Paul Shinkman, US News - According to a study released through Brown University's Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, government spending on the military, diplomacy, foreign aid, homeland security and services to veterans have cost U.S. taxpayers upward of $4.79 trillion in the post-Sept. 11 era.
The accounting is much broader in its scope than typical war spending calculations, which generally focus on tallying the cost of bullets or battleships. It instead yields an imprecise figure in an attempt to find a truer dollar amount, despite even Congressional Budget Office declarations that "it is impossible to determine precisely how much has been spent" on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The study captures the immensity of America's commitments to defeating terrorism at home and abroad and the continuing financial toll that takes. It estimates that the cumulative interest the U.S. will have to pay for its wars will balloon to $7.9 trillion by 2053 if it does not change the way it pays for its wars.