US wars cost $4 trillion

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War, what is it good for? If you ask researchers at Brown University, a new study says around $4 trillion down the drain and nearly a quarter of a million lives lost.

Economics, anthropologists, lawyers and researchers at the Ivy League institute have been slaving away at the study which projects the price of the Afghan and Iraq wars to be at around $4 trillion by the time the US wraps up operations overseas. Earlier the Congressional Budget Office released its own numbers, alleging that the cost thorough 2021 would be a mere $1.8 trillion. Brown researchers, however, predict that the US government has already spent at least $2.3 trillion in funds, as the US continues to combat despite already eliminating both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

Additionally, 6,000 US troops and 2,300 contractors have died since September 11, with researchers estimating that another 200,000 will lose their lives as a result of the war by 2021. 137,000 civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have already perished, and 8 million people have been displaced, says the study.

"We decided we needed to do this kind of rigorous assessment of what it cost to make those choices to go to war," study co-director Catherine Lutz tells Reuters. "Politicians, we assumed, were not going to do that kind of assessment."

Researchers behind the Costs of War study are asking the government to be more transparent about the toll the troops are taking. On the website for their study, they plead that “However one judges the US waging of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, at the very least, we should know what each of those wars has been like.We should know who has been killed, what kinds of wounds have been suffered and what kinds of economic costs and consequences have been incurred. Those costs have been consistently minimized, misunderstood or hidden from public view.”

“Transparency and accountability for war budgets and costs must include not only what has been spent, but the amounts that the US will be obliged to spend by virtue of the fact of going to war,” it adds.

They note that the government has promised Afghanistan over $5 billion in reconstruction funding. Of course there will also be the costs of Medicare for veterans when they reach 65 and ongoing financial assistance for those injured in the line of duty.