Get Rethink Afghanistan Updates
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter Get E-Mail Updates
You can help

War costs pass $1 trillion mark

Posted by Peace Action West on June 9th, 2010

From our partners at Peace Action West

The total cost of wars since 2001 has passed the trillion dollar mark, according to the National Priorities Project, which has been tracking this kind of spending since 1983. It is important for us to understand the staggering proportions of this spending and consider whether we should continue these wars which have not made us any safer.

U.S. spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has blown away the Bush administration’s initial projections. In 2002, Lawrence Lindsey, who served as the Director of the National Economic Council during the Bush administration, projected the costs of the war would be around $100 – $200 billion. However, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels, called the estimate “very, very high,” and offered a lower estimate, which was between $50 – $60 billion. Those projections now look ridiculously naïve.

The National Priorities Project has a state-by-state war costs trade-off calculator. For instance, taxpayers in California will pay $132.6 billion for both wars since 2001. Here’s a list of items that could have been provided, had this money been spent in other ways:

$39,391,600 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
$1,420,335 Police or Sheriff’s Patrol Officers for One Year OR
$1,740,679 Firefighters for One Year OR
$15,868,878 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
$23,883,376 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550 OR
$69,985,605 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
$15,090,196 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
$47,044,554 Households with Renewable Electricity – Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR
$1,721,744 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
$125,452,144 Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year
More information on the National Priorities Project’s method of calculating the costs of war here.

Our friends at Rethink Afghanistan created a Facebook application which presents us with 17 different ways of spending the 1 trillion dollars. Some of the ideas include funding the cleanup of the Gulf oil spill, providing healthcare for millions of children, supplying affordable housing units and even buying Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn many times over.

The one trillion dollars that we have wasted on wars could have been used to create jobs here, build homes, invest further in research and education, invent or develop new technologies — help our economy get back on track.

Now think about the money we will spend on war in the coming years. If we were to shift just a fraction of what we spend on war to more effective, peaceful alternatives, we would make a real difference in Afghanistan and Iraq and have plenty of money left over to invest here at home. And the U.S. could still do so much more to truly make the world a safer, better place for all of us, with smartly targeted small investments. John Paulos, a professor of mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia, writes in an article:

The lives of millions of children, who die from nothing more serious than measles, tetanus, respiratory infections and diarrhea, could be saved, since these illnesses can be prevented by $2 vaccines, $1 worth of antibiotics, or a 10-cent dose of oral rehydration salts as well as the main but still very far from prohibitive cost of people to administer the programs.

People need to wake up and help end these wars. After all, it’s your hard earned money, spend it wisely.

Share this:

to “War costs pass $1 trillion mark”

  1. Dugi Guides says:

    I’ve been looking for a brand new template for my Wordpress blog and yours is truly gorgeous. Any likelihood I could get a link to exactly where you purchased or located it? If it really is a custom, I’d really like to know who your designer is!

Peacemakers take action to lead the charge to end the war. Join forces with the over 100,000 people who make a difference.


Subscribe via RSS
Become a Peacemaker

Bronze Telly Award
For general questions, email us here.
For technical issues regarding this site, contact us here.


For Press inquiries, please contact Kim at:

Director: Robert Greenwald - Executive Director: Jim Miller - Producer: Jason Zaro - Associate Producer: Dallas Dunn, Jonathan Kim, and Kim Huynh - Researcher: Greg Wishnev - Editor: Phillip Cruess - Political Director: Leighton Woodhouse - VP Marketing & Distribution: Laura Beatty - Production Assistant: Monique Hairston

Anyone is allowed to post content on this site, but Brave New Foundation 501(c)(3) is not responsible for that content. We will, however, remove anything unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, racist, or that contains other material that would violate the law. By posting you agree to this.

Brave New Foundation | 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232