The True Cost of War
We often hear about the number of American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of yesterday, 454 killed in Afghanistan; 3,849 killed in Iraq — and a total of 30,205 young Americans severely wounded. That cost in young American lives is unacceptable.
But there’s another cost, equally unacceptable: the actual cost in dollars and lost productivity — which is a lot higher than the Bush administration would have us believe. In fact, a new congressional study, released yesterday, concludes that the total cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is almost double what the White House claims.
The White House puts the cost of both wars at $804 billion. That’s bad enough. But, after examining both the direct and indirect costs — including disruptions to the American economy, lost productivity and the tripling of oil prices since the wars began — the bipartisan Joint Economic Committee puts the actual, true cost of Afghanistan and Iraq at $1.5 trillion — or $20,200 for every family of four in America. And, of course, with no plan for financing the war, all of that cost has simply been piled on to our national debt.
How much more evidence do we need? Whether Afghanistan or Iraq, in terms of both lives and dollars, this is a war we can no longer afford.
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