Pierre Tristam/Candide’s Notebooks, March 28, 2007
It's among the most contentious points of the ongoing wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan, on "terror" and where- and what-have you: How much has actually been spent and wasted? Here are the definitive reports.
Keep in mind: neither includes the $122 billion appropriation being debated now, which would bring total costs up to $600 billion. Keep in mind, too, that most of these figures were not included in the Pentagon's annual budget requests, and that the actual costs of the wars are much higher because they don't reflect spending by the Pentagon out of those separate accounts. Nor do they reflect other collateral costs, such as the billions in additional burdens carried by Veterans Affairs, and of course the untold billions accumulating in social services budgets once the soldiers, their use to the military over with, are released bac to the civilian population, where a third of the soldiers will experience mental health problems that will reverberate well beyond their VA treatment, and where those 25,000-odd wounded soldiers' lives will be equally affected in lost opportunities, lost wages, broken families and so on. The reverberations are endless. The $600 billion figure is, in the end, a shadow of reality. Still, it's necessary to start with the absolutely factual and despair from there.