That astonishing number is according to International Business Times, what the GWOT – Great War on Terror – has cost the US – some $1.46 Trillion total – since the day planes were flown into the World Trade Center and other targets on Sept. 11, 2001. This is only the direct costs of war. This does not include any continuing cost caused by the war such as disability costs for injured soldiers.
“The Department of Defense periodically releases a “cost of war” report. The newly released version, obtained by the Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News blog, covers the time from the September 11th terrorist attacks through mid-2017.
The Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2014 and Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 account for the bulk of expenses: more than $1.3 trillion. The continuing presence in Afghanistan and aerial anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria since 2014 have cost a combined $120 billion.
The report’s costs include only direct war-related expenses such as operating and maintaining bases, procuring equipment, and paying for and feeding troops. It most notably does not include the expense of veteran’s benefits for troops who serve in these wars or the intelligence community’s expenses related to Global War on Terror.
A 2011 paper from Harvard Kennedy School professor Linda Bilmes estimated the cost of veterans’ benefits as $600 billion to $1 trillion over the next 40 years. That number was based on 482,364 veterans who were receiving compensation for disability connected to service as of February 2011. Since then, the number of veterans receiving compensation for service-related disability has increased drastically.”
One and a half trillion dollars is a number that is so huge it seems unreal. It is simply hard to visualize what that number of dollars means. However, when it is broken down to a number that people can understand we can visualize what that kind of money means. $250 million per day is a number many of us can understand.
As noted above, Former World War 2 Supreme Commander and then President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, understood exactly what those costs of wars meant:
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Republicans in congress just passed a tax bill that will hand off to rich people an eerily similar amount of money – $1.5 Trillion over 10 years (about $410 million/day by my calculations) – in the form of tax cuts. Once again these tax cuts will be schools that are not built and highways that are not fixed. These tax cuts will also be used to justify cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education itself plus pretty much any form social safety net program.
The wars show no signs of ending. The current Vice President stated during an unannounced trip to Afghanistan that the US was “here to see this through.” What exactly Pence means by “this” wasn’t totally clear. The assumption would be that Pence was continuing the country’s involvement in the never ending war in the Middle East. From the beginning there have been moving goalposts and little accomplished, yet we continue to throw money and lives down the hole.
$250 million a day for at least one never ending war; more than that daily for tax cut legislation the Republicans just passed for their donors.
This is our money, folks. Where is the outrage at how they are spending it?