America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and operations in Pakistan — will cost the country nearly $4 trillion, a figure more than three times higher than President Barack Obama’s most-recent estimate.
When Obama recently announced a drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, he said America’s wars have cost the country $1 trillion dollars.
However, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies estimates the total cost at $3.7 trillion.
Even with the president’s planned drawdown of 33,000 troops, there will still be almost 70,000 troops in Afghanistan at an estimated cost of $1.2 million each, the report says.
Additionally, the report points out, 225,000 people, including men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians have been killed in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan in the 10 years since the Bush Administration’s declaration of the War on Terror.
And as Wired reports:
Even by the Institute’s own admission, the death toll is far higher. The Institute only counts direct violence that killed civilians — bombings, gunshot wounds, missile strikes, whatever. It doesn’t include indirect deaths, as occur when war creates refugees that can’t find food, clean water or adequate medical care. Nor does it include the lost limbs and emotional suffering that are a part of every war. Nor does it attempt to count civilian deaths in clandestine conflicts like Yemen or Somalia.
Meanwhile, Catherine Lutz, one of the study’s co-authors said costs such as long-term care of wounded veterans, and projected war spending from 2012 through 2020, were included in Brown’s figures.
“The reasonable estimate is approximately $4 trillion for the war, up to… today and including some of the future costs that we are obligated to pay for veterans care,” Lutz said. “In addition, another $1 trillion in interest payments on the debt, we estimate will be required through 2020.”
And report co-author, Boston University Political Science Professor Neta Crawford, said other costs include lost opportunities because money was spent on war material.
“So if you think about the annual budget of these wars, let us say it averages $130 billion each year for the last 10 years, then you get more than 900,000 jobs in education that could have been created,” Crawford said.