Expensive wars have become an American tradition and the global “War on Terror” is proving no exception. The cost of “War on Terror” operations including both Afghanistan and Iraq reached $1.6 trillion by FY2014, according to data compiled by the Mercatus Center citing the Congressional Research Service. Taking war funding approved by Congress for FY2015 into account, the total reaches $1.7 trillion.
Of that, the vast majority, $1.562 trillion, has been allocated to the Department of Defense. Compared to past wars, U.S. military operations since 9/11 have proven extremely expensive. Putting the cost of the “War on Terror” into perspective, the Vietnam War is estimated to have cost $686 billion when adjusted for inflation.
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Facts and statistics on Terrorism
A growing issue worldwide, terrorism, has caused around 130, 000 fatalities worldwide between 2006 and 2013. Terrorism can be described as the wrongful use of violence in order to intimidate civilians or politicians for ideological, religious, or political reasons with no regard for public safety. Although the number of terrorist attacks from 2006 to 2013 has decreased, there have been approximately 90, 000 total terrorist attacks in this time period. The number of terrorist attacks was distressingly high during the early 2000’s due to the terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda on the United States and the wars in the Middle East during this time period. In the past year, the country with the most terrorist attacks was Iraq, followed by Pakistan and Afghanistan. Altogether, the number of terrorist attacks in these countries amounted to around 7, 400 attacks. The high number of attacks becomes of greater relevance due to the fact that these three countries amount to the double of the combined attacks in the other seven nations in the top ten countries with the most terrorist attacks in the past year. Despite having been the country with the most terrorist attacks in 2013, there were more fatalities due to terrorist attacks in Afghanistan in 2011 than in Iraq.
The most notorious group for carrying out such terrorist attacks is Al-Qaeda. In 14 different terrorist attacks in 14 countries throughout the world, the combined death toll was over 4, 000 deaths. From a global point of view, the region in the world with the highest number of terrorist attacks in recent years was the Near East and South Asia. The number of terrorist attacks in this region in 2011 amounted to almost 8, 000 attacks. The number of terrorist attacks in this region is more than the triple of the attacks in Africa, Europe and Eurasia, East Asia and Pacific and Western Hemisphere combined. Despite not being the most common type of attack in acts of terrorism in recent years, the greatest number of deaths comes from bombing-related types of terrorist attacks with the primary targets being civilians and police.
Not only does terrorism have a massive social impact on the world, but it also has a tremendous global economic impact. The costs of terrorist attacks by insured property losses have cost the insurance industry billions over the past decade. The bombing of the London financial district in 1993 cost the insurance industry around 1 billion U.S. dollars.
This chart shows estimated war funding by agency from 2001 to 2015.
You will find more statistics at Statista