The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will reach between $4 trillion and $6 trillion - veteran costs peak in 40 years

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 10/29/2010 - 22:07.

Already, we've spent more than $1 trillion in Iraq, not counting the $700 billion consumed each year by the Pentagon budget.
And spending in Iraq and Afghanistan now comes to more than $3 billion weekly

There is an important update on the cost to Americans of the war in Iraq and Afghanista, published in the Daily Beast October 27, 2010 - How the Wars Are Sinking the Economy - reporting "Nobel Prize recipient Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard budget guru Linda J. Bilmes are revising their original $3 trillion war cost estimate. As Bilmes reports, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are at least 25 percent costlier than previous projections—the cost of the wars will reach between $4 trillion and $6 trillion."

They frame these costs from the perspective of the burden the wars place on our economy, which will peak in about a half-century:

For example, we recently analyzed the medical and disability claim patterns for almost a million troops who have returned from the wars, and, based on this record, we've revised our estimate upward to between $600 billion and $900 billion—a broad specter, yes, but certainly also a significant upward tick from our earlier projection of $400 billion to $700 billion, based on historical patterns.

Similarly, our estimates for the economic and social costs associated with returning veterans can be expected to rise by at least a third—the staggering toll of repeated deployments over the past decade.

The Bush administration not only vastly underestimated the cost of the wars but cut taxes twice—in 2001 and 2003—just as we were ramping up the war effort. This was the first time in U.S. history that a government cut taxes while also appropriating huge new sums to fight a war. And the consequence is that the wars added substantially to the federal debt.

Between 2003 and 2008—before the financial crisis unfolded—the debt rose from $6.4 trillion to $10 trillion, and, at least one-quarter of this increase was directly attributable to the wars, first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan.

Here is what we know: the legacy of the wars will continue to drag the economy down.

The long-term costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will be higher than previous wars because of higher survival rates, greater incidence of PTSD and other mental-health disorders. Additionally, a higher percentage of veterans are claiming disability benefits, and far more veterans have served multiple tours of duty.

Taken in context, history shows that the cost of caring for war veterans typically peaks 40 years after a conflict ends. The peak year for paying out disability claims to World War I veterans didn't occur until 1969; the peak for paying out World War II benefits was in the 1980s, and we have not yet reached the peak cost for Vietnam veterans. Even the Gulf War of 1991, which lasted just six weeks, now costs more than $4 billion a year in veterans' disability compensation.

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have already been treated in VA medical facilities; and many will require care for the rest of their lives. Half-a-million people plus have filed for disability compensation. And the total lifetime cost of providing for these veterans is likely to tally between $600 billion and $900 billion, as mentioned above. But of course, even these huge numbers don't include the economic costs that are borne by veterans and their families, in terms of diminished quality of life, lost employment and long-term suffering.

We will also to need to find billions of dollars to replace vehicles, weapons and other equipment that will never be repatriated.

It is this spending (and the accompanying debt) that will one day need to be paid, that is truly haunting the November elections. We just don't care to connect the dots. Iraq and Afghanistan cast a long shadow. We will be living with their legacy for decades.

Linda J. Bilmes is a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is co-author with Joseph Stiglitz of the New York Times bestseller The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict. Bilmes has written extensively on financial and budgetary issues in newspapers, magazines and academic journals including the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times.

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and Jeremy Scahill goes unembedded in Afghanistan -

Killing Reconciliation: Military Raids, Backing of Corrupt Government Undermining Stated US Goals in Afghanistan


The Obama administration says it is backing a strategy of reconciliation with the Taliban. But just back from Afghanistan, unembedded investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley say night raids by US Special Operations are killing the reconciliation the administration claims to support

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, first of all, what’s abundantly clear from traveling around the Pashtun heartland—the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan are where the Taliban have their strongholds, and also Rick and I traveled in areas that are really heavily populated by members of the Haqqani network, which is the insurgent group that the United States government most closely identifies with al-Qaeda, with strong links to Pakistan’s ISI spy agency, and so we traveled around these areas talking to tribal leadership, to civilians. We even interviewed some current Taliban commanders, as well as former senior members of the Taliban government, including Mullah Zaeef, who was the former Taliban spokesperson to Pakistan, the man who after 9/11 really emerged as the public face of the Taliban. He then was taken for four years to Guantánamo prison. So, much of what Rick and I focused on was trying to get a sense of the nature of the insurgency. And what’s abundantly clear is that the US counterinsurgency strategy, the so-called COIN doctrine, has utterly failed...

...And then this mullah, this former Taliban imam, took a position with the local reconciliation council in Logar province. And according to the officials there that Rick and I interviewed, they would send him out into hardcore Taliban areas to try to preach to the Taliban that there were benefits to joining the government. They were offering them housing, jobs and economic support in return for handing in their weapons. Well, ten months later, Mullah Sahib Jan’s bullet-riddled body was found about 500 yards from his house by his sons, who were escorted there by US Special Operations Forces who had raided their home and gunned down Mullah Sahib Jan in the middle of the night. They tied up his sons. They put the women into one room. They kept his sons blindfolded and handcuffed for about six hours, and then a translator came to them and showed them a picture, and they said, "This is the man that we killed." And it was their father.

And when we talked to NATO, we talked to the US military, they said they had no record of any operation of that sort. You know, anybody who knows anything about what’s happening right now in Afghanistan knows that these night raids and these targeted killings go down all the time.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah. Well, in this one neighborhood, which is not a Taliban stronghold at all, there had been, over the course of a couple months, four Special Operations Forces raids that all appear on the surface to have been conducted on bad intelligence and to have killed innocent people. I mean, these are not—and the only reason we know about these stories is because the families involved were connected, educated families who were participating in the government, not the kind of people who would be part of the Taliban insurgency at all.

JEREMY SCAHILL: We went to another place in Paktia province, where this little girl was sort of weaving back and forth and saying—repeating this thing. And Rick was filming her, and we were thinking that she was just playing and we were filming a kid playing in a courtyard. And our translator had a tear going down his face. And we said, "What did she say?" And he said she was reciting all the members of her family that were killed in the night raid. "They killed my mommy. They killed my aunt. They killed my uncle." You know, and she was a kid playing. This is a kid who’s three or four years old.

full story here


My aunt commented regarding WikiLeaks Julian Assange and the Afghan files - how terrible and wicked, all those troops put in danger. My response - what ever it takes to stop the terrorists; the terrorists being "US". Assange is a very brave man.


As for Obama, "And in fairness, Larry Summers did a heck of a job trying to figure out how to …" you know what - FUCK you.

Obama's clusterfuck

Obama's clusterfuck - try as he may, he can't blame the current level of war, death and loss on Bush - this is the Obama War and Obama carries the blood of these Americans and innocent others to HIS GRAVE.

Risk of fucking up as President... inescapable guilt and eternity in hell for failure to do the right things.

Obama has not done the right things - no curse could be worse for a man.

Disrupt IT

Stewart did a great interview -

he has a talent for drawing things out as they are - in reality. watch it if you get a chance.

I dropped from Obama's campaign when he disrespected his reverend - who was simply preaching in the classic style of black preacher. People didn't get that and Obama had a chance to inform them. Instead, he took the most expeditious route and distanced him self. Imagine that - expeditious Obama.

It also spoke of an incongruency that has continued to this day:

  • he claimed he would clean up the financial mess - oh he cleaned it up alright - powerfully finished sucking the cash into the coffers of 1%
  • he claimed he would bring peace to the middle east - the deviousness and treachery and inhumanity continue - to some extent worse than before 
  • he claimed he would fix health care, but he actually delivered a big fucking fat gift to the insurance industry. I can't wait until people get fined for not having health care
  • meanwhile people who dO have a job can't even pay bills - make a decent living on TWO fucking pay checks and we all know how unemployment has been handled (not)
  • education continues down the tubes and he picks a guy who wants to basically corporitize what was once one of the best education systems in the world
  • he disparages Citizens United - but have you seen anything done about it? same thing for that stupid fucking fillibuster

no - I'm sorry - I know when I am being fucked with - and he is gallantly fucking us all.

