$641.7 Billion


…is the total, estimated, direct cost to U.S. taxpayers of the war in Afghanistan, through Sept., 30, 2013. That’s a new, higher number from Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in a study on the war’s real price tag he released Wednesday. That’s 21 years’ worth of Afghanistan’s 2011 annual gross domestic product, according to the CIA. The last accounting, from the Congressional Research Service, pegged the war’s cost at $444 billion through March, 2011.

What’s more amazing, according to Cordesman’s bean-accounting, is that $198.2 billion of the $641.7 billion – nearly one dollar in three spent fighting the decade-long war – is slated to be paid out this year and next. “This is an incredible amount of money to have spent,” Cordesman writes, “with so few controls, so few plans, so little auditing, and almost no credible measures of effectiveness.”

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