The Corner

Fred’s Blood Count

I have no desire to re-open the seemingly closed issue of Fred Thompson’s claim that the US of A has sacrificed more lives than anybody in the defense of freedom. Part of my reluctance stems from my conviction that World War One was, ultimately, a really stupid war that  caused far more harm than good. Also, while I think I’m more on Mark Steyn’s side,  I’m largely with Michael Ledeen in that I agree that the debate isn’t entirely helpful. But, I could have sworn that Thompson had in the past used the phrase “America has spent more blood and treasure….” than any other country. And yet when I look at the debate, we seem to have focused entirely on the blood and not much on the treasure. While the casualty count may point to greater sacrifices on the part  of other countries, hasn’t the U.S. spent more cold hard cash than anybody else in the world in the name of liberty? I suppose we should consult Niall Ferguson or something but, just off the top of my head there’s Lend-Lease, NATO (we carried a lot of freight during the Cold War, ultimately subsidizing the welfare states of Europe), our share of the U.N. budget (yes, yes, I know: only pennies on the dollar go to promoting liberty), and the money we’ve spent on everything from democracy promotion to the Marshall plan. Surely, while the contentious issue of spent blood (and whether it was spent for freedom or, say, Mother Russia and  the Politburo) may be ambiguous, has any one written more checks in the name of freedom than the U.S. taxpayer?

Just asking.  


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