Afghan, Iraq wars most expensive in US history

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WASHINGTON: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been the most expensive in US history, costing US taxpayers between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, says a report prepared by a Harvard University scholar.

In this report, reproduced by the Time magazine on Saturday, Harvard Kennedy School scholar Linda Bilmes says that her estimates include “all direct and indirect” war related expenditure.

Ms Bilmes, who is a former CFO of the US Department of Commerce, also included long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs in her estimates.

The Congressional Research Service, which prepares reports on various subjects for US lawmakers, however, puts the total costs of the two wars at $1.6 trillion. But the CRS estimate does not include long-term costs and medical expenditures.

The Time magazine reported that the George W. Bush Administration forced the head of its National Economic Council, Lawrence Lindsey, to resign shortly before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, because he said that a war with Iraq might cost $200 billion.

A month later, just before the US invaded Iraq, the then Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggested the war would cost under $50 billion. And the US, he added, would share that bill with its allies.

The new CRS report says the war in Iraq ended up costing $814.6 billion. Afghanistan has cost $685.6 billion.

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