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Cost of US wars since 9/11.... At least $3.7 trillion, study finds

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by BAK, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Reuters [​IMG]
    updated 1 hour 3 minutes ago2011-06-29T09:30:39

    NEW YORK - 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 Wednesday.

    The final bill will reach at least $3.7 trillion and could be as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project "Costs of War" by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.
    In the 10 years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan to root out the al-Qaida leaders behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, spending on the conflicts totaled $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion.
    Those numbers will continue to soar when considering often overlooked costs such as long-term obligations to wounded veterans and projected war spending from 2012 through 2020.
    The estimates do not include at least $1 trillion more in interest payments coming due and many billions more in expenses that cannot be counted, according to the study.

    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, healthcare, and nutrition. An additional 365,000 have been wounded and 7.8 million people - equal to the combined population of Connecticut and Kentucky - have been displaced.

    "Costs of War" brought together more than 20 academics to uncover the expense of war in lives and dollars, a daunting task given the inconsistent recording of lives lost and what the report called opaque and sloppy accounting by the U.S. Congress and the Pentagon.
    The report underlines the extent to which war will continue to stretch the U.S. federal budget, which is already on an unsustainable course due to an aging American population and skyrocketing healthcare costs.
    It also raises the question of what the United States gained from its multi-trillion-dollar investment.
    "I hope that when we look back, whenever this ends, something very good has come out of it," Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, told Reuters in Washington.
    In one sense, the report measures the cost of 9/11, the American shorthand for the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
    Nineteen hijackers plus other al-Qaida plotters spent an estimated $400,000 to $500,000 on the plane attacks that killed 2,995 people and caused $50 billion to $100 billion in economic damages.

    Interactive: Al-Qaida timeline (on this page)What followed were three wars in which $50 billion amounts to a rounding error. For every person killed on Sept. 11, another 73 have been killed since.
    'Rigorous assessment'
    Was it worth it? That is a question many people want answered, said Catherine Lutz, head of the anthropology department at Brown and co-director of the study.

    "We decided we needed to do this kind of rigorous assessment of what it cost to make those choices to go to war," she said. "Politicians, we assumed, were not going to do that kind of assessment."
    The report arrives as Congress debates how to cut a U.S. deficit projected at $1.4 trillion this year, roughly a 10th of which can be attributed to direct war spending.
    What did the United States gain for its trillions?

    Strategically, the results for the United States are mixed.

    Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are dead, but Iraq and Afghanistan are far from stable democracies. Iran has gained influence in the Gulf and the Taliban, though ousted from government, remain a viable military force in Afghanistan.
    "The United States has been extremely successful in protecting the homeland," said George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR, a U.S.-based intelligence company.
    "Al-Qaida in Afghanistan was capable of mounting very sophisticated, complex, operations on an intercontinental basis. That organization with that capability has not only been substantially reduced, it seems to have been shattered," Friedman said.

    Economically, the results are also mixed. War spending may be adding half a percentage point a year to growth in the gross domestic product but that has been more than offset by the negative effects of deficit spending, the report concludes.

    Some U.S. government reports have attempted to assess the costs of war, notably a March 2011 Congressional Research Service report that estimated post-Sept. 11 war funding at $1.4 trillion through 2012.

    The Congressional Budget Office projected war costs through 2021 at $1.8 trillion.
    A ground-breaking private estimate was published in the 2008 book "The Three Trillion Dollar War," by Linda Bilmes, a member of the Watson Institute team, and Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
    That work revealed how much cost was added by interest on deficit spending and medical care for veterans.
    The report draws on those sources and pieces together many others for a more comprehensive picture.
    The report also makes special note of Pakistan, a front not generally mentioned along with Iraq and Afghanistan. War has probably killed more people in Pakistan than in neighboring Afghanistan, the report concludes.
    Politicians throughout history have underestimated the costs of war, believing they will be shorter and less deadly than reality, said Neta Crawford, the other co-director of the report and a political science professor at Boston University.

    Interactive: Timeline: The war in Afghanistan (on this page)

    The report said former President George W. Bush's administration was "shamelessly politically driven" in underestimating Iraq war costs before the 2003 invasion.
    Most official sources continue to overlook costs, largely because of a focus on just Pentagon spending, Crawford said.
    "Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war," Obama said in last week's speech on reducing U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan .
    At the very least, he was rounding down by $200 billion to $300 billion, when counting U.S. congressional appropriations for the post-9/11 wars.
    "I don't know what the president knows, but I wish it were a trillion," Crawford said. "It would be better if it were a trillion.

