Afghanistan War More Expensive Than The Top Ten Costliest Storms

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Larry Baca from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment monitors the weather as a storm moves in outside of Forward Operating Base Lane, Afghanistan, on Feb. 19, 2009.

A week after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, many are struggling to cope with the devastation left behind. In New York, freezing temperatures and fuel shortages combined to create a housing crisis leaving devastation in its wake. Some 1.4 million homes and businesses are still without power.

The economic damage cause by Sandy is estimated at $30 billion to $50 billion, a staggering amount on its own, but tiny compared to the amounts the U.S. has spent on the war in Afghanistan.

In fact, for the past three years the annual costs of the war in Afghanistan have been more than double the estimated cost of Sandy, $107 billion in 2010, $122 billion in 2011, and $111 billion in 2012.

Only Hurricane Katrina, the most expensive storm on record at over $100 billion, comes close to the costs of one year of war in Afghanistan.

Cumulatively, the comparison is even more incredible. According to a recent report by the National Hurricane Center, economic costs from the top ten most expensive storms
from 1900 to 2010 totals $283 billion – about $300 billion less than the amount the U.S. has spent in Afghanistan since 2001.

Unfortunately, the $580 billion invested in the war effort hasn’t seen a national security return. Over the past three years an additional 30,000 U.S. troops were sent to Afghanistan – yet the number of insurgent attacks is higher today than it was in 2009. The U.S. has allocated over $50 billion to train and equip the Afghan security forces, yet no Afghan Army unit can operate independently and accusations of corruption and abuse in the Afghan police force are widespread. Billions more have been spent on construction projects that Afghanistan’s economy will not be able to sustain.

As Hurricane Sandy has made all too clear, taxpayer dollars would be better spent on rebuilding U.S. cities than on wasteful projects in Afghanistan.

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