Last night, as a response to Syria’s Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own civilian population, the United States of America hammered the launching airfield with a massive volley of Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM)s. This was, in the words of the US government, a “proportional” response.

Cape St. George fires a TLAM

Cape St. George fires a TLAM

Here is a bit of TLAM cruise-missile math for you.

Each TLAM costs $1,600,000USD. The USA launched 59 from two warships. Let’s ignore the cost of the warships and the crew and the shore infrastructure required to get those two ships to launch position. Let’s focus on the cost of the missiles themselves.

59 x $1,600,000USD == $90,440,000 USD.

  • Price of a plane ticket from Damascus to Seattle for 1 adult, economy class, $630 USD (Expedia).
  • One bedroom apartments in Seattle rent for $1978 a month on average (rentjungle).
    Groceries, transit ticket, 1 visit to a private doctor, utilities totals to $560 a month on average (expatistan).
  • 1 year of tuition for at a Seattle vocational or technical college, average $5000 (collegetuitioncompare).
    Total cost for 1 year, ~$37,000USD.

$90,440,000 USD
div $37,000 USD
~ 2,440 Syrian lives saved, relocated to the USA and given everything they need to become productive citizens.

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Keep in mind, before the civil war, most Syrian cities were fairly modern places with a well-educated population. The people you’d be saving are at no risk of being terrorists; in fact, they’d be emotionally indebted to you for saving them and their families and giving them a chance to start over.

The death toll of the Sarin(?) chemical weapons attack is around 100 lives.

For the price of the strike that “avenged” the attrocity, the USA could instead be winning a hearts-and-minds campaign throughout the Middle East by saving 20 times as many lives for the same price.

The best part?  It’s long-term investment in USA innovation and technology. Most of the awesome in the US tech sector of the late 20th century and thus far in the early 21st century is from immigrants to America.

If you think that the TLAM strike last night was anything but political theater, I have bad news for you. You don’t understand basic economics, nor Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs.