The costs include all of the funding that has been requested by the President and appropriated by Congress for the wars through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2013. These figures include both military and non-military spending, such as reconstruction. Spending includes only incremental costs – those additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers' regular pay is not included but combat pay is included. Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. These figures also do not include interest payments on the national debt that will result from higher deficits due to war spending.
The war in Afghanistan and Iraq
The war in Afghanistan is an ongoing conflict that was initiated when the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom in October 7, 2001, in order to remove the Taliban regime from power and to dismantle the Islamic terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. The war was a direct consequence of the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001.
The United States and its allies quickly captured major cities and towns in the country and drove the Taliban from power. In December 2001, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was established by the United Nations Security Council, to oversee security in Afghanistan. In 2003 the NATO assumed leadership of ISAF troops. ISAF forces include troops from 43 different countries. After the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces, NATO-member countries endorsed an exit strategy for the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan. Up to today, the Afghan war has resulted in more than 10,000 casualties.
The Iraq War was an armed conflict between forces from several countries, led by the United States (named “coalition of the willing”), and the Iraqi government. The conflict was initiated on March 20, 2003, when international forces invaded Iraq and officially ended when in December 18, 2011 the U.S. completed its withdrawal of military personnel. The intention of the invasion was to overthrow the existing regime of the Ba’ath party under President Saddam Hussein, establishing democratic elections and forming a new government. The invading forces succeeded, destroying Saddam Hussein’s regime on April 9, 2003. The subsequent emergence of insurgent militancy and display of opposition to invading forces and the newly formed government still continues and causes many fatalities.