He sure loves burning coal

He sure loves burning coal

And doesn't care about killing people and denying them human and civil rights.

Can't say much good about the guy.

Disrupt IT

Feels like the Chicago Mob took over the nation - Obama Nostra?

It feels like the Chicago Mob took over the nation - it is being run about as well as I would expect from a bunch of mafioso goons.

Seems Obama is a Cleveland-kinda Democrat.

What civilized Western or Eastern Democrats will have the guts to stand up to the MidWest Obama Nostra?

Disrupt IT

Structure of Obama Nostra

The Structure of La Cosa Nostra

The structure described below refers specifically to La Cosa Nostra. Other groups have similar structures, but they may differ in some ways.

Each group is made up of several gangs, known as families. The number of families can range from fewer than 10 to more than 100. Sometimes, the emergence of a new family must be approved by the heads of other families, while in some cases a group can splinter off from another family and consolidate its power, becoming recognized as a new family over time. Each family has separate business dealings, but the dealings of the families can intermingle to a large extent depending on their proximity to one another and the commonality of their ventures.


The mafia family tree

The leader of each family is known as the boss, or don. All major decisions are made by the boss, and money made by the family ultimately flows to him. The boss's authority is needed to resolve disputes and keep everyone in line.


Sammy Gravano, notorious for turning state's evidence against Mafia boss John Gotti, was an underboss in the Gambino family.
Sammy Gravano, notorious for turning state's evidence against Mafia boss John Gotti, was an underboss in the Gambino family.

Just below the boss is the


. The underboss is the second in command, although the amount of power he wields can vary. Some underbosses resolve disputes without involving the boss. Some are groomed to replace the boss if he is old or in danger of going to jail.

Beneath the underboss are several capos. The number of capos varies depending on the overall size of the family. A capo acts like a lieutenant, leading his own section of the family. He has specific activities that he operates. The capo's territory may be defined geographically (as in, "everything west of 14th Street belongs to Louie 'The Key' DiBartolo.") or by the rackets he operates ("Alfonze 'Big Al' Maggioli is in charge of illegal gambling."). The key to being a successful capo is making money. The capo keeps some of the money his rackets earn and then passes the rest up to the underboss and boss.

The "dirty work" is done by the soldiers. A soldier is the lowest rank among made men. They're part of the family, but they hold little power and make relatively little money. The number of soldiers that belong to any given capo can vary tremendously.

In addition to soldiers, the Mafia will use associates. Associates are not actual members of the Mafia, but they work with Mafia soldiers and capos on various criminal enterprises. An associate is simply someone who works with the mob, including anyone from a burglar or drug dealer to a lawyer, investment banker, police officer or politician.

There is one other position within the family that is somewhat legendary -- the consigliere. The consigliere is not supposed to be part of the family's hierarchy. He is supposed to act as an advisor and make impartial decisions based on fairness rather than personal feelings or vendettas. This position is meant to elected by the members of the family, rather than appointed by the boss. In reality, consiglieres are sometimes appointed and are not always impartial.

Disrupt IT

Figliuzzi of the FBI office heads off to his new assignment

We are in deep shit in Cleveland now... our FBI agent is now a hometown boy from good old John Carroll and CSU who specialized in leadership development... what the fuck is going on here?


Goodbye and hello: As Frank Figliuzzi, special-agent-in-charge of the FBI office in Cleveland, heads off to his new assignment in Washington D.C., his replacement is gearing up to come in the other direction. Steve Anthony, currently a senior executive in the leadership development program at FBI headquarters in Washington, is expected to become the FBI's SAC in Cleveland some time in December.

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Anthony, who grew up in Northeast Ohio and graduated from John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. Figliuzzi, whose last day was Friday, was promoted to deputy assistant director of counter intelligence – the division that looks for spies in the United States. He will be based at FBI headquarters.

