Legacy: The War That Paid for Itself

(CRS table, click here for larger view)

I don’t think these experts are tripping over each other now for TV appearances. But a while back they all had the idea that this war would pay for itself — and some.

But see – a
s of enactment of H.R. 2642 (the FY2008 Supplemental), the cumulative total for funds appropriated since the 9/11 attacks — to DOD, State/USAID and VA for medical costs for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and enhanced security – total $864 billion.

About 94% of the funds are for DOD, 6% for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, and less than 1% for medical care for veterans.

I’m sorry — I have to say that out loudly, I don’t think my brain is processing this quite well.

About 94% of the funds are for DOD, 6% for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, and less than 1% for medical care for veterans.

I’ve been harping about the serial underfunding of our red-headed step-child but — less than 1% spent for the medical care of our veterans? According to the DOD casualty report, there are 30,984 troops wounded in action as of January 26, 2009. How about those who eventually commit suicides (read here and here)? Or suffers from TBI or PTSD? One mathematical model found that “about 35 percent of soldiers and marines who deploy to Iraq will ultimately suffer from PTSD — about 300,000 people, with 20,000 new sufferers for each year the war lasts.” That’s all lumped under less than 1%.

If that is not absolutely obscene, I don’t know what is.

The only thing more obscene are politicians proclaiming their support for our troops — politicians who were themselves responsible for this cumulative (mis)appropriation over the last seven years.

The Congressional Research Service has an updated report on The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11. I am posting the full summary below:

With enactment of the FY2008 Supplemental and FY2009 Bridge Fund(H.R.2642/P.L. 110-252) on June 30, 2008, Congress has approved a total of about $864 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

This $864 billion total covers all war-related appropriations from FY2001 through part of FY2009 in supplementals, regular appropriations, and continuing resolutions. Of that total, CRS estimates that Iraq will receive about $657 billion (76%), OEF about $173 billion (20%), and enhanced base security about $28 billion (3%), with about $5 billion that CRS cannot allocate (1%). About 94% of the funds are for DOD, 6% for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, and less than 1% for medical care for veterans. As of July 2008, DOD’s monthly obligations for contracts and pay averaged about $12.3 billion, including $9.9 billion for Iraq, and $2.4 billion for Afghanistan.

The recently enacted FY2008 Supplemental (H.R. 2642/P.L. 110-252) includes a total of about $160 billion for war costs for the Department of Defense (DOD) for the rest of FY2008 and part of FY2009. Funds are expected to last until June or July 2009 well into a new Administration. The Administration did not submit a request to cover all of FY2009.

While Congress provided a total of $188 billion for war costs in FY2008 — $17 billion more than the prior year — this total was a cut of about $14 billion to the Administration’s request, including both reductions in DOD’s investment accounts and substitutions of almost $6 billion in non-war funding. CRS figures exclude nonwar funding.

Congress also cut funding for foreign aid and diplomatic operations for Iraq and Afghanistan by $1.4 billion, providing a total of $4.5 billion. For FY2009, Congress provided $67 billion, close to the request. Earlier, to tide DOD over until passage of the supplemental, the House and Senate appropriations committees approved part of a DOD request to transfer funds from its regular accounts.

In an August 2008 update, the Congressional Budget Office projected that additional war costs for the next ten years from FY2009 through FY2018 could range from:

$440 billion, if troop levels fell to 30,000 by 2010 or
$865 billion, if troop levels fell to 75,000 by about 2013

Under these CBO projections, funding for Iraq, Afghanistan and the GWOT could total about $1.3 trillion or about $1.7 trillion for FY2001-FY2018. This report will be updated as warranted.

And this guy and a whole rest of them who got us into this pretty mess are off sailing into the sunset with their book deals, speaking gigs and legacy building projects. Crap! I won’t buy any of their books if you promise not to attend any of their legacy shindigs.