Saturday, September 04, 2010

The price of imperial chest-thumping war

The Hill's Congress Blog reports on the Afghanistan Study Group's plea for the US to change course in Afghanistan, beginning the argument with these figures:

At eight years and counting, the U.S. war in Afghanistan is now the longest in our history, surpassing both Vietnam and the Soviet Union’s own extended military campaign there. With the surge, it will cost the U.S. taxpayer nearly $100 billion per year, a sum roughly six times larger than Afghanistan’s annual gross national product (GNP) of $14 billion and greater than the total annual cost of the new U.S. health insurance program. Thousands of American and allied personnel have been killed or gravely wounded.

I wonder what the Canadian figures are?


  1. Anonymous4:04 pm

    Interestingly enough, the most recent federal budget is entirely silent on the subject. I can't find so much as a hint about it on the entire budget website.


  2. $1.9 billion in FY 2009-2010.

    It is unfortunate that Hill's blog does not give a reference for the dollar amount for the USA. A brief foray onto the web finds different numbers from different sources. My take away of a scan over Hill's blog is the war is expensive (we have known that for 5,000 years) and in its current configuration it does not met the foreign or domestic policy objectives of America so change the war. The later point is the key.

    Canada is spending a lot of money on this war. The discussion, which we have already had, is do we stay and fight. As far as I know we are effectively leaving next year.

    I did a bit more blog searching and some good stuff on Wikiepedia
    "The Treasury Board says the military mission will cost $822-million in the fiscal year 2009-10 and $943-million in 2010-11. It also estimates that the mission will cost $178-million in fiscal 2011-12, when Canadian troops are expected to pull out of combat roles in Afghanistan. It’s the first time figures for that year have been made available."

    I found on the Treasury Board site a report that covers FY 2009-2010. It states on page 1-44
    "The following are the main departments that are contributing to this initiative: National Defence, Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Veterans Affairs, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Privy Council Office (PCO), and Correctional Service3 . At this time, total expenditures related to the Government’s priorities in Afghanistan are projected to amount to $1.9 billion for FY 2009-10."

    Of course these discussions do not include the human cost of this war.