World War I veterans still have no national memorial. There has been no Hollywood blockbuster in recent years to bring their story to life. But they still have Frank Buckles. More than 90 years after he fudged his age to join the Army, Corporal Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, came to the Pentagon yesterday to represent the more than two million "doughboys" who braved the trench warfare and gas attacks of the "The Great War." (...)
Now, Buckles is the last flesh-and-blood reminder of the 116,000 Americans who gave their lives to save Europe at the start of the 20th century.
Wikipedia tries to document the surviving veterans from all World War I combatant nations.
The surviving veterans remind us that the era of wars between the world's major powers is not ancient history. I wonder what these veterans think when they hear how today's politicians talk about the risks of terrorism. Do they think that this is just scare-mongering to win votes and that we shall consider ourselves to be lucky to live in such peaceful times? That Al Qaeda is just a nuissance compared to the Wehrmacht or the Red Army?
The human and financial costs of WWI were huge. America's current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are also expensive: $3.5 billion per week, according to William Hartung. German Joys quotes some comparisons from his article: The "whole international community spends less than $400 million per year on the International Atomic Energy Agency, the primary institution for monitoring and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; that's less than one day's worth of war costs." And the US government's yearly budget for combating global warming is as big as two weeks of expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and combating global warming are at least as important as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Julianne Smith and Alexander Lennon of the Center for Strategic and International Studies contend that climate change will further disrupt the stability of already volatile regions, which has the potential of producing multitudes of discontented individuals prone to radicalization...