Afghan, Iraq wars to cost US up to $6 trillion
KABUL (PAN): American taxpayers would eventually pay between $4 and $6 trillion in cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most expensive military missions in US history, a new study said on Friday.
The largest share of the bill, including long-term care for war veterans, was yet to be paid, Professor Linda Blimes of Harvard University’s Kennedy School said in her report. So far the US has spent about $2 trillion on the two controversial wars.
Bilmes wrote the costs were only a fraction of the ultimate price tag -- the biggest ongoing expense on providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans.
“Historically, the bill for these costs has come due many decades later,” according to the report that noted: “Payments to Vietnam and first Gulf War veterans are still climbing.”
The study found of the 1.56 million troops that have been discharged, more than 50 percent had received treatment at Veterans Affairs facilities and filed claims for lifetime disability payments.
With id="mce_marker"34 billion already spent on medical care and disability benefits for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Bilmes said the benefits would account for an additional $836 billion in coming decades.
She warned the huge sums borrowed to finance the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan would also impose substantial long-term debt-servicing costs. As a result, the US will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development.
The legacy of the decisions taken during the two wars would dominate future budgets for decades to come, said the author, who estimated the conflicts had added $2 trillion to US debt, representing about 20 percent of the debt incurred between 2001 and 2012.
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