us costs of wars through 2014.

A full accounting of war’s burdens cannot be placed in columns on a ledger. From the civilians harmed or displaced by violence, to the soldiers killed and wounded, to the children who play on roads and fields sown with improvised explosive devices and cluster bombs, no set of numbers can convey the human toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or how they have spilled into neighboring states and come home to the US. Yet, the expenditures noted on government ledgers are necessary to apprehend, even as they are so large as to be almost incomprehensible.

Congress and the Executive Branch describe the wars as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). The U.S. has spent and taken obligations to spend approximately $4.4 trillion on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan not including the money requested for FY2015. The spending has occurred in several categories. A large portion of the costs for these wars occur in OCO appropriations for the State Department and Department of Defense (See Table 1 and 5 which includes the spending requests for FY2015 and the Appendix).

Although the U.S. war in Iraq was of shorter duration than the ongoing combat operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan (known as AfPak), the Iraq War was comparatively more expensive.