Cost of U.S. wars: Around $4 trillion. Or more.

Cost of U.S. wars: Around $4 trillion. Or more.

The full costs of America’s wars over the past decade may never be known, but a new study this week produced estimates that, even by Washington standards, are astonishing: According to a team of researchers at Brown University, the U.S. will have spent at least $3.2 trillion and as much as $4.4 trillion, “conservatively estimated,” on both direct war appropriations and many of the long-term costs for veterans care, military benefits, and other expenses down the line. And where does all that money come from?

Per the report:

The United States paid for past wars by raising taxes and or selling war bonds. The current wars were paid for almost entirely by borrowing. This borrowing has raised the U.S. budget deficit, increased the national debt, and had other macroeconomic effects, such as raising interest rates. The U.S. must also pay interest on the borrowed money. The interest paid on Pentagon spending alone, so far (from 2001 through FY 2011) is about $185.4 billion in constant dollars.

At a news conference on Wednesday, President Obama gave war costs as one reason he wants to go forward with the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, although he gave a much lower figure for the wars’ costs: About $1 trillion. Obama and other political leaders are counting on the savings they hope they’ll get from the reduced U.S. presence in the Middle East, although as the Brown study makes clear, Americans will be paying for the after-effects of Iraq and Afghanistan for a long time:

While we know how many US soldiers have died in the wars (just over 6000), what is startling is what we don’t know about the levels of injury and illness in those who have returned from the wars. New disability claims continue to pour into the VA, with 550,000 just through last fall. Many deaths and injuries among US contractors have not been identified.

The authors continue with their attempt to estimate the human toll:

• At least 137,000 civilians have died and more will die in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of the fighting at the hands of all parties to the conflict.

• The armed conflict in Pakistan, which the U.S. helps the Pakistani military fight by funding, equipping and training them, has taken as many lives as the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan.

• Putting together the conservative numbers of war dead, in uniform and out, brings the total to 225,000.

• Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions. The current number of war refugees and displaced persons — 7,800,000 — is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Kentucky fleeing their homes.


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aprox 14–15 000$ (4.4tn) par american…
enjoy your country

This is all total BS. No where does it mention that the majority of the cost has been in building infrastrcuture and equipping iraq — afghanistan and pakistan. Nor does it talk about the huge cost of all the uniform and gear changes the brass decided on that were not needed. No where does it mention all the gear and ammo we supplied to our NATO counterparts who are ill equipped. The constitution clearly states the govt is required to provide a military to protect and defewnd the US — it does not in any form identify rewtirement and health care for politicians — bail out for businesses — paying for presidential vacations and private staff memebers — welfare — food stamps — healthcare (especialy for illegals or immigrants not yet citizens) or paying for public radio — arts — saving the california field mouse or minnows — sex habits of catfish and so on. If any money was barrowed it was due to non constitutional programs and not the military. A soldier in any part of the world cost no more than what he does stateside — I know my pay never went up for being outside the US. what a bunch of political BS.

We wouldnt of had to build any if the politicians had stayed out of our business and let us do our jobs rather than the good will ambassasador BS. things were Ok while we were pushing foward killing bad guys and destroying cities. Once congress started the win the hearts and minds BS is when we started taking casualties. VA has been undestaffed — underfunded — and outdated for decades now unable to help many vets, its about time they got some attention. Iraq was due to bad intel — it happens, just like pearl harbor and tet. Fact is you cannot blame all the cost of our financial mess on our troops or caring for them afterwards.

In the US, we have civilian control of the military. Anytime you are tempted to use the phrase “if the politicians had stayed out of our business” repeat that phrase until the impulse recedes. Our business is to complete the missions identified by the politicians in defense of national interests.

The better (and harder) questions to ask involve defining those missions and identifying which national assets are best suited to accomplishing them. Nation building may not be a bad goal, but it certainly isn’t a military one.

Our government ought give a full and complete to all Muslim countries (to be paid back in oil) for all the “Police action” our politicians have committed our military to. The national would be paid off in no time!!!!!!!

It’s a catch 22 — the military trains to destroy the enemy at any cost and we are good at it, once government makes a decision to send in the military they need to give them the military objective and goal then stand out of their way till they report accomplishment.

If the military had been pulled back after completing thier task and volunteer civilians and organizations had been the ones doing all this restructuring and getting injured, then I bet a lot of folks would be saying we are not doing enough for these volunteers — while they currently say the military gets too much.

One of those zombie apacolypse sure would be handy about now, I bet a lot of folks would change their tunes about the cost of maintaining our military if our troops were defending them on our streets from brain eaters, and congress wouldnt care about any collateral damages either.

That’s the cost of interventionism and nation building.

