Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Cost of War

On June 7 mainstream American media acknowledged that the war in Afghanistan is now our country’s longest one, with Washington having entered month 104 of a conflict that began on October 7, 2001. The most protracted war before had been that in Vietnam. Current calculations based on the beginning of the American role in major and independent combat operations in that Southeast Asian nation – from the Tonkin Gulf Resolution passed by the U.S. Congress on August 7, 1964 – to the withdrawal of the last American combat troops in March of 1973 total 103 months. In fact it took several months for the Pentagon to act on the resolution and as such the Afghan war has already been the lengthiest in America’s history, but the formal recognition of it as such is now a matter of public record. The actual cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars in in terms of human life and suffering is, of course, incalculable. However, here is the latest estimates of the dollar expenditures to date of these long conflicts.