Report: Afghanistan War Reaches $1 Trillion And Will Require Hundreds of Billions More

158px-flag_of_afghanistansvgPresident_Barack_ObamaDespite the public pledge of President Obama to pull out of Afghanistan, we continue to spend huge amounts of money in the war and the Obama Administration has fought to keep U.S. troops in the country. Now an estimate from the Financial Times and independent researchers put the cost of the war at roughly $1 trillion with a commitment of hundreds of billions more in the coming years. There continues to be no serious debate over our ongoing losses both in personnel and money in this war.

Science, educational, and infrastructure programs are being cut while the government pours billions into Iraq and Afghanistan. I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline for government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings to be immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used. Much like our useless campaign against poppy production where we continued to spend billions because no one had the courage to end or change the program, the Afghan war just continues on a mix of weak military commitment by the Afghans and an even weaker political commitment at home to the American people.

It boggles the mind to think what we could have done in education or infrastructure or the environment with $1 trillion. My kids are in public school in McLean where the Fairfax board has ordered classed of between 32-35 kids because of the lack of funds for new teachers. However, the country just gushes hundreds of billions of dollars in Afghanistan without even a note of concern.

One of the most interesting facts is that 80 per cent of this spending on the Afghanistan conflict has taken place during the presidency of Barack Obama.


76 thoughts on “Report: Afghanistan War Reaches $1 Trillion And Will Require Hundreds of Billions More”

  1. Randyjet, I think that is the major mistake of the whole campaign. The Middle East is not Germany. Germany was an advanced western nation, despite the propaganda that sold otherwise. Our cultures line up. Our culture does not line up with the Islamic world.
    Tom Nash. Look at Saudi Arabia. There was a post on this blog recently about beheadings. They roll ’em there like it’s a bowling alley. You might want to look past TV shows and Fox News.

    1. I see that slohrss is ignorant of history as well as not being able to understand simple points of rational thinking. I mentioned Japan as part of the world the US rebuilt and THEY most certainly are not Western, and have a culture FAR different than that of the USA. As for Germany, they most certainly were FAR different than the US, were under the Nazi regime for twelve years, and I know since I speak German and have been there many times.

      The point I was making was that we DID and CAN do nation building. The problem was that the US and the incompetents we had running the country disregarded the experienced people we had for political reasons. They spit on the recommendations of the US Army for the troop numbers needed for the war, then replaced Gen. Garner who knew the country in favor of Bremmer who had NO experience or knowledge. Gen Garner was using the plan that had been drawn up by the State Dept experts along with Garner’s knowledge. Perhaps the most glaring example is that the US forces made the Iraqi Oil Ministry their headquarters, securing something that could be replaced while they let looters steal irreplaceable items from the museum. In short we can blame Bush and his band of incompetents for the disaster of Iraq and Afghanistan.

  2. I’m sorry JT wants so many people prosecuted who acted in the bests interests of our country. We need good people, and possible prosecution for doing what you think is right might keep good people away.

  3. Karen S
    When fiscal conservatives try to fight increasing national debt, what happens?
    = = =
    Well, history shows us that the wealthy get a tax cut and the balance get’s shifted to the poor to pay.

  4. to schloss 29 Yeah, I DO have a problem with the beheadings and other atrocities committed by ISIS. The full extent of the Al Queda threat was not generally recognized prior to 9/11…it was pretty difficult to “brush off” after 9/11.
    In any case, my question was about ” appropriate response” views in the event of an ISIS-sponsored, 9/11 type of attack.
    I’m not sure if you’re advocating attacking the Saudis as the best response, asking ISIS not to do it again, or if you’re advocating total disengagement from Afghanistan, AT THIS POINT, in the hope that a renewed Taliban-Al Qeuda complete takeover of Afghanistan would not pose a real threat to the U.S.

  5. I believe the Criminal Funding bill (Comnibus) also cuts $93-million from the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program.

    Yep, that makes sense, single mothers, screw you. We have more pressing things to do like build buildings that will never be used in a foreign country half way around the world.

    We are destroying ourselves. Let your Congressperson know what you think.

  6. Well, a lot of this very crap we are talking about goes all the way back to Wilson. Another war we had no part of. We studied that the conversation in Congress at the time was that the United States could trade more profitably in a world dominate by Great Britain as opposed to Germany. So guess what…

  7. Wilson, when he asked for a declaration of war to begin WWI for the U.S., said that our task was to make the world safe for democracy. That has been a hundred years and it is not a safe world for democracy.

  8. Antonin Scalia’s Case for Torture

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia weighed in on the debate surrounding the Senate torture report on Wednesday. “I don’t know what article of the Constitution that would contravene,” the AP quoted him telling a Swiss university audience in reference to torture.

    It’s a surprising statement for a justice to make. After all, the Supreme Court has held torture to be unconstitutional since its ruling in Wilkerson v. Utah in 1878. In that case, the justices wondered what part of the Constitution would forbid such a cruel and unusual punishment:

    Difficulty would attend the effort to define with exactness the extent of the constitutional provision which provides that cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted; but it is safe to affirm that punishments of torture, such as those mentioned by the commentator referred to, and all others in the same line of unnecessary cruelty, are forbidden by that amendment to the Constitution.

    This is no long-forgotten passage in a minor opinion, either. The Court cited Wilkerson approvingly as recently as the 2008 death-penalty case Baze v. Rees, where Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “the Court has held that the Eighth Amendment forbids ‘punishments of torture … and all others in the same line of unnecessary cruelty,’ such as disembowling, beheading, quartering, dissecting, and burning alive, all of which share the deliberate infliction of pain for the sake of pain
    His argument—that the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment but nothing else—may be logically sound, but it’s morally disturbing. Scalia finds it unacceptable to torture someone after a lawful trial, but allowable to do it before or without one.

