The Trillion-Dollar War
By LINDA BILMES
THE human cost of the more than 2,000 American military personnel killed and 14,500 wounded so far in Iraq and Afghanistan is all too apparent. But the financial toll is still largely hidden from public view and, like the suffering of those who have lost loved ones, will persist long after the fighting is over.
The cost goes well beyond the more than $250 billion already spent on military operations and reconstruction. Basic running costs of the current conflicts are $6 billion a month - a figure that reflects the Pentagon's unprecedented reliance on expensive private contractors. Other factors keeping costs high include inducements for recruits and for military personnel serving second and third deployments, extra pay for reservists and members of the National Guard, as well as more than $2 billion a year in additional foreign aid to Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and others to reward their cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill for repairing and replacing military hardware is $20 billion a year, according to figures from the Congressional Budget Office.