Trump quoted a study that estimated the U.S. would spend $7 trillion on wars through 2056. It is true that thousands of Americans died in the Iraq war
Shortly after coming to office, President Donald Trump started falsely claiming that the U.S. spent trillions of dollars in the Middle East.
What Trump is referring to is a study conducted by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University that included estimates of future obligations through 2056 for veterans’ care, according to Washington Post. The estimate comes from combining data for both former presidents George W. Bush’s Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan and homeland security spending. The study claims that the combined cost of these wars would surpass the $7 trillion figure by 2056 when interest on the debt is considered almost four decades from now.
Another study conducted by the Watson Institute stated that the U.S. spent $6.4 trillion on post-9/11 wars and military action in the Middle East and Asia between 2001, after the 9/11 attacks, until 2020. Neta Crawford, the author of the study, explained to CNBC that the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria have expanded to more than 80 countries. Trump’s estimates of the war cost borne by the U.S. include the money spent on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are not part of the Middle East. All other estimates by other studies also include the Afghanistan War, which is not a part of the Middle East.
A PolitiFact report citing data from the Congressional Research Service revealed that between 2001 and 2014, the U.S. spent an estimated $815 billion on the Iraq War and on keeping American service members for assistance in its aftermath. PolitiFact concluded that the money spent on the war in the Middle East is closer to $2 trillion.
Additionally, even though Trump called going to the Middle East ‘the worst decision in the country’s history,’ there is no evidence to suggest he was opposed to it. Once Iraq was invaded, Trump supported the move in several interviews, an A.P. fact check found. “It looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint,” Trump had reportedly told Fox News.
The president only opposed the move 18 months into the war, when many Americans started changing their mind about the war. A total of 4,505 Americans were killed in the Iraq War, including 4,418 military casualties and 13 civilian casualties.