Friends and associates paid tribute to Figliuzzi, who spent the past four years in Cleveland, during a send-off Friday at Windows on the River. Carole Rendon, first assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, praised Figliuzzi for his leadership in all manner of crime fighting, especially the full-court press against corrupt public officials in Cuyahoga County. Sometimes it takes "an honest broker coming in from the outside" to see what's wrong and fix it, she said.

Disrupt IT

Obama's clusterfuck

Obama has been our President (or at least he was elected to be our President) for nearly two years now.  At what point of time will Obama begin to accept responsibility for the devastation of our country - financially and otherwise- and quit blaming others?

When will the blame quit falling on others and fall where most of it should?  Will Obama finally quit blaming others in another year, two years,  at the END of his Presidency, or ever?

Our Country will suffer the financial consequences of Obama's Presidency for generations.

At what point of time will Obama and the people that elected Obama realize that he is incompetent?  A person can place blame on others for only a certain period of time.  If that person, who has now been in office nearly TWO years, continues to place the blame on others, he himself can be deemed incompetent.

How do you like the Hope and Change?

Prepare to hand over what little bit of money and other assets you may have left, and go to work for the government.

Welcome to Communist USA!

I am personally not voting Democrat in this election.  I am joining the millions of others to DISRUPT IT.   

According to Obama, "Unless Democratic voters turn out in big numbers all the progress made in the past two years "can be rolled back."

What progress is Obama speaking about?     story here


and so it begins?

Afghan Police Unit Defects en Masse to Taliban Side



Published: November 1, 2010

“This was not an attack but a plot,” said Mohammed Yasin, the chief of the Khogeyani police force. “The Taliban and the police made a deal.”

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the Afghan officers decided to defect after “learning the facts about the Taliban.”

“We never force people to join us,” said Mr. Mujahid, whose name is fictitious. “The police joined us voluntarily and are happy to work with us, and to start the holy war shoulder-to-shoulder with their Taliban brothers.”

As Obama's lithium slips further from reach

As Obama's lithium slips further from reach...

My psychiatrist dad can prescribe Obama the right kind of lithium for his needs... small doses for a few weeks and then no more need for war to settle those deep dark battles going on our our president's brain.

Disrupt IT

even if

there's "" "nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan." ""

if your neighbor has a really sweet house, or car or what the fuck ever, does that give you the right to rape his wife and kill his children to gain possession of it? But that is our mentality these days.

and that is exactly what we are doing.

someone pray for us (US).

Nearly $1 gazillion under the sea

Nearly $1 gazillion under the sea and we think we own and NEED that too!

Humans are fucked up animals... MORE, MORE, MORE... I want to be obese!

Disrupt IT




I, believe it's....VOULENTEER....for "points" or something, like, get a job; matter of fact, I heard, that, children will have to voulenteer, their time, to their community for credits or points ... each semester, and then, they will get their report card: otherwise, they will not get it,until, they assume all responsibility to their community???

I can't wait until the Commies start taking our children

I would like one of my kids to be first in line.

There are over 1,000,000 of our children in their war

There are over 1,000,000 of our children in their war right now... and 1,000,000s more children in their jails for nothing - I'd say they took our children already

Disrupt IT

They left out my daughter?

Actually she is not actually a 'kid' in age, just in her mind and actions.

I am pissed that they left her out.   I wonder if they have a drop-off location for people?  I would like to hand her over.



we can agree to disagree, dbra : )

My major issues are:

where did all of the 'stimulus money' go,  what was actually 'stimulated', when will the progressive agenda begin, when will the war end, when will we quit wasting money, where are the jobs, how do we expect people to survive,  exactly how any people are now homeless, when will the corruption end, what is the hidden agenda, when will they please take my daughter, etc.?????



Third Party Politics

I have always voted Democrat since I first began voting, and  I have always been involved in the Democratic Party- often very heavily.

Until I see a major change in values, I can no longer support the Democratic Party.  Unfortunately, there are lots of people just like me that feel and will vote this way.

I am looking for a third party with good values.

I have studied my ballot for weeks and will be voting tonight to make sure my ballot is postmarked by Monday.