The B-2 Spirit bomber made for the Air Force costs about $2 billion each.

One F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will set you back about $72 million each.

The Abrams Tank? It’s a bargain at about $9 million a pop.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald Ford is the most expensive warship ever built by any nation at $13 billion.

The U.S. spends more than any other nation in the world on defense, even though some other nations, such as India and China, have larger militaries. North Korea is almost a match for the U.S. in terms of manpower at 1,300,000 troops but spends far less.

So why does the U.S. spend so much on individual weapons versus other nations that rely more on sheer manpower?

Because of the lessons of past wars. As much as we complain about the cost of producing such expensive weaponry the simple truth is that you really can save blood by expending treasure. Here are some examples of how trying to save money has cost us lives.

The U.S. began WWII with one of the world’s most powerful navies, on paper. In reality, though the battleships that comprised the fighting core of the U.S. Navy were relics of WWI or built shortly after that war had ended. Proposals to build a much larger fleet in terms of sheer numbers, tonnage, and gun size were scrapped as too expensive. The U.S., U.K., and Japan had entered into a treaty to prevent an expensive naval arms race in the Pacific, which Japan ignored and cheated on, while the U.S. and U.K. kept to the terms.