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Cost of Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

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$687 billion for Iraq, $228 billion for Afghanistan

Congress has appropriated another $84.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the remainder of the 2009 fiscal year ending September 30, 2009. The Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama on June 24, 2009, allocates $45.5 billion for war-related actions in Iraq and $39.4 billion to Afghanistan[1] [2].

These new appropriations bring total war-related spending for Iraq to $687 billion and for Afghanistan to $228 billion, with a total war cost of $915.1 billion[3]. National Priorities Project (NPP) updated its Cost of War counters to reflect the new totals and to show the local costs of these wars to states and many cities. Please note that the cost of war in Iraq has decreased since our last estimate because Congress allocated a larger proportion of war spending to Afghanistan than originally estimated. NPP's trade-off tool allows you to explore what services could be obtained for your community with the same amount of money that Congress has appropriated for war spending.

President Obama's initial supplemental request (delivered April 2009) included approximately $77 billion for U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which was approximately 90% of all requested funding. The final supplemental increased war-related spending by nearly $8 billion, yet total war spending now accounts for about 80% of supplemental spending.

"No matter how we slice the numbers, we must consider that each dollar spent to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is a dollar not spent to further some other endeavor. For example, Massachusetts taxpayers will contribute well over $2 billion toward the total cost of this supplemental. For the same amount of money, legislators could provide four years of healthcare for 95,000 people, send 56,000 students to four years of college or cut Massachusetts's state deficit in half," notes Jo Comerford, Executive Director, National Priorities Project.

President Obama's FY 2010 budget calls for an additional $130 billion in war spending, meaning that the U.S. will likely reach the $1 trillion marker by next spring.

[1] Of the Congress approved supplemental spending, NPP analyses show that $84.8 billion is for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes Department of Defense provisions including Military Personnel, Operations & Maintenance, Procurement, and Military Construction; Department of State provisions including Diplomatic and Consular Programs and Economic Support; and Department of Justice provisions.
[2] Previous NPP analyses have attributed 80% unspecified war funding to operations in Iraq and 20% to operations in Afghanistan. In light of the troop level reductions announced thus far for Iraq and increases announced for Afghanistan in 2009, we have made new estimates of approximately 58% unspecified funding to Iraq and 42% to Afghanistan.
[3] Total war funding to date includes all approved funds for Afghanistan since FY2001 plus all approved funds for Iraq since FY2003.
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Lawrence J. Gist II is a dedicated pro bono attorney and counselor at law, adjunct professor of legal studies at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, CA, a member of the board of directors of the Institute of Indigenous Knowledges, and a veteran (more...)
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