This video from the USA says about itself:
22 February 2014
“The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher.
Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday.
“As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives,” the report says. “The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.””* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
*Read more here from Ernesto Londoño / Washington Post.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Oliver Wright, Whitehall Editor
Tuesday 27 May 2014
As British forces prepare to pull out of Afghanistan, the Royal United Services Institute has calculated that the UK’s contribution to the US-led campaign in the country between 2006 and 2013 was £19.59bn. The cost of operations in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 was £9.56bn, the organisation added. The total bill does not include this year’s cost of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The estimate is contained in a new book analysing the success and failure of Britain’s military operations since the end of the Cold War.
… It suggests British aims in Afghanistan could have been met by a far smaller, more strategically focused force.
On Iraq, it concludes that the US-led invasion and occupation led to many more deaths than would have been the case if Saddam Hussein had been contained rather than overthrown.
Most damningly, it concludes that policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic misjudged the ability of military might and money to effect change in countries with no history of democracy.
“The underlying flaw in both of these operations was that US and UK leaders thought that their superior military power, along with large amounts of money, could shift foreign societies onto quite different paths of political development,” the report says.
“As these interventions come to an end, debate will continue as to whether or not they made a difference for the better. The most important conclusion, however, may be that in the end their contribution to change was much lower than that resulting from other factors, most of which have proven remarkably resistant to shaping by outside powers.”
The report coincided with the US administration’s announcement that President Obama will seek to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the war formally ends later this year.
In a chapter of the RUSI book written by Professor Malcolm Chalmers, the think-tank’s research director and special adviser to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, it concludes that the UK’s most successful interventions were those with “clear but limited strategic objectives”. In contrast it criticises the second Iraqi and latter Afghan campaigns, which it says “deserve to be called strategic failures”.
“The intervention in southern Afghanistan did not succeed in reducing opium production in Helmand – one of the main reasons the UK chose to focus its efforts on what is an otherwise relatively unimportant province in economic or strategic terms,” it concludes. “Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer and cultivator of opium and cultivation in Helmand is higher today than it was before the British arrived.”
In Iraq the report concludes the US-led invasion caused many more civilian deaths than would have been the case if Saddam had remained in power. “While leaving Saddam in power would have involved other costs in terms of human development and human security, these would probably not have led to casualties on the scale of the civil war that followed the invasion,” it concludes.
“Saddam was one of the most brutal dictators of the late 20th century. [But] by 2003 the scale of these misdeeds had been much reduced, not least because of the containment measures put in place after 1991.”
£30bn would pay for…
1,464,000 more NHS nurses
408,000 NHS consultants
75% of the HS2 budget
In a brief appearance in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that the US would maintain nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan next year despite an official declaration of an end to combat operations. Obama said his plan to keep thousands of US military forces in the country for the next two years was dependent on the reaching of a military cooperation agreement with the incoming president of Afghanistan: here.