US spends trillion to fight ISIL, but price tag could grow

Global Business

According to some studies, the U.S. has spent as much as $6 trillion fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s more than annual GDP for Japan — the world’s fifth largest economy.

How much more does the U.S. need to spend to defeat ISIL? Some say it’s not how much is spent, but where and how that matters.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

US spends trillion to fight ISIL, but price tag could grow

According to some studies, the U.S. has spent as much as $6 trillion fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s more than annual GDP for Japan — the world’s fifth largest economy. How much more does the U.S. need to spend to defeat ISIL? Some say it’s not how much is spent, but where and how that matters. CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

The U.S. is currently spending nearly $13 million every day keeping around 6,000 of its soldiers in Syria and Iraq as military advisers — part of a global coalition fighting ISIL.

Donald Trump reportedly wants to boost that number to fulfill a key pledge. So how much more would that cost?

“What we know from Afghanistan and Iraq is that it costs us in these austere environments sort of a billion dollars a year to keep a thousand people in theater,” said Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution.

But deploying troops may be just a fraction of the real price. Much of that rebuilding will fall to the U.S. State Department whose budget is about to be cut back.

Trump’s team said this was about promoting hard rather than soft power. And it revived an ongoing debate about defeating groups like ISIL through diplomacy or force, or both.

So what options are available?

It’s clear the overall cost of putting an end to ISIL will be astronomical. The Iraqi government thinks rebuilding Anbar Province and Mosul — where some of the most intense fighting is still taking place — will cost $50 billion alone.

And that’s just one country.


Kamran Bokhari discusses driving financial support of terror groups

For more on ISIL and terrorism funding, CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke with Kamran Bokhari. He’s a Senior Fellow with the Center for Global Policy, and Fellow with the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.