A Memorial for War Victims

May 11th, 2023 - by Donald A. Smith & David Swanson / World BEYOND War

Nagsaki Peace Monument for victims of US atomic bombing.
Designs for D.C. Memorial for Victims of US Wars

Donald Smith / ProgressiveMemes

(May 9, 2023) — According to Brown University’s Costs of Wars Project, US overseas wars, proxy wars and other military actions have killed at least 900,000 people since 9/11.

If we include wars since the 1960s, we’d need to include the Vietnam war, which killed perhaps 3.5 million people, as well as the US-backed war in Indonesia which killed approximately a million people.

Then there are the many proxy wars and government overthrows in Latin America. See here for a list of US wars.

How large would a memorial need to be to list all the victims’ names?

The exact number of people killed by US militarism since the 1960s is difficult to know for sure and is a point of contention. Getting most of their names is probably impossible.

Still, these victims of US militarism deserve a memorial. Here are some designs for such a memorial, created with the help of Midjourney AI.

It is unlikely that Congress would authorize, much less fund, construction on public land of a memorial for victims of US wars. But perhaps it could be done on private land somewhere, funded by private donations.

The memorial should include educational material outlining the history of the wars and the people responsible.

Nagsaki Peace Monument for victims of US atomic bombing.

The Peace Monument the United States Really Needs
David Swanson / World BEYOND War

(August 24, 2017) — Washington, D.C., needs a three-dimensional, sculptural Guernica dedicated to and with explanatory information about the victims of US bombings in over 30 countries that the United States has bombed.

And it needs such a monument to the victims of wars now, to help move the country away from war. We can’t wait to create the monument after having achieved a society willing to make room for it among the war-glorification monstrosities gobbling up more and more space in the US capital.

With land unavailable for peace in the land of war temples, the obvious solution is a rooftop. The Methodist Building across from the Capitol and the Supreme Court, or the nearby FCNL building, or any other prominent building with a roof could radically alter the DC skyline and worldview.

Bureacratic hurdles would have to be cleared, height kept below that of the Capitol dome, etc. But a rooftop could make a monument more visible, not less. An external elevator could take people close-up to view, learn more, and photograph.

A plan to build such a monument would allow a design competition that could attract major artists, which in turn could attract major donations sufficient to fund the project.

While we’re paying attention to the problem of Confederate monuments, we might expand our concern to include the monuments to every other side of every other war, and every participant glorified in D.C. statuary. As powerful, or moreso, than ripping them all down, would be to add a peace monument to the mix.


During a discussion of this six years ago, we came up with the following:

In remembrance of the millions of people killed and the millions injured, traumatized, impoverished, and made homeless by US air wars, including through the use and the testing of bullets, bombs, nuclear bombs, missiles, and chemicals. The effects of these air assaults do not end with the end of a war.  The physical and psychological effects last lifetimes, and radiation and chemical poisoning is passed on to subsequent generations, as well as the trauma.


Dominican Republic 1915 – 1935
Haiti 1915 – 1934
Logan County, West Virginia 1921

Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921
Honduras: 1924, 1925
Nicaragua 1927 – 1933

Puerto Rico – Vieques – 1940 – 2003
[World War II] Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Crete, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Libya, Luxembourg, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Netherlands, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Okinawa, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saipan, Taiwan (Formosa), Thailand, Tinian, Tunisia, Vietnam (French Indochina), Yugoslavia 1941 – 1945
Marshall Islands, Republic of Kiribati, Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico nuclear testing 1945 – 1962

Atmospheric nuclear tests 1945-1963
Korea and China 1950 – 1953
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959 – 1961
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Laos 1964 – 1973
Vietnam 1961 – 1973
Cambodia 1969 – 1970
Guatemala 1967 – 1969
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Grenada 1983
Lebanon 1983, 1984
Libya 1986

France 1986
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1985
Iran 1987
Panama 1989
Kuwait 1991
Iraq 1991 – 2017
Somalia 1993
Bosnia 1994, 1995
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999

China 1999
Afghanistan 2001 – 2017
Yemen 2002
Pakistan 2002 – 2003
Iran 2003
Pakistan 2007 – 2017
Somalia 2007 – 2008, 2011
Yemen 2009, 2011, 2016-2017
Libya 2011, 2015 – 2017