One loss that will not be accounted for financially, is the diminishing of the DoD technology workforce. It will take decades to replace the engineering and scientific knowledge lost in the last decade. It will be impossible to replace the incompetent leaders now in technology programs who actually think Powerpoint presentation is the same as technical thinking. It is nothing more than spoon feeding nonsense to morons. We will have to wait till this brand of leaders retire because we cannot hold them accountable. We cannot hold anyone accountable.

Innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent?

Might makes right or right makes might?

Want to gamble history with all your hunches?

You know Boomer..for once, I agree with you.

You know Jennings.….maybe we can cut the VA budget and have a whole new batch of criminals roaming the street with combat training and combat experience…just like we did after Viet Nam…all because tight wads like you would not fund healthcare and mental health services for returning servicemen and women who fought the wars your kind so wrongly begged them to fight to begin with.

We go and invade a sovereign country, trash the place, and now are worried about the cost? Especially when the country was of little if any threat to regional stability? And we cry like school girls at the cost of rebuilding what we destroyed so the people of the destroyed and trashed country do not become bigger and better terrorists than the ones we were and still are crying about flying airplanes into buildings killing thousands?

You can tell its election time here in the land of BS.…the manure is sure flying high and far lately!

I think 4 trillion is a fair price to make the world a better place, especially when now it makes our national security all the more important, don’t you?

Orly…I would gamble with his hunches and mine too…because I know I will win, and you just lost.

Our “de-mock-racy” and game playing done by our dearly corrupt and inept elected party politik leaders is what costs this country in the long run…too many civilians who know nothing of the military except whats shown to them from a power slide presentation trying to run a war when its the people who know how to fight a war that should be doing the job to begin with.

Before I go into a rant let me say this…every ten or so years, we build the military, and then cut it back down to where it barely functions to begin with. We cry about the costs of fighting war when its only election time and liars and cheats want to remain in power(you know, the president,and other politicians) But yet, we waste more money on stupid and needless things, and give more away to our enemies than you could ever imagine.….and with all that money wasted, we could have paid for welfare, schools, and the sexual habits of catfish 100 times over.

So again I say…I think 4 trillion is a fairly cheap price for maintaining our safety and national security while we defend our country from all those AQ wannabe suicide bombers…don’t you?

To help sell the war, the Bush Administration hid the cost, lowered taxes, and borrowed the money. At least Johnson had an income tax surcharge to pay for the Vietnam War.
Totally irresponsible from a fiscal standpoint.

So we borrowed money from China to fight in Iraq,etc ! And our grandkids, great grandkids, etc will repay china for 20+ years ? Why did China loan us $$$$ ?

After serving for 6 years, I highly doubt mindless destruction makes everything better.

Destroying bad guys, no problem.

Mindlessly destroying cities, not smart.

Volunteer civilians going into a warzone to do restructure = dead civilians without protection. That’s why Iraq had so many PMC contracts by the US govt (how did that work out again?).

VA status = true. What do we do? Increase federal funding?

What’s the most efficient way to destroy cities? Nukes.

You want the whole “nuke them before they nuke us” philosophy and bet on it?

Gamble your soul then. Because eventually you’re gonna have to nuke the entire world.

Text excerpt. “According to a team of researchers at Brown University, the U.S. will have spent at least $3.2 trillion and as much as $4.4 trillion, ‘conservatively estimated’, on both direct war appropriations and many of the long-term costs for veterans care, military benefits, and other expenses down the line.”

“William C.” says: “So?”

The militaries hatred for the rest of America just shines through here.
Just another reason why we should tell our soldiers that there is not return ticket. Rome didn’t let it’s legions into the city we should let “whole new batch of criminals roaming the street with combat training and combat experience” into the states. We are supposed to keep the terrorist out not pay for the next Mc Viegh.

You are the most ignorant commenter I have ever seen contribute their opinion. You look down your nose at the military and have clearly NO idea what our democracy is all about. YOU ARE THE POSTER CHILD FOR CONSCRIPTION. So you would have some idea what your arrogant drivil is all about.…..

Can you blame honorable men and women for hating an ungrateful fool like yourself?

FFB, wars are never cheap. I said “So?” about the amount we spend on the DoD budget, which is appropriate for our military. The conflict in the Middle East has wasted a lot of cash and American lives, yet when Washington calls upon our troops to fight, the least they can do is ensure they have gear to do what is asked.

You know, America isn’t a democracy… (or atleast we’re not suppose to be one) were suppose to be a republic…

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fiftyone percent of the people may take away the rights of the other fortynine. — Thomas Jefferson”

You do realize that DC2 is a military rank/rate?

GJ on ignorance.

Why is this the ONLY war being measured in this manner? What did WWII cost using the same approach? Vietnam?

Without a comparison this is a highly questionable approach to measuring the cost of war. Similar to the new jobs “created and saved” and likely being used for the same partisan bashing vs. a sincere analysis of what’s best for the country.

All wars cost.


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