How The Cost Of The Afghanistan War Compares To America's 11 Other Wars

Civil War Confederacy

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Afghanistan is starting to look like a lost cause, but it could be worse. At least it cost less than Vietnam.

That’s one of the few optimistic conclusions you can draw from a look into the fiscal records of America’s wars [PDF]. War has become more expensive since the salad days of George Washington. Afghanistan costs as much as 134 American Revolutions (inflation-adjusted). Total post-9/11 war costs are $1.1 trillion — more than any war except WW2.

But here’s the thing, as NYT points out: war costs as a fraction of GDP have generally decreased. Therefore modern Americans are relatively indifferent to the military cash burn.

American Revolution cost $2.41 billion (inflation-adjusted)

War of 1812 cost $1.55 billion (inflation adjusted)

Mexican War cost $2.38 billion (inflation adjusted)

Civil War costs $79.7 billion for both sides (inflation adjusted)

Spanish American War cost $9.03 billion (inflation-adjusted)

World War 1 cost $334 billion (inflation-adjusted)

World War 2 cost $4,104 billion (inflation-adjusted)

Korean War cost $341 billion (inflation-adjusted)

Vietnam cost $738 billion (inflation-adjusted)

Persian Gulf War cost 102 billion (inflation-adjusted)

Afghanistan war cost $321 billion (inflation-adjusted)

Iraq war cost $784 billion (inflation-adjusted)

BONUS: Total Post-9/11 wars cost $1,147 billion

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