by Matt Southworth
It’s no secret that war is expensive. The U.S. has spent over $1,400,000,000,000 ($1.4 trillion) in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. This figure represents operational costs, not long term costs such as veteran care, which will rise for decades to come. However, looking at the fiscal year 2013 war funding request, you might think war is getting less expensive. Not quite. Funding overall is on the decline, yes, but the war in Afghanistan still costs $1 million per soldier, per year.
Overall, war funding is on the decline because of troop withdrawals from Iraq. Afghanistan funding is also down due to troop withdrawals. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funding request for Afghanistan (known as Overseas Contingency Operations, OCO) is $88.5 billion, approximately $26 billion less than what was appropriated in FY 2012. But there is a hitch: the FY13 request assumes that 68,000 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan through September 2013, when the fiscal year ends.