Friday, January 9, 2015

In last thirteen years US has spent $1.6 trillion on war-making.

In the 13 years since the September 11 attacks, the Congressional Research Office (CRS) estimates that the U.S. has spent $1.6 trillion on making war. The total is to the end of September 2014 the end of the fiscal year for the US government.
The expenses include the following: ".. the cost of military operations, the training of security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, weapons maintenance, base support, reconstruction, embassy maintenance, foreign aid, and veterans' medical care, as well as war-related intelligence operations not tracked by the Pentagon. " While the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq and now most from Afghanistan have reduced expenses, funding continues at very high levels in spite of across-the-board spending cuts in March of 2013. The sequestration cuts came from the Defense Department's regular peace-time budget.

 There is a separate budget for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) the new-fangled name adopted for the now out-of-fashion Global War on Terror: A March 2011 Congressional report[186] estimated spending related to the war through fiscal year 2011 at $1.2 trillion, and that spending through 2021 assuming a reduction to 45,000 troops would be $1.8 trillion. A June 2011 academic report[186] covering additional areas of spending related to the war estimated it through 2011 at $2.7 trillion, and long term spending at $5.4 trillion including interest. In the budget for 2015 the US Congress actually gave more for war-making activities than was requested by the Obama administration: "The Administration's FY 2015 request of $71.4 billion should have set the bar for war spending, and appropriators even cut more than $4 billion from two initiatives in the request. Instead of using this $67 billion total, lawmakers increased war spending to $73.7 billion, nearly $7 billion above what otherwise would have been the case." The Congress is even more reluctant to cut military spending than the Obama administration.

 The CRS estimate of costs does not include the costs of medical care for veterans who are disabled, and some other costs. Neta Crawford, of Boston University, puts the potential costs of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars plus assistance to Pakistan since 2001 at $4.4 trillion. This includes $316 billion in interest costs plus another $1 trillion in costs for veteran's care through 2054. The appended video shows the cost per day, hour, and even minute. Crawford's paper on the costs can be found here.


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