I came across an interesting web site today called the National Priorities Project. The site analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. One of the pages, called the Cost of War, lets you see the cost of war to your community.
For example, the state of Utah’s share of the money spent would be $5,277,419,209. For Texas, where my daughter lives, it is $80,460,219,390. You can even see what benefit your city would have received. For Salt Lake City, near where I live, the amount is $347,007,874.
The numbers indicate all of the approved funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to date. These appropriations do not include funds to support the “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, with estimated costs of approximately $30 billion.
By September 30, 2010, the cost of the wars will reach $1.05 trillion. The numbers include both military and non-military spending such as reconstruction. Spending includes only incremental costs, those additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers’ regular pay is not included but combat pay is included.
Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. These numbers do not account for the wars being deficit-financed or that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to these deficits.
It is likely that the true cost of the wars will be a much higher total. It is unfortunate that money is being spent this way when in these tough economic times it could do so much good at home.
I have been surprised how quiet the media has been about the wars. When Democrats surged back to power in 2006 with cries that the war must end, the story was everywhere. Now that we have a Democrat President and Congress surely we should have left Iraq and Afghanistan by now.
At the very least the same media that carried the end-the-war-now message in 2006 should be advocating the same now.
Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte