Post-9/11 wars cost U.S. at least $3.7 trillion: Report

NEW YORK: The cost of U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan—since 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks—will run to at least $3.7 trillion, a study disclosed on Wednesday. The staggering figure could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, with the death of up to 258,000 people, according to research by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. In human terms, 224,000 to 258,000 people have died directly from warfare – including 125,000 civilians in Iraq. Many more have died indirectly, from the loss of clean drinking water, health care and nutrition. Another 365,000 have been wounded and 7.8 million have been displaced. In the 10 years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan to root out the Al-Qaeda leaders behind the September 11, 2001 attacks, spending on the conflicts totalled up to $2.7 trillion. Those numbers will continue to soar when considering often overlooked costs including obligations to wounded veterans and projected war spending from 2012 through 2020. They also do not include at least $1 trillion in interest payments and expenses.The study, ‘Costs of War’, brought together more than 20 academics to uncover the expenses of war. It underlines the extent to which war will continue to stretch the U.S. federal budget and questions what has been gained from the massive investment.Catherine Lutz, head of the anthropology department at Brown and co-director of the study, said: “We decided we needed to do this kind of rigourous assessment of what it cost to make those choices to go to war.  Politicians, we assumed, were not going to do that kind of assessment. – APP