amounts to around 250,000 innocent lives taken by the flu in the decade since we embarked upon this war on terror.