I’m not interested in revisiting what happened to get us to this point but I think it’s an important time to look where we are headed.
There’s the human toll. More than twice as many Americans — over 6,000 — have now died in the two wars that followed 9/11 than did in the original attacks, along with more than 100,000 Iraqis and Afghans.
And there’s the extraordinary financial toll… The actual 9/11 attacks produced insured losses of about $40 billion and delivered a temporary blow to the economy… Harvard scholar Linda Bilmes and Nobel-Prize winning Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz now estimate that the two post-9/11 wars will end up costing taxpayers somewhere between $4 trillion and $6 trillion. That includes not only money already appropriated for the military campaigns $1.3 trillion at last count, but also the immense cost of long-term health care for returning soldiers, and such things as interest payments on all the extra borrowed money and the increased volatility of oil prices since the invasion of Iraq.