  9. slohrss29 … sorry for the Smart Alec remark about the 30 Years War. I missed your connection to the war in Central Europe in the 17th century. Yes, that comparison is apt.

  10. Taken from


    : Interview with John Yoo and Jane Harman; Interview with Moazzam Begg; Chinese Economic Slowdowns Affecting Global Economy; Controversial Law in Israel; New Autobiography by Diane von Furstenberg

    Aired December 14, 2014 – 10:00 ET


    FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS: THE GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to you in the United States and around the world. I’m Fareed Zakaria.

    We’ll start today with the revelations from the Senate’s torture report. Did Congress know all that the CIA was doing? Were the techniques outlined in the report justifiable and how badly will the report — did the report damage U.S. standing around the world, especially the Arab world?

    John, let me start with you. You did author or have authored some of the memos on — that authorized the use of enhanced interrogation. When you read this report and you read about the techniques that were used, forced rectal feeding, agency officials threatening to rape the mothers of prisoners, people with broken limbs being forced to stand for hours and hours, deprived of sleep for up to one week.

    Doesn’t that strike you as torture?

    JOHN YOO, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL DURING GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Well, those are very troubling examples. They would not have been approved by the Justice Department. They were not approved by the Justice Department at the time. But I have to question whether they are true because I can’t take the face value of the committee’s report because there were no Republicans involved. You know, the investigations intelligence committee are traditionally bipartisan and the worst thing, from a lawyer’s perspective, from my perspective, is the committee didn’t interview any witnesses.

    And so you have these reports but they never gave a chance — gave a chance to the very participants of the people being accused to explain themselves. And so I will want to know more about what happened in any of these cases and to see what really happened. But I agree with you, if there were people who had to undergo what you have just described, none of those were approved by the Justice Department. I don’t believe they’re approved by the headquarters at CIA, too.

    JANE HARMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: And I think the partisanship in Congress hurts the effectiveness of Congress but the Intelligence Committees at the time were functioning on a bipartisan basis and John McCain, in particular, who I think was enormously forceful this week in defending the findings of the Feinstein report, John McCain pushed back. Congress passed several acts, including the Detainee Treatment Act in 2005 that began to cut off the use of these enhanced interrogation techniques.

    David wants to keep removing from his definition of torture the word of the congress on torture which included I believe, without googling it again, psychological infliction (not sure correct wording), which means being made to think you are going to be murdered by drowning. David is so intent on pressing his position that anything that is proof he is wrong is just denied or deleted.

    You can argue that the report was partisan if you want but the issue is tortyure and when even John Yoo is to the left of Cheney et al as to the correctness of what was done you know extreme is too light a word to describe what was done,

    When even McCain defends it you have to wonder how partisan it was because MCCain is a very adept partisan for the right and the repubklicans.

  11. Good analysis Aridog. Karen, I would say it’s way more than just a quarrel. I feel both the Saudis and Iranians want to be the dominate Islamic force in the region. People forget how bloody times were between Catholics and Protestants. And, like this situation today, there were many other issues that were dealt out in the Thirty Years War. And, if people think it was a small affair, Wikipedia cites over 8 million killed in German lands, and I have read in the past as high as 10 million.

    Back to the question, how much cash do we have left to continue diplomatic experimentation–or domination?? This could go on a very, very long time.

  12. Aridog – you’re right. Many Muslims immigrated here specifically to escape extremism and the violence of the ME. I recall speaking with a woman whose family was murdered after the Shaw fell. She trembled and cried, clearly reliving the events of decades ago. The Muslims I’ve been friends with over the years would never want Sharia Law here.

  13. Aridog – interesting. The Shiite and Sunni sometimes quarrel like the Montagues and Capulets. The only great difference between them, that I can tell, is a disagreement over who succeeded after Mohammed passed away. The Shiite, or Shia, are still really pissed that Ali and his heirs were killed by treachery/poison/etc. In some areas they’ve been clashing for a thousand years, the entire history of Islam after Mohammed. Iran is mostly Shiite because Ismael of Persia killed most of the Sunni. Elsewhere, Sunni are the majority.

    I know they get along better in some regions than in others, even intermarrying, but hopefully this Muslim terrorist was just nutters and not a sign of things to come with where Iran is leaning in regards to ISIS.

  14. slohrss29 said…

    It’s the 30 Years War of the Middle East.

    Minor correction 😉 …about 84+ years or so….that war has endured since 1919, the end of WW and the Ottoman Empire, followed by the “mandates” run by the English and the French.

  15. slohrss29… you likely have a valid point vis a vis the Saudis…not all of them, perhaps, but all too many. However, I also suspect the Saudis fear ISIS as much as anyone else, because ISIS would end their nation (kingdom) as it is now. It’s one thing to sponsor insurgency elsewhere and quite another if it appears in your back yard.

    Saddam’s government, secular though he might have been, was Sunni based and yet the Saudis not only let us base in their country, they joined us militarily in kicking Saddam from Kuwait. Reason: They knew they were next.

    The ME actors (those in power) are confusing if not downright aberrant at times. I doubt we can ever change them much. The refugees I know well here are another matter…they adapt to our Republic and its democratic methods…very few fail to vote once they achieve citizenship, whether I agree with them of not, they participate…something they never had the opportunity to do in their homelands. Would that we all could say as much.

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