    Complicated process
    In theory, adding up the dollars spent and lives lost should be a statistical errand. The U.S. Congress appropriates the money, and a life lost on battlefield should have a death certificate and a casket to match.

    The team quickly discovered, however, the task was far more complicated.
    Specific war spending over the past 10 years, when expressed in 2011 dollars, comes to $1.3 trillion, the "Costs of War" project found. When it comes to accounting for every dollar, that $1.3 trillion is merely a good start.
    Since the wars have been financed by deficit spending, interest must be paid - $185 billion of accumulated so far.
    The Pentagon has received an additional $326 billion to $652 billion beyond what can be attributed to the war appropriations, the study found.
    Homeland security spending has totaled another $401 billion so far that can be traced to Sept. 11. War-related foreign aid: another $74 billion.

    Then comes caring for U.S. veterans of war. Nearly half of the 1.25 million who have served in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan have used their status as veterans to make health or disability claims at an expense of $32.6 billion to date.

    Those costs will soar over the next 40 years as veterans age. The report estimates the U.S. obligations to the veterans will reach $589 billion to $934 billion through 2050.
    So far, those numbers add up to a low estimate of $2.9 trillion and a moderate estimate of $3.6 trillion in costs to the U.S. Treasury. No high estimate was offered.
    "We feel a conservative measure of costs is plenty large to attract attention," said report contributor Ryan Edwards, an economist who studied the war impact on deficit spending.

    Those numbers leave out hundreds of billions in social costs not born by the U.S. taxpayer but by veterans and their families: another $295 billion to $400 billion, increasing the range of costs to date to some $3.2 trillion to $4 trillion.

    That's a running total through fiscal 2011. Add another $453 billion in war-related spending projected for 2012 to 2020 and the total grows to $3.668 trillion to $4.444 trillion.
    If the financial costs are elusive, so too is the human toll.
    The report estimates between 224,475 and 257,655 have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, though those numbers give a false sense of precision. There are many sources of data on civilian deaths, most with different results.
    The civilian death toll in Iraq - 125,000 - and the number of Saddam's security forces killed in invasion - 10,000 - are loose estimates. The U.S. military does not publish a thorough accounting.
    "We don't do body counts," Tommy Franks, the U.S. commander in Iraq, famously said after the fall of Saddam in 2003.
    In Afghanistan, the civilian death count ranges from 11,700 to 13,900.
    For Pakistan, where there is little access to the battlefield and the United States fights mostly through aerial drone attacks, the study found it impossible to distinguish between civilian and insurgent deaths.

    The numbers only consider direct deaths - people killed by bombs or bullets. Estimates for indirect deaths in war vary so much that researchers considered them too arbitrary to report.
    "When the fighting stops, the indirect dying continues. It's in fact worse than land mines. The healthcare system is still in bad shape. People are still suffering the effects of malnutrition and so on," Crawford said.
    Even where the United States does do body counts - for the members of the military - the numbers may come up short of reality, said Lutz, the study's co-director. When veterans return home, they are more likely to die in suicides and automobile accidents.
    "The rate of chaotic behavior," she said, "is high."
  2. Ghost

    Ghost JF-Expert Member

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    What's seems to be the problem?? If someone can afford it, so be it!
    US ni nchi peke duniani inayoweza kuweka askari wake nchi nyingine na ku wamaintain kwa kila kitu huko kwa zaidi ya miaka 10.
  3. FaizaFoxy

    FaizaFoxy JF-Expert Member

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    " Osama bin Laden... says he wants to destroy the American economy in order to make it impossible for the United States to influence the world. 'If their economy ends, they will busy themselves away from the enslavement of oppressed people.... It is important to concentrate on the destruction of the American economy.'" (NYT, 28Dec01)

    Osama won the war!

    RAJ PATEL JR JF-Expert Member

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    If your annual GDP is $ 14 Trillion, then 3.7 Trillion in 10 years is just a change!

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    Hizo pesa zingetumika kwenye social welfare, wananchi wa Marekani wangekuwa na maisha bora sana. Lakini ilo gape kati ya walionacho na walala hoi ni kubwa kwa kiwango cha kutisha kwa nchi kama U.S.A.
  6. MaxShimba

    MaxShimba JF-Expert Member

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    It sad to hear from you muham-madan.

