by Kevin Stoda, Oman
The USA has not won a war in over 25 years. I estimate that in this time the USA's Department of Defense (DOD) along with all costs related to War Spending & Costs between and among the NSA, CIA and various other US Agencies ( now under Homeland Security ) could well equal to approximately 20 Trillion dollars in the period since the Cold War ended and the year 2020.
In these numbers we have to look at care of veterans and victims alike. We have to look at price rises in petroleum that we paid for between 2001 and 2014, and we have to look at the full range of security costs to victims, their families, tax-payers, and soldiers or even to American-paid mercenaries and American-paid-contracting firms.
We also need to look at the cost of things like the Great Wall built or upgraded between the USA in Mexico. (These projects were started in earnest once Homeland Security was created.) For all these costs and out-of-control spending habits due to the wars of terrorism, America is not much safer than it was in 2000. The humongous deficit created for war products, personnel and equipment are leading us to neglect the fighting of climate change and the fighting for healthcare are for ALL--as well as stopping us from fighting for better ways of producing sustainable lifestyles and enabling us and our society to care for our aging population.
Restarting Stiglitz' Research
Recently, I have been trying to find out if Joseph Stiglitz and others have again taken time to add up the total cost of USA wars and fears of wars in the last 17 to 20 years (or even since1989). I am doing this because many Trumpites are still voraciously an loudly claiming that only th Democrats, like Obama, have made the deficit what it is today--supposedly about 20 Trillion dollars. That is, that only Obama (or possibly Clinton) are responsible for the 20 Trillion Dollar national deficit--i.e. that is without any Republican being held (as logic would have it) as responsible for being equally (or more) irresponsible with the Nation's money and deficit (than their opposition counterparts, including Congressmen and Senators as well as president, in Washington D.C) .
I am happy to state that at the time of this writing, the sort of research Stiglitz started over a decade ago is still partially and quietly being undertaken as seriously as it was 10 years ago, i.e. when Stiglitz first wrote and published the $3 Trillion Dollar War(2008).
For example, new aricles show that the Iraq War and the related war in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2015 cost over $5 Trillion. However, I am saddened to say that the entire dimension of research on economic theory and economic multiplyers needs to be expanded and need to be rehashed and further developed in order to more clearly describe and model the militarized American reality too many Americans have come to see as simply a given.
I should note that Stiglitz was ,in fact, mostly focusing on the War in Iraq between 2003 and 2008. Stiglitz did not entail most dimensions of all of the Wars on Terrorism--Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Philippines, Pakistan, Somalia, and elsewhere. Likewise, even the newer articles and research fall short in covering the entire costs of Wars on Terror on the National Budget and on the American political-economy.
For example, I am not certain that the VA and other secret budget costs have been fully accounted for--even in Stiglitz's seminal work.
As well, I believe that the war budgets in all facets of Homeland Security, in the DOD, in NSA, and CIA etc. are more inflationary than has been calculated.
Recall that the housing bubble of last decade, which helped fuel banking & financing shenanigans around the globe. These catastrophes have not been calculated well enough over the years in terms of lost jobs, taxes and revenues for Americans. In fact, millions of Americans have had to go abroad in the past two decades to find good paying jobs and thus have to pay living costs abroad--costs that never make it back to the states.
Aging Americans, veterans and military retirees, too, often have to leave the USA in order to make due or to have surgeries. Their monies too are left abroad due to the fact that the USA's welfare state has been hollowed out as part and parcel of unlimited warfare, defense and security spending