Press Room: Press Releases

"Costs of War" Estimates up to $4 Trillion Price Tag for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan

06-29-11

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 29, 2011

NEW REPORT AND INTERACTIVE WEBSITE LAUNCH

"Costs of War" Estimates up to $4 Trillion Price Tag for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan
The United States will spend a total of  $3.2 to 4 trillion paying for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan according to a new report by scholars with the Eisenhower Research Project, including William D. Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. The group's "Costs of War" project reveals new estimates for the human and economic costs of the United States' military response to 9/11.

WASHINGTON, DC – Nearly ten years after the declaration of the War on Terror, the United States is on track to spend a total of $3.2 to $4 trillion paying for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan according to a new report by the Eisenhower Research Project based at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.
 
William D. Hartung of the Center for International Policy was one of more than 20 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, and political scientists contributing to the project, which provides new estimates of the total war cost as well as other direct and indirect human and economic costs of the United States' military response to 9/11.  The project is the first comprehensive analysis of all U.S., Coalition, and civilian casualties, including U.S. contractors. It also assesses many of the wars' hidden costs, such as interest on war-related debt and veterans' benefits.
 
Among the group's main findings:

  • The United States' wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan will cost up to $4 trillion through 2050.
  • Over 31,000 people in uniform and military contractors have died, including the Iraqi and Afghan security forces and other military forces allied with the U.S.
  • At least 137,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by all parties to these conflicts.
  • The wars have created over 5.6 million refugees among Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis.
  • Obligations to care for veterans will likely total between $600 billion and $1 trillion. This number is not included in most analyses of the costs of war and will not peak until mid-century.
 
“This project’s accounting is important because information is vital for the public’s democratic deliberation on questions of foreign policy," said Catherine Lutz, co-director of the Eisenhower Research Project. "As the public, Congress and the President weigh the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, the deficit, security, public investments, and reconstruction, at home and abroad, this information is essential.”
 
Hartung looked at the most obvious beneficiary of current wars: the military-industrial complex. Private corporations now reap more than $400 billion per year in Pentagon contracts, the highest levels since World War II. Just five companies – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics – account for over one-third of these awards.
 
“Between the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rapid growth of the Pentagon’s base budget, the 2000s have been good years to be a U.S. weapons contractor,” noted Hartung. “As the wars wind down and the deficit puts pressure on the Pentagon budget, expect the arms lobby to put on a full court press to keep military spending as high as possible.”
 
The Eisenhower Research Project is a new, non-partisan, non-profit, scholarly initiative dedicated to studying the effects of militarization on U.S. society, democracy and foreign policy. The Project derives its purpose from President Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address, in which he warned of the 'unwarranted influence' of the military-industrial complex and appealed for an 'alert and knowledgeable citizenry' as the only force able to balance the often contrasting demands of security and liberty in the democratic state.


The full report is available online  | Download the executive summary [PDF]

The website offers the project's findings on the human, economic and
social + political costs, as well as alternatives and recommendations.

###
Contact:

William D. Hartung
whartung@ciponline.org
Office: 212-431-5805
Cell: 917-923-3202
__________________________