Chapter 10: War
Warfare is seldom discussed under the heading of externalities although it certainly does impose serious costs on people other than the citizens of the acting nation. I suppose one could argue that since the costs and beneﬁts accrue to the nations participating in the warfare they are not really external. Still innocent bystanders can be hurt and even a purist will except that as an externality. For present purposes, however, we are going to count injury to either of the parties, if it is caused by the other or by the conﬂict itself, as an externality. This includes the taxes imposed to pay for the war, and conscription.1 It seems quite possible that I would not have included a chapter on war had it not been that our war with Afghanistan and the second war with Iraq coincided with my work on this book. Indeed at the present moment both are only winding down. Anyone who has read a history of Great Britain’s ﬁrst three Afghan wars will realize that they never really ended. Britain won all of them in the strict military sense, but in each one found itself unable to impose its terms on the apparently defeated enemy. Afghans are tribal and the defeat of some tribes or even their complete annihilation, as the Russians found out much later, does not necessarily terminate the hostilities. We are now learning that from our own experience. Our Afghan operation was, militarily, a tour de force. Originally operating o...
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