Before we go to war with Iran and North Korea… by Allen Marshall

Why does nobody make a reasonable estimate of the cost of the wars the US starts before they it starts them, and why is it so hard to find out how much they cost once they actually begin. From Allen Marshall of

The drums of war are beating again, as if they ever really stopped. Our leaders and their lapdog media partners are trying to build Iran and North Korea into imminent threats, giving us an excuse to preemptively start new military actions.

What I haven’t heard is any discussion about the costs. I suppose that when your nation is the world’s reserve currency and your central bank can literally print free money, we don’t think much about that. But in fact the costs would be enormous. And before we start charging over the hill, killing millions so we can “free” them, it’s worth considering the costs of our military adventurism since 9/11.

We can start with the financial costs, which are staggering. According to a researcher at Brown University, we’ve spent – or committed to spend – $4.79 trillion through 2016 just on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan! She breaks it out as follows:

Costs to Date

  • DOD and State (Overseas Contingency Operations or OCO), FY 2001-2016: $1,742 billion
  • Other War-Related: estimated additional DOD base budget ($733 B) and Veterans ($213 B) spending, FY 2001-2016: $946 billion
  • Homeland Security spending for prevention and response to terrorism, FY 2001-2016: $548 billion
  • Interest on borrowing for wars, FY 2001-2016: $453 billion

Future obligations

  • Estimated Future Obligations for Veterans Medical and Disability 2017-2053: $1,000 billion
  • FY2017 Request for DOD and State OCO, including Afghanistan, Iraq/Syria: $66 billion
  • FY2017 Request for Homeland Security for prevention and response to terrorism: $37 billion

Note that these numbers don’t include some of our other military campaigns, like our work in countries like Libya and Niger, though we’re involved there and other places as well.

It’s encouraging that this researcher looked at the cost of veteran care, because that’s often overlooked when calculating such costs. And it’s a great segue into looking at the human costs of these efforts.

To continue reading: Before we go to war with Iran and North Korea…


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