The Afghan campaign haunts the Americans: the country is arguing about the cost of a 20-year war. Independent researchers are voicing amounts that are multiples of those announced by the Pentagon. About how much it costs to fight in the modern world – in the material of RIA Novosti.
“A Billion a Day”
In 2009, President Bar-ack Obama decided to incr-ease the contingent in Afg-hanistan. He was objected: it is very expensive to fight.
They began to count – both in the Pentagon and senators. Of course, the results were different: the military department estimated the costs for seven years at 156 billion dollars, parliamentarians – at 227.
Connected experts. Analysts have proposed a new method: to estimate how much one soldier costs for six months. They took into account salaries, food, equipment, logistics – including airlift across the ocean. Medical care, insurance payments in case of death or injury, as well as pension after dismissal w-ere not taken into account.
Bottom line: a million dollars per person. At that time, there were about 70,000 American troops in Afghanistan.
However, the public discussion did not prevent the White House from sending another 35,000 fighters to the war (5,000 per quarter as part of a rotation). And in 2010, Abrams appeared on Afghan roads for the first time in the entire campaign, which angered skeptics even more. The fact is that this tank is not only the most expensive (8.6 million dollars per copy), but also the most “gluttonous”: it needs 1,650 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. And, say, during Desert Storm, military equipment was refueled every five hours.
“As we know, in any military campaign, most of the funds go to fuel. In medium-sized conflicts, this is about a billion dollars a day,” said military analyst Tim Hibbets.
Over the years, spending has only grown. The campaign stalled, there were no successes, and the Americans used more and more modern weapons. So, in 2017, F-22 Raptor fighter jets flew into the sky over Kabul at $339 million apiece. Flight hour – 69 thousand.
The strategic “stealth” B-2 Spirit was the main striking force for all 20 years of the campaign. They have an hour in the air – up to 170 thousand dollars. The bomber itself is worth about two billion.
According to American journalists, all these prices are greatly inflated. The American defense industry generally has excessive appetites.
“The more spending on the military-industrial complex, the lower the defense capability. Because each purchase makes the next one more expensive. One F-35 now costs one hundred million (in 2020 – 78. – Approx. Ed.), the Ford nuclear aircraft carrier – 15 billion, and without decks,” explains Harlan Ullman, senior consultant at the Atlantic Council.
The cost of the same Spirits has doubled in 15 years. Not surprisingly, the defense budget is constantly inflated: in 2018 it was $700 billion, now it is $740.
And in connection with the conflict in Ukraine, the Pentagon asked for even more: 773 billion. If Congress approves, it will be a record.
The United States has been a leader in military spending for many years. China, which is in second place, had 252 billion in 2020 ( data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – SIPRI), India – 72.9, Russia – 61.7, Great Britain – 59.2.
“Only World War II is more expensive”
Many experts criticize SIPRI’s calculations due to the fact that “total security spending” is taken as the basis, which includes both the costs of the army and, for example, the special services. As for the United States, it is quite difficult to single out from the total amount what was required for Afghanistan.
Pentagon officials in 2019 talked about $778 billion. However, this does not take into account, for example, the cost of maintaining air bases in Pakistan, which the Americans actively used. There were no logistical expenses there either – the same transfer of soldiers on Hercules (the most expensive transport vehicles in the world) or the supply of fuel. There is no adjustment for inflation.
Alternative information was provided by the Watson Institute, which studies military conflicts around the world. In fact, we are talking about trillions.
“If we take all the US campaigns after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and these are Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, then the amount reaches eight trillion. Only World War II was more expensive,” experts say.
Almost 2.3 trillion was spent directly on military operations. Three more are “indirect costs” associated with both “improving security inside America” and inflation. Half a trillion – for the treatment and psychological rehabilitation of veterans. Almost 2.5 – for payments to combatants.
These statistics shocked the public. The authorities were required to publish as much information as possible on military campaigns, as well as on the fight against terrorism. In particular, despite promises, the White House has not closed the network of prisons for terrorists. The same infamous Guantanamo, according to the American media, is fully functional and is still hidden from prying eyes.
“Either money or sacrifice”
In total, the Afghan war cost each American $20,000. Without taking into account the losses due to abandoned equipment and weapons, the Pentagon, in a hurry to urgently evacuate, left a lot of modern military equipment to the Taliban.
At the same time, economists argue whether it has become more expensive to fight. On the one hand, states spend less on defense relative to GDP: since the 1960s, the figure has fallen from 6.5 to three percent. On the other hand, the cost of weapons is increasing every year. In 2019, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), global spending on armed conflict reached $14 trillion.
“If you distribute this money to the inhabitants of the Earth, you get five dollars for each. And nine percent of humanity lives on $1.9 a day,” the researchers noted.
Moreover, the benefits of military campaigns are more and more illusory. This was shown especially clearly by the events in Iraq and Afghanistan: Washington, in fact, did not recoup even a tenth of the costs.
“The problem is that it is still not clear how to count. Yes, weapons cost the budget more every year. But one precision strike will save the lives of hundreds of people. The same applies, for example, to information systems for combat control or robotics,” explains military political scientist Alexander Perendzhiev.
Today, more and more armies, he says, are betting on this approach. Therefore, the expert points out, “it has become more expensive to win the war,” and not “simply to conduct military operations.”
The post War in Afghanistan: ‘A Billion a Day’; ‘Enough for all mankind’ appeared first on The Frontier Post.