War on terrorism’s price tag: $1 trillion
Military operations since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have cost over $1 trillion, according to a Congressional Research Service report, making the "war on terrorism" second only to World War II in cost to U.S. taxpayers.
“CRS provided its estimates in current year dollars (i.e. the year they were spent) and in constant year dollars (adjusted for inflation), and as a percentage of gross domestic product,” noted Secrecy News editor Steven Aftergood, who obtained the report. “Many caveats apply to these figures, which are spelled out in the CRS report.”
Indeed, the author of the report, Stephen Daggett, wrote that “Comparisons of war costs over a 230-year period are … inherently problematic."
Call them ballpark figures.
“Figures used in this report for the costs of the Vietnam War and of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War are official DOD estimates of the incremental costs of each conflict," he said.
"Costs of post-9/11 military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere are estimates of amounts appropriated to cover war-related expenses. These amounts appear to reflect a broader definition of war-related expenditures than earlier DOD estimates of incremental Vietnam or Persian Gulf War costs."
"Figures are problematic, as well, because of difficulties in comparing prices from one vastly different era to another,” Daggett added, citing inflation and, more significantly, wars that "appear vastly more expensive over time as the sophistication and cost of technology advances, both for military and for civilian purposes.”
| July 19, 2010; 3:34 PM ET
Categories: Backchannel chatter, Financial/business, Intelligence, Military
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