Study Estimates Costs of U.S. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at $3.7 Trillion, 225,000 Killed

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Study Estimates Costs of U.S. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at $3.7 Trillion, 225,000 Killed

WASHINGTON - Reuters reports: “When President Barack Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America’s wars.

“Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released on Wednesday.

“The final bill will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project ‘Costs of War’ by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.” See the study at http://costsofwar.org

CATHERINE LUTZ, Catherine_Lutz at brown.edu
Lutz is the project manager for the “Costs of War” study and a department chair at Brown University. She is also the author of numerous books on the U.S. military including “Breaking Ranks” and the “American 20th Century.” Among the study’s findings:

* “While we know how many U.S. soldiers have died in the wars (just over 6000), what is startling is what we don’t know about the levels of injury and illness in those who have returned from the wars. New disability claims continue to pour into the VA, with 550,000 just through last fall. Many deaths and injuries among U.S. contractors have not been identified. …

* “At least 137,000 civilians have died and more will die in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of the fighting at the hands of all parties to the conflict. The armed conflict in Pakistan, which the U.S. helps the Pakistani military fight by funding, equipping and training them, has taken as many lives as the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan. Putting together the conservative numbers of war dead, in uniform and out, brings the total to 225,000. Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions. The current number of war refugees and displaced persons — 7,800,000 — is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Kentucky fleeing their homes. …

* “The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century. Many of the wars’ costs are invisible to Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so have not been counted or assessed. For example, while most people think the Pentagon war appropriations are equivalent to the wars’ budgetary costs, the true numbers are twice that, and the full economic cost of the wars much larger yet. Conservatively estimated, the war bills already paid and obligated to be paid are $3.2 trillion in constant dollars. A more reasonable estimate puts the number at nearly $4 trillion.”

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