The $1.2 Trillion Trap: What America Gave Up For 10 Years Of War Since 9/11

In Mid-East Wars on September 12, 2011 at 12:32 AM

Think Progress


By spending this much money on wars that ended up being America’s longest in history, the United States in some ways fell into Bin Laden’s trap. This money could’ve been used in ways that would’ve invested in America — securing access to health care, a decent education, and infrastructure for alternative energy. Using NPP metrics, ThinkProgress has assembled ten alternative policies that the United States could’ve pursued instead with this money that has been spent on the wars so far:

– Provide 63.3 Million Scholarships For University Students Every Year For Ten Years

– Give 58.9 Million Children Low-Income Health Care Every Year For Ten Years

– Give 23.6 Million People Access To Low-Income Healthcare Every Year For Ten Years

– Provide 20.68 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years

– Provide 15.12 Million Head Start Slots For Children Every Year For Ten Years

– Provide Veterans Administration Care For 14.7 Million Military Veterans Every Year For Ten Years

– Hire 2.01 Million Firefighters Every Year For Ten Years

– Hire 1.76 Million Elementary School Teachers Every Year For Ten Years

– Hire 1.73 Million Police Officers Every Year For Ten Years

– Retrofit 69.4 Million Households For Wind Power Every Year For Ten Years

– Retrofit 26 Million Households For Solar Photovoltaic Energy Every Year For Ten Years

These numbers reflect only the monetary costs of the wars. The human costs are much more difficult to calculate, both because it is it impossible to quantify the value of a human life and because calculating the death toll among Iraqis and Afghans is very difficult. But over 6,400 American soldiers have perished in Iraq, Afghanistan, or supporting theaters and death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan combined are in the hundreds of thousands.

The cost in blood and treasure of these wars since 9/11 demonstrate that they enacted a heavy toll on our country, and this data should inform our actions in the future.

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  1. True, Don. Some of his people who were captured and “questioned”, said that it was all about breaking the economic back of this country.

    The problem is, it all fell on the working class. Weapons manufacturers and security firms got richer by 10-fold. The Bushco administration all profitted from the wars. The American middle class lost big time and those in the poverty level are just forgotten…period.


  2. Bin-Laden threw us the dog bone, and we accepted it.


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