03:34 GMT24 February 2020
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    The US War on Terror rages on after more than 17 years, during which time the US has become involved on the ground in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the war is poised to reach a total cost of $6 trillion by the end of 2019.

    That's enough money to end world hunger for 200 years using the metric of $30 billion annually, which is provided by the United Nations.

    The $6 trillion figure comes from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University in their annual "Cost of War" project.

    The total cost estimated by the researchers is higher than that of the US military's costs because it includes War on Terror-related spending like the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.

    Because the US goes to war with loans, estimates that don't include interest, such as this one, are considered conservative.

    "The $6 trillion is about right when you count the direct and indirect costs," Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told Sputnik News. The figure "will continue to grow as we care for the wounded and pay for interest on the debt we incurred to pay for the wars," he said.

    John Pike, a leading expert on defense, space and intelligence policy, pointed out to Sputnik News that the total figure, divided over 18 years of war, factors to about $325 billion per annum, "about half of the Department of Defense budget," which has doubled since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. 

    Pike worked at the Federation of American Scientists for almost 20 years and has frequently been asked to testify before Congress.

    He notes that much of the $6 trillion, however, has nothing to do with combating "evildoers" — instead, it pays for things like the Departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. It's "probably more like a trillion of actual out of pocket [dollars going to] fight evildoers."

    Costs for reconstruction in Afghanistan have surpassed those of the post-WWII cleanup in Western Europe, Sputnik News recently reported, citing the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.

    "Because the nation has tended to focus its attention only on direct military spending, we have often discounted the larger budgetary costs of the post-9/11 wars, and therefore underestimated their greater budgetary and economic significance," the report says.

    If the wars continue into the early 2020s, the price will reach $7 trillion. That's entirely within the realm of likelihood in Afghanistan, where the government and its US backers have failed to make any meaningful gains against the Taliban in years. That war, by many metrics, is only worsening, Sputnik News reported.

    The US also lacks a "comprehensive strategy to end the wars," the report says.


    Cost of US War on Terror Will Soon Exceed $6 Trillion - Report
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    US Defense Department, Pentagon, Syrian war, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, war, war on terror, US Defense Department
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