The High Cost of Our Global War on Terror

Stephen Raburn
2 min readMay 12, 2022


Written May 10, 2019

Universal Healthcare….Tuition-free public education… How on earth do you plan on paying for it, they say. Socialist, they call me.

Consider… it’s been 16 years since the invasion of Iraq (remember Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, etc.). Bush’s “Global War on Terror” continues on in Iraq and other countries still — the longest war in US history.

The cost:

• $5.6 Trillion (as of last year, per Brown University’s Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs). Can’t wrap your mind around that number? That comes to $32 Million per HOUR or $24,000 for every taxpayer in the US.

• More importantly: 165,000 direct Iraqi civilian deaths (as of 2015) with at least four times as many people dying from the side effects of war: malnutrition, environmental degradation, and deteriorated infrastructure with hospitals and clinics bombed and medicine rationed, etc.

• 8,000 US soldiers and military contractor deaths (in Iraq alone).

• Greater political upheaval, unrest, and terrorist groups in the Middle East than ever before as the US-led coalition is seen not as liberators but aggressors which have spurred insurgent recruitment.

The benefits:

Stockholders of the companies who won contracts related to the war are the big winners… the top ten netted $72 Billion between them- the largest being KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, once run by Bush’s VP Dick Cheney, which was awarded nearly $40 Billion in federal contracts during the first few years of the war.

Call me Socialist all you want, but, if we can find some way to spend $32 Million an hour on death and destruction while fleecing the pockets of war machine profiteers, I’m pretty sure we can find a way to cover pre-existing conditions.

Even if you believe our efforts in the Middle East have made us safer, you’d have a hard time convincing me that there wasn’t a better way to spend $5.6 Trillion with equal or better results as it relates to our safety and security. Maybe direct a little of that cash to prevent school shootings? And maybe focus a little more on burgeoning home-grown white nationalist terrorist groups?



Stephen Raburn

Stephen Raburn is a writer, daydreamer, activist, and father of two amazing daughters. He lives in Durham, NC.