Costs of War: $1.05 Trillion

by on January 11, 2010 · 2 comments

in Economy, Peace Movement, War and Peace

National Priorities Project

Tallies Cost of War

through September 30, 2010

$747 billion for Iraq

$299 billion for Afghanistan

Congress has appropriated an additional $136.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the 2010 fiscal year. National Priorities Project estimates that for this fiscal year, $64.5 billion is directed to Iraq and $72.3 billion to Afghanistan. Bills that included war-related funding were the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 2892) passed on October 28, 2009; the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288) passed on December 16, 2009; and the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 3326) passed on December 19, 2009.

These new appropriations bring total war-related spending for Iraq to $747.3 billion and for Afghanistan to $299 billion, with total war costs $1.05 trillion[1]. National Priorities Project (NPP) updated its Cost of War countersto reflect the new totals and to show the local costs of these wars to states and many cities. NPP’s trade-off tool allows you to explore what services could be obtained for your community with the same amount of money that Congress has appropriated for war spending.

These current year appropriations do not include funds to support the “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan proposed by the Obama administration on December 1, 2009. Conservative estimates suggest that it will cost approximately $30 billion to fund this surge. Supplemental appropriations for this funding are expected later this year.

Since 2001, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and related activities have been funded through emergency supplemental appropriations. In a clear departure from this practice, the Obama administration integrated the FY2010 war funding into the core budget appropriations process. While this process purportedly allows for greater scrutiny and control over the allocation of tax dollars relative to the emergency supplemental funding process, it has – ironically – also become more difficult to ascertain the exact spending amounts directed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Past supplemental bills outlined funding almost exclusively for war costs whereas departmental appropriations combine these war costs with all other departmental funds for the entire fiscal year.

War funding was found within three separate appropriations bills with the bulk of money in the Defense Appropriations Bill passed just before Congress left for their winter break. In addition to defense funding, this bill was used to extend Food Stamp benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP), unemployment benefits, and COBRA payments to continue health insurance coverage for the unemployed[2].

NPP will continue to follow Iraq and Afghanistan war funding including any supplemental bills to support the Afghanistan surge that has already begun as well as any other additional war costs.

For more information: 413.584.9556 or

[1]Total war funding to date includes all approved funds for Afghanistan since FY2001 plus all approved funds for Iraq since FY2003. See also CRS Report RL33110 September 2009.  Please note that funding estimates for FY2007-2009 have been revised in this updated report on which our estimates are based.

[2]The cost of these extensions was not included in the bill but NPP estimates place funding for these three programs at approximately $40-$45 billion.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 12, 2010 at 11:23 am

When we bemoan the bankruptcy of our city, state and national governments, when public schools close down, and city services remain unserved, we must remember why. How much of a universal health care system could we have constructed with this money? How many schools could have all they need and want with this money? We live in a war economy and we’d better be proud of it – for it’s all we have left.


Monty Kroopkin January 14, 2010 at 7:30 am

As Chalmers Johnson and others have explained, it is not only the immediate alternatives for how this money could be used (paying for education, health care, repairing roads, etc.). What is also vital to understand is that military spending is largely money down the toilet. Military spending does not produce food or useful commodities. Military spending robs the economy of economic research and development funds. Military spending is not any kind of investment in improvements for the future. It is waste. This is the main reason the U.S.A. has fallen farther and farther down the scales in comparison with other industrialized countries, in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality, average citizen wealth and education levels, you name it, we are a society in DECLINE.

We must all redouble our efforts to SHUT DOWN MILITARISM. Close the empire of more than 700 military bases spread out over more than 40 countries. Bring the troops home from ALL of these places and retrain them to do productive work.


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