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Permanent War: Longstanding US Policy

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VA/DOD officials consistently understate problems. Independent reports say nearly half of Afghan and Iraq combatants and vets have emotional and/or physical combat injuries.

Bilmes estimates around one-third of them suffer from "anxiety, depression, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

About a quarter million incurred traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Around 56% (1.56 million) need medical care for life. Half of them "already applied for permanent disability benefits."

War tolls go largely unreported. Hundreds of thousands of service members won't ever be the same again. Physical and emotional damage is permanent.

Amounts spent ahead will increase exponentially. Overall war costs impose "substantial long-term debt servicing" obligations.

"The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come."

Other costs include enormous amounts for military equipment replenishment. VA budgets increased from $61.4 billion in 2001 to $140.3 billion currently.

Afghan/Iraq medical care and disability costs so far total $134 billion. An additional longterm $836 billion is needed. It's true for all US wars. After they end, decades of expensive care remain.

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