Well, here are the American answers:
I was thinking about this the other day, in the whole lead-up to the 10th anniversary to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and other places in North-East United States. So thanks to The Age for putting together some handy aggregate stats.
For each one of the 2,977 victims of the September 11 attacks, the U.S. has sought retribution at the following cost:
- $1.3B. Yes, that's over 1 billion dollars spent per victim.
- 2.5 foreign, allied, military deaths. Predominantly American, that's over two soldiers who have died per 9/11 victim.
- 6 Iraqi and Afghan, allied, military deaths. The West never seems too fussed in media reports about these people trying to reconstruct their countries.
- 40 Iraqi and Afghan civilians. These were people going about their normal lives who have been killed as a result of a military invasion. Imagine if Iraq and Afghanistan felt it necessary to kill 20 Americans for each civilian killed in their countries. Their would be a pretty swift depopulation of America and the Middle East if this level of escalation continued.
For the record, if I were killed because someone didn't like my government, I would not want that government spending over a billion dollars and killing almost 50 innocent people, as well as the "bad guys", in my name. I think I'd prefer a response that was a little more cerebral, and if that failed, something a whole lot more surgical.
Edit: Changed 20 to 40 for the number of Iraqi and Afghan civilian deaths.