A well known measure of the cost of America’s most recent wars in the Middle East is around $1.5 trillion. That’s true if you’re only interested in what the Department of Defense has spent, but that doesn’t actually measure the cost to Americans of prosecuting the war. To get a better measure of what the real cost is, the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University has done a more expansive estimate of the costs borne by the American taxpayers. Their new estimate is frightening. Gordon Lubold reports (abridged):
WASHINGTON—U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers $5.6 trillion since they began in 2001,
Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) said studies such as the Brown report are critical because they show the true costs of war, as Congress debates budgets, tax cuts and wartime policies.
The cost of the wars also include borrowing money to pay for them, Mr. Reed said. According to the study, the accumulated interest expenses on the future cost of borrowing money to pay the wars could add an additional $8 trillion to the national debt over the next several decades.
“Even if we stopped [the wars] today, we would add $7.9 trillion to the national debt,” Mr. Reed said.
Read more here.