Cost of War to American Taxpayers? Don’t Ask
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Common sense would dictate that a country that’s spent 10 years fighting two different wars would at least keep track of the fiscal sacrifice that’s been made. But the truth is that Uncle Sam really can’t say for sure how deep it’s had to dig to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.
Officially, Congress has approved $1.36 trillion for war spending through fiscal year 2011. But that’s not a complete answer, because in addition to specific appropriations for the wars, the Department of Defense spent an unknown amount of its regular budget over the past decade—which totaled $5.2 trillion—on fighting Iraqi and Afghan insurgents.
A study produced at Brown University took a stab and estimated that the wars have consumed $3.7 trillion, or more than $12,000 per American. Among the costs are $20 billion a year to bring air-conditioning to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. To give some perspective, the State Department’s entire foreign operation budget for FY 2012 is less than $33 billion…and that includes more than $4 billion to be spent in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Another assessment by Chris Hellman of the National Priorities Project reckoned that the Pentagon burned through an average of $9.7 billion a month from the time of the Afghanistan invasion in 2001 through the end of April this year (this includes the Iraq war too, as well as various aspects of homeland security spending).
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
True Cost of Afghan, Iraq Wars Is Anyone's Guess (by Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers)
How Safe Are You?: What Almost $8 Trillion in National Security Spending Bought You (by Chris Hellman, TomDispatch.com)
Cost of U.S. Wars: $4 Trillion and 225,000 Dead (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Antiquated Computers Run U.S. Government, Including Emergency Nuclear Force Messaging on 1970s-Era Floppy Discs
- Federal Judge Issues Unusual Ruling Calling for Probation Instead of Prison in Drug Case, Citing Post-Conviction Consequences
- Big Oil Shareholders Reveal Support for Environmental Proposals, Even as They Reject Them
- Female CEOs Earn more than Males, but Make Up Only 5% of Executive Leaders
- Senate Bill Would Require Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns