ISIS’ media outlet, al-Naba, is often looking for new talking points on the ongoing US-led war against them, and has most recently begun looking to data released by the US government itself, bragging that the US war has cost $8.5 billion over the past two years, roughly $12 million a day.
This figure is a direct extrapolation of the US data released on the cost. The US government statements on war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan were both dramatic underestimations, and there is ample reason to believe that the ISIS war estimates are similarly so.
Indeed, the US official data includes just a rough estimate of fuel costs, troop salaries, and the explosives dropped on ISIS around Iraq and Syria but excludes other significant factors, including substantial expenses upgrading facilities on the ground to use during the war, and replacing massive amounts of US military aid initially provided to the Iraqi government, looted by ISIS, and subsequently destroyed in the airstrikes.
The cost of the war ought to include the cost of rearming Iraq’s military, arming and training the assorted dubious Syrian rebel factions, and the long-term costs of reconstruction of the cities the US is currently in the process of destroying. In the long run, this first two years will cost America dramatically more than $8.5 billion.
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