Iraq & Afghan Wars Could Cost U.S. 2.4 Trillion

Iraq & Afghan Wars Could Cost U.S. 2.4 Trillion

October 24, 2007

The total cost, including debt servicing, of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could reach 2.4 trillion dollars by 2017, a report by the Congressional Budget Office found Wednesday.

The report, by the body which provides non-partisan budget analysis for Congress, said higher estimates for spending for the wars could top out at 1.7 trillion dollars by the end of the next ten year period.

Under the most intense scenarios of US military activity, a further 705 billion dollars could be added to the cost by interest payments, assuming the wars continue to be largely financed by government borrowing, the report said.

The estimate contains estimated costs up to 2007 for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other war on terror spending.

It also includes related spending on medical care and disability compensation for veterans, and survivors benefits.

To reach its final estimates, the budget office projected the total cost over the next 10 years under two scenarios, one evisaging a sharp drawdown of US troops abroad, the other under a more gradual drawdown.

“Total spending for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities related to the war on terrorism would amount to between 1.2 trillion and 1.7 trillion for fiscal years 2001 to 2017,” the report said.

For the first time, however, the CBO included debt servicing costs if past and future spending on the war were financed entirely by borrowing.

Under that assumption, interest costs for spending on the war on terror between 2001 and now and up to 2017 would be 415 billion dollars the report said.

A further 290 billion dollars would be added to the price of the wars, if higher end estimates of spending between now and 2017 are added, the report said.

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