Dean Clough

September 10, 2021

Portico Darwin: The Costs of War (and I'm Trying to Pay Some)

Before I start, I must comment on the hysteria over President Biden's new vaccine mandates.  Many are pointing to the fact that Biden and some on his staff had said previously they wouldn't impose them.  Since then:

  • the Delta mutation of the virus exploded, and it is far more contagious and also impacts children
  • there has been a senseless yet impactful resistance by some to get vaccinated 

These two things have caused drastic spikes in cases overall and deaths specifically.  So I ask those that are again on the wrong side of history:

When the facts change, I change my mind.  What do you do? 

(It's also not a drastic expansion of governmental power, in any way:  if you believe that, you're just not familiar with OSHA and its very real and existent impact on every workplace in the US, nor the vaccinations already required for a child to attend school.)


Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. 

Today is about what our country's actions after the attacks of 9/11 have cost.  Us, and the world.  It's also about one newsletter writer trying to pay a microscopic sliver of those costs back.

First, I want to share with you a podcast and an underlying study I came across this week.  To call it "stunning" and "horrifying" is to paint a very rosy picture of The Costs of War

The Costs of War is a scholarly project undertaken by a large team at Brown University.  It attempts to put a real price in human and financial terms of what America's so-called War on Terror has actually cost.  Get ready to be shocked.

Since we lost 2,977 US citizens on 9/11:

  • There have been a total of 929,000 deaths directly attributable to our military and intelligence operations around the world
  • At least 3 times that number, or 3 million, will be the total of deaths directly and indirectly (children dying in Iraq of diarrhea because water sanitation infrastructure was destroyed in the war, for example) attributable to those same military and intelligence operations
  • We'll spend at least $8 trillion on the wars and their aftermath (mental and physical health care for veterans traumatized while serving, for example)
  • We are presently conducting military and intelligence operations in 85 countries
  • 38 million people have been displaced through these military and intelligence operations

There is more - much more - at the website at the link above.  It's awful. 

But there's hope in that there are starting to be discussions of taming what is now a truly ghastly military industrial complex.  Because I am not sure exactly what good it's doing us at this point, beyond filling these? 


(That's a photo I took recently at the National Cemetery in The Presidio.)

What can one do?  Rather than just venting here every few days, I personally am taking concrete steps to assist those that have served America.  Because while I do not often agree with our military missions, helping those that volunteered to serve in the armed forces is a no-brainer.

I am thus proud to say I've been accepted as a volunteer at this very cool certification program for US military veterans and their families.  You can read more about it at the link if you're interested, but the net is I'll be consulting on things like best practices, my own experience, etc. with entrepreneurial veterans who are starting businesses.  These start-ups range from corner bakeries to biotech firms.  It's a part of the business school at this fine institution, so while it's a volunteer position, I am excited and honored.

It's every Tuesday for 3 hours for the next 9 weeks, and I plan on providing an occasional update on the experience right here.
I want to thank the retired banking executive Lauren Ryder for sharing this very thoughtful essay, entitled "What is Wisdom?".  Wow, this is exactly correct:  #92: What Is Wisdom? (

(P.S.  It's from the monthly newsletter from the guy that wrote "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" - jeez, everyone has a newsletter now)

Julie and I want to thank those that nodded in approval at our new and improved travel plans.  I am looking at you, Fi Deuce and Dr. Downs - much appreciated.

As a token of my gratitude, I heard on the news that Fi is looking for travel ideas.  Tucson in an Airbnb, but start or finish at the Arizona Biltmore?  A rental in Palm Springs or really anywhere in Coachella Valley?  Or what about an Airbnb or VRBO in a high-rise in downtown San Diego?

Via the modern telegraph and from the East Coast, the former Allentown steelworker Byron Browne IV checked in sharing almost unbelievable news headlines.  A poll with its finger on the pulse of world travel just named - wait for it - San Fran-f'ing-cisco as the world's best city to visit in 2021.  Ahead of - every place else, including places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen.  Shocking, I know, but 27,000 readers of Time Out magazine can't be wrong?

Thank you to any one that is reading this blog newsletter.

With the aptly named "Reckoning", here is R.E.M and their second full-length album, in high resolution.

(Is it possible they are underappreciated at this point?  These early albums of theirs were awfully influential and they were a big deal for a fairly long time.)

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.