The following appeared Tuesday on The Fiscal Times website:
The U.S. launched a global War on Terror in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the most deadly strikes against domestic targets by foreigners in U.S. history. Beyond the incalculable human cost of nearly 3,000 civilian deaths, and the subsequent deaths of over 6,000 soldiers, 2,300 contractors and hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi soldiers, policemen and civilians, the fateful choices made after the attacks had profound ramifications for the U.S. government and continues to be a major contributor to its fiscal woes. If one includes both the next decade’s interest payments on the debt-financed wars and future veterans’ benefits, the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is now estimated to reach more than $5 trillion.
The human and emotional costs of 9/11 can never be measured. What price does one put on the nearly 3,000 innocent lives lost, or the hundreds of thousands of soldiers, contractors and civilians who died or were maimed during the decade of war triggered by the suicidal assault on the World Trade Center and Pentagon by 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists, who bore nothing more deadly than box cutters?
Then there are the intangible costs. What monetary value does one put on the erosion of national confidence; the restrictions on civil liberties; or the psychic dread of a seemingly endless war on terror? What would you pay for the right to board an airplane in peace?