Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

‘War rarely goes as planned’: New report tallies trillions US spent in Afghanistan, Iraq

Brown University (Daniel Mennerich/Flickr)
September 05, 2021

The U.S. government has never provided a full accounting of the costs of America’s so-called “forever wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But researchers at Brown University estimate that the U.S. has spent $5.8 trillion on the war in Afghanistan and other conflicts stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. That includes direct and indirect spending on everything from military equipment to homeland security to death gratuities for the families of slain American service members.

The war in Afghanistan has cost $2.3 trillion so far, according to Wednesday’s release from Brown University’s Costs of War Project.

That does not include the massive airlift the Biden administration conducted to evacuate 123,000 people from Afghanistan before the final U.S. military forces left on Monday.

Some costs — such as ongoing medical care for veterans — will continue even though the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan has ended.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden cited the Brown University’s $2 trillion-plus tally in a forceful defense of his decision to withdrawal. He said that amounts to $300 million a day over two decades, and he blasted critics who have argued the U.S. should have kept a small number of American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.

“There’s nothing low-grade or low-risk or low-cost about any war,” Biden said.

More than 2,400 U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan, including 13 who died last week amid the frantic evacuation effort. That suicide bombing also killed more than 160 Afghans. Over the course of the 20-year conflict, more than 46,000 civilians were killed, the Brown report says.

The conflicts in Iraq and Syria have cost another $2 trillion, and other counterterror operations in places such as Somalia and other parts of Africa cost about $355 billion, the report says.

Neta C. Crawford, a Brown University political science professor and author of Wednesday’s report, said it should not be up to private researchers to estimate the price tag of these conflicts.

“One of the most important duties of any great nation when it goes to war is to have a clear-eyed discussion of the costs, risks and benefits of war,” she writes.

But transparency for the post-9/11 conflicts has diminished over time, as officials classified some information and simply stopped reporting other details.

“Every country goes to war believing that they can win, that the fighting and its consequences will be controllable, that the costs of war will be less expensive than diplomatic efforts or sanctions, and that there will be few casualties,” she concluded. “But war rarely goes as planned.”


(c) 2021 USA Today

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.