Over the last few years I’ve published several articles examining the financial costs of the United States’ global “War on Terror”, following the calamitous terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. However, even I’m taken aback by the latest admission from the US Department of Defence which calculates that the direct military costs of the conflict may exceed $1.46 trillion. The revelation comes from a post by the non-partisan Federation of American Scientists summarising the latest DOD figures. The costs include:
“…military operational costs, support for deployed troops, and transportation of personnel and equipment. The term does not extend to indirect costs such as veterans’ benefits, long-term health care for injured personnel, reconstruction or post-conflict stabilization programs.
When such broader costs are included, the total expenditures surpassed $1.6 trillion in 2014, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. Others put total costs much higher.
The American Revolution cost the equivalent of $2.4 billion today, according to another CRS estimate, while World War II cost around $4 trillion.”
The “much higher” estimate, according to some sources, may exceed the two trillion dollar mark. To put that in context, in 2016 the US federal government collected $2.99 trillion in tax revenues and spent a total of $3.54 trillion.