    RAJ PATEL JR JF-Expert Member

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    America is a pure capitalist society (Supercapitalism).
    Social welfare promotes lazy folks and bums. European governments have been promoting social welfare and look at what's happening in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and the list will be long. If you've got "brain" you won't die poor in America. US is still the land of opportunities and that's why there are thousands of Chinese nationals hiding inside the shipping containers busted on a daily basis by the department of homeland security (ICE/INS) along the California ports.
    That's why you have millions of Mexicans and Latinos attempting to cross the border everyday.
    That's why you have people all over the world including Tanzanians attempting to emigrate to the US.
    That's why even the oil rich sheikhs all over Middle East have invested their wealth in the US
    That's why even the Europeans are nowadays flocking to the US for jobs (hi-tech)

    RAJ PATEL JR JF-Expert Member

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    Social welfare promotes lazy people and bums! You saw how Europe is lagging behind because of welfarism. Look at what is happening in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and the list will go on and on
  9. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]IMF warns US about its 'fragile' economy[/h]
    Barack Obama is locked in talks with Congress over raising America's $14.3 trillion debt limit

    Continue reading the main story [h=2]Related Stories[/h]
    The International Monetary Fund has warned that the US debt burden is on an "unsustainable trajectory".
    But the IMF said the US must avoid a sharp correction in order to protect its fragile economic recovery.
    The IMF report forecast economic growth of 2.5% this year and 2.7% in 2012, which is below the Federal Reserve's own estimate of 3.3% next year.
    "The [US] recovery has proceeded at a relatively slow pace... and has recently weakened," the IMF said.
    The US budget deficit is projected to reach $1.4 trillion this year, above last year's $1.29 trillion gap and just below a record $1.41 trillion reached in 2009.
    In its annual review of the US economy, the IMF urged Washington to reach a swift agreement on a deal to raise the government's borrowing limit.
    The Obama administration and Congress are locked in negotiations over making budget cuts before approval is given to raise the debt ceiling.
    The US Treasury already has reached the existing $14.3 trillion legal limit on the nation's debt and needs to raise the debt ceiling by 2 August to avoid a default.
    Failure to agree a debt limit deal would cause a "severe shock" to the economy, the IMF said, and could lead to a downgrade in the country's coveted AAA debt rating and send interest rates soaring.

    "These risks would also have significant global repercussions, given the central role of US Treasury bonds in world financial markets," the IMF said.
  10. SirAF

    SirAF Member

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    ukijua kutafuta pesa... kutumia siyo ishu kabisa......

    RAJ PATEL JR JF-Expert Member

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    National debt has been in a circle since the 1950's. Remember US has been in debt in the 1980's and 1990's and was in surplus by the early 2000's. The surplus will return again if this European-socilalist president Obama get out of the office.
  12. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Debt ceiling delay would be 'chaotic'By Jeanne Sahadi @CNNMoney June 28, 2011: 3:16 PM ET
    [​IMG]One estimate of the hard choices Treasury could face if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Here's what Americans can look forward to if lawmakers fail to raise the debt ceiling in time: Treasury would not be able to pay between 40% and 45% of the 80 million payments it needs to make every month.
    That's the estimate from a new analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington founded by four former Democratic and Republican Senate majority leaders.

    A delay in raising the debt ceiling could affect Social Security checks, food stamps, federal worker and military paychecks, government contractor bills and payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers.
    "Handling all payments for important and popular programs (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, active duty pay) will quickly become impossible," the report's authors noted.
    Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said that by Aug. 2 he will no longer have enough money on hand every day to pay all the government's bills in full and on time. The government reached the legal borrowing limit on May 16 and has been taking "extraordinary measures" since to keep the country out of default.

    0:00 / 3:17 PIMCO sees debt ceiling catastrophe
    To ensure it has enough cash on hand to make a $29 billion interest payment to investors on Aug. 15 -- among other payments -- the government would have to defer 44% of federal spending, and that would affect the broader economy, according to the BPC study.

    Treasury is expected to update its estimate of the so-called "drop dead date" at the start of July, but no one expects the date to change much.

    It's impossible for anyone to know exactly how much the government will take in and have to pay out on any given day in August. The BPC based its estimates on the revenue and outlays reported by Treasury from August 2009 and August 2010.
    [h=2]Bond experts to Congress: Don't mess it up[/h]It's also impossible to say yet just how the government would prioritize payments. It's fair to assume, however, that picking who gets paid and who gets put off will be a mess technically and socially because it's never been done before.

    "The reality would be chaotic," the report states.
    The going assumption is that Geithner will do everything he canto pay bond investors, so the country doesn't go into a formal default.

