A Two-War Hangover

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The Pentagon brass are trekking to Capitol Hill this week to detail how they’re trimming their budgets now that all U.S. troops are out of Iraq, and have begun coming home from Afghanistan. But it’s important to remember that wars’ costs last far longer than wars’ duration.

Here’s a new chart from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget request showing how its budget has grown in recent years. It has more than doubled, from $62.3 billion in 2004, to an estimated $140.3 billion in 2013. Next year’s request represents a nearly 11% hike over 2012’s level.