Thanks to the Navy Seals and our intel community, Osama Bin Laden is part of the food chain for ocean floor bottom feeders. We are collectively taking a deep breath and wondering how soon we can finally close the book on the War on Terror we have been waging for almost ten years. Not surprisingly, this has led to a good deal of reflection on the ultimate costs we have paid thus far.
We have lost much. There can be no replacement for the thousands of American lives lost, nor the civil liberties we have sacrificed at the altar of national security. It has scarred our collective psyche and immured an entire generation in the ravages of war.
In addition there is the cost in actual dollars and cents, the one currency both sides of this war must spend. Jihad costs money. Protecting against terror attacks costs money, too. A lot of money.
Let’s review the books. Easily obtainable online estimates suggest well over one trillion dollars has been spent on the military operations waged subsequent to Bin Laden’s successful attack on September 11, 2001. Added to that are the security enhancements to our travel system, equipment personnel and incarceration costs for our federal law enforcement efforts, and small but costly covert operations, which all have price tags in the billions. In short, we have spent a staggering amount of money–easily equivalent to the entire national debt circa 1984–on defeating a few thousand, loosely banded, dangerous fanatics. Read more »