    "The Treasury Secretary will squirrel away money like -- well, a squirrel. He may have to delay some payments starting days or weeks early to prepare for big important payments later," said Joe Minarik, who served as the chief economist of the White House Budget Office in the Clinton administration.
    And as the BPC study noted, the whole event could cause a public uproar and market unrest, the outcomes of which is anyone's guess. [​IMG]

    First Published: June 28, 2011: 2:05 PM ET


    SHERRIF ARPAIO JF-Expert Member

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    Sijui mnabishania nini wakati budget ya petagon ya mwaka mzima peke yake ni more than 500 billion USD. Kama vita miaka yoote 10 imecost 3 trillion kwa size ya uchumi wa marekani hiyo sio big deal sana sababu ni kama 100 billion USD kwa mwaka. hiyo ni budget ya state moja
  14. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    Nakwambia hivi wangetumia hizo pesa kwenye social welfare, wanancgi wa USA wangekuwa na hali bora sana za kimaisha, maana hata matibabu kama huna hele ndio imetoka tena.
  15. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    Nasikia kuna pesa wamekopeshwa China.
  16. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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  17. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Obama: US debt talks failure 'could restart recession'[/h]


    President Obama: "If not now, when?"

    [h=2]Related Stories[/h]
    Failure to raise the US debt ceiling could trigger another recession and throw millions out of work, President Barack Obama has said.
    Mr Obama is struggling to marshal support for a budget package that would include some $4tn (£2.5tn) of cuts.
    But ahead of renewed budget talks with Republicans on Monday, Mr Obama said the stalemate would be resolved within a "reasonable period of time".
    The US risks defaulting on its debts on 2 August, when the budget runs out.
    Speaking before meeting with Republicans over the nation's federal budget, Mr Obama said it would be "not acceptable" for lawmakers to fail to raise the US debt ceiling.
    "We don't risk US default on our obligations because we can't put politics aside," the president said.
    But Mr Obama said there would be no deal on raising the government's debt limit if Republicans would not compromise.
    "I don't see a path to a deal if they don't budge. Period," the president said, adding that a stop-gap resolution to the budget stalemate would not be considered.
    "I will not sign a 30-day, or 60-day or 90-day extension," the president said.
    Later, Republican House Speaker John Boehner agreed the debt limit must be raised but said the House would not pass a bill that included tax increases.
    Mr Boehner's remarks were a reiteration of what the Republicans have described as their bottom line in negotiations.
    The party, buoyed by a restive faction of newly elected anti-tax conservatives, is opposing the Obama proposals because they include plans for some tax rises.
    Meanwhile, Mr Obama's Democratic allies are no more enthusiastic about proposals to cut social welfare and Medicaid.
    The US currently runs an estimated $1.5 trillion (£932bn) annual budget deficit, and has already exceeded the national debt limit of $14.3tn.
    The government's borrowing authority is limited by statute.
    'Taking on heat' On Monday, President Obama criticised politicians who have said the debt ceiling does not need to be raised.
    Continue reading the main story [h=2]US federal government debt[/h]

    • US government currently runs a $1.5tn budget deficit, requiring it to issue debt in the form of treasury bills, bonds and other securities
    • Public debt was $14.3tn on 31 May, up from $10.6tn when Mr Obama took office in January 2009
    • Most is held by the public, with the rest held in US government accounts
    • Congress has voted to raise the US debt limit 10 times since 2001
    Sources: US Treasury, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office
    "It's irresponsible. They know better," Mr Obama said.
    The president added that he was "prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done".
    Mr Obama also said Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, faced a potential revolt from his caucus if a deal was not made before the 2 August deadline.
    The president added that Republicans should take a political risk by "taking on their sacred cows", something the Democratic president said he was willing to do.
    "I am prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done," Mr Obama said.
    'Bigger savings' On Sunday, eight top Senate and House of Representatives leaders met at the White House.
    Mr Boehner said on Saturday that he favoured a less ambitious target for debt reduction of $2tn.
    White House aides have previously insisted Mr Obama would hold out for bigger savings, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has also insisted that the deadline for a deal could not be extended.
    When it came to the crunch in the past Congress regularly voted to raise the debt ceiling, giving government access to the cash it needed.
    This year, however, newly-empowered Republicans are determined to prevent any tax increases and want to see aggressive measures to reduce the deficit in exchange for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling.
    A group of Republican and Democratic members of Congress led by Mr Biden had identified about $2tn in cuts in talks over May and June but those ended in an impasse.
  18. Chamoto

    Chamoto JF-Expert Member

    Jul 12, 2011
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    Stop contradicting yourself, Raj! The surplus you're talking about was the result of the same socialist policy made by the Clinton administration after the Regan and Bush Sr raped the economy by cutting tax to the ultra rich. The same policy rape the economy again when Bush W was in the office