A new study on military spending in the post-9/11 era found that American taxpayers have shelled out $6.4 trillion on wars in the Middle East and Asia, according to CNBC.
Published by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, the report also found “that more than 801,000 people have died as a direct result of fighting — with more than 335,000 being civilian deaths. A further “21 million people have been displaced due to violence.”
The figure cited in the report — which CNBC noted is $2 trillion more than the entirety of the federal government’s spending in 2019 — “reflects the cost across the U.S. federal government since the price of America’s wars is not borne by the Defense Department alone.”
Neta Crawford, the study’s author, said the wars that started in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria after 9/11 have become “a truly global war on terror,” expanding to more than 80 countries in all.
There are implications beyond the total money spent thus far on America’s military endeavors, Crawford noted in the report — particularly the future expense of veterans claiming benefits at home.
“Even if the United States withdraws completely from the major war zones by the end of FY2020 and halts its other Global War on Terror operations, in the Philippines and Africa for example, the total budgetary burden of the post-9/11 wars will continue to rise as the U.S. pays the on-going costs of veterans’ care and for interest on borrowing to pay for the wars,” Crawford wrote.