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Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – As the Obama administration comes under increasing pressure to get more involved militarily in Syria to overthrow the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a new Harvard University study has calculated the past and future costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
According to the study, those two wars will cost the United States a staggering $4 trillion to $6 trillion.
While the study points out that $2 trillion already has been spent for each of the two wars, this is only a fraction of the total costs for the long-term commitments and the expenses for medical care and disability benefits to veterans that will have to continue for decades.
The initial $2 trillion to fight the wars in Iran and Afghanistan came from borrowed money.
“The decision to finance the war operations entirely through borrowing has already added some $2 trillion to the national debt, contributing about 20 percent of the total national debt added between 2001 and 2012,” the report said.
In addition to waging the actual conflict, these costs include spending on medical care for the wounded soldiers and repairs and replacement of military equipment for them.
The study also points out that this cost includes an increase in military benefits which the Bush administration initiated in 2001. Costs to cope with veterans’ rising health care and disability are expected to rise over the next 40 years.
To date, there have been some 2.5 million service men and women who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
There were 6,658 U.S. military fatalities as of March 8, 2013, which didn’t include contractors, coalition partners, Iraqi and Afghan partners and civilians, according to the study.
By September 2012, some 1.56 million U.S. troops had returned home and left active duty, thereby becoming eligible for veterans medical care and benefits.
These veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are using VA medical services and applying for disability benefits at much higher rates than in previous years, a development which has created a tremendous backlog in processing claims.
The bottom-line price tag of up to $6 trillion also includes the continuing costs for nation-building in both countries that will be ongoing for many years to come.
“The large sums borrowed to finance operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will also impose substantial long-term debt servicing costs,” the study added.
The Iraqi war ended in December 2011 while the Afghanistan war is to wind down by the end of 2014. In both cases, the U.S. is expected to continue expenditures to try and ensure the stability of both countries through training and equipment.
The Harvard report is called “The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets.”
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