Above: US Soldiers in Afghanistan, the longest war in US history. Source CNN.
Ever since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the War On Terror has cost the U.S. $5.6 trillion. Almost all of this price tag is financed through borrowed money, significantly increasing the national debt.
In the News:
“It’s a good time to reflect on what this war — the longest in U.S. history — has cost Americans and others around the world.
First, the economic costs: According to estimates by the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the war on terror has cost Americans a staggering $5.6 trillion since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. $5.6 trillion. This figure includes not just the Pentagon’s war fund, but also future obligations such as social services for an ever-growing number of post-9/11 veterans.
It means Americans spend $32 million per hour, according to a counter by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Put another way: Since 2001, every American taxpayer has spent almost $24,000 on the wars — equal to the average down payment on a house, a new Honda Accord, or a year at a public university.
Support from Peace Science:
War support is directly linked to how governments choose to finance their wars: debt or taxes.
- Implementing a ‘war tax’ drastically lowers war support because individuals are directly impacted by the costs of war. Decreased public support for war is consistent across party lines, types of conflict, and countries.
- Borrowing money for war allows governments to shield the public from direct costs, leading to higher approval ratings and less oversight.
- “15 Years After The Iraq Invasion, What Are The Costs?” By Stephanie Savell For Other Words. March 21, 2018.
- Peace Science Digest: Volume 3, Issue 2 (Forthcoming). Flores-Macías & Kreps (2017). Borrowing Support for War: The Effect of War Finance on Public Attitudes towardConflict. Journal Of Conflict Resolution, 61(5).