Ellis ConklinThe cost of war has no end. Today, on the 10th anniversary of the beginning of America's tragic folly in Iraq, the Associated Press is out with an analysis that shows the U.S. government spends more than $40 billion a year to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Iraq campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict.
Sen. Patty Murray said the enormous price tag should remind us about war's long-lasting financial toll.
"When we decide to go to war, we have to consciously be also thinking about the cost," said Murray, who voted against the resolution to wage war in Iraq."While I did not support the decision to enter into this conflict, I have made it my priority over the last decade to ensure the costs - both visible and invisible - are not forgotten," Murray said in a statement. "Today's solemn anniversary must serve as a reminder that our work has just begun. We must not waver on our duty to serve those who have served.
"From education assistance and employment, to bringing down VA wait times and curbing the tragic epidemics of suicide and military sexual trauma - the completion of the war in Iraq does not signal the end to this work."
In coming up with the $40 billion figure, the AP looked at the disability and survivor benefits, and millions of federal payment records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
To date, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the first Persian Gulf war are costing nearly $12 billion a year to care for those who've left the military or family members of those who've died.
Vietnam's cost: $22 billion a year.
World War I, World War II and the Korean War: About $20 billion a year.
Civil War and Spanish-American War: The AP found there are 10 living people still getting benefits tied to the 1898 Spanish-American War, for a cost of about $50,000 per year. The Civil War payments are going to two children of veterans - one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee -- each for $876 per year.
- Seattle Weekly