The 9/11 Attacks in Historical Perspective, 20 Years Later – Vast Spending With Dubious Returns

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The global war on terror triggered by 9/11 was a vast undertaking. It took hundreds of thousands of lives, reshaped America’s relations with large parts of the world and challenged its moral compass. It also involved spending a lot of money.

Total spending by the Defense Department, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security from 2001 to 2020, including current and likely future spending on veterans, comes to $5.4 trillion, or about $230 billion a year. That is just over 1% of 2021 [gross domestic product]. That’s a lot. But it is also low enough to explain why it was possible for the U.S. to carry on for much ofTotal spending by the Defense Department, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security from 2001 to 2020, including current and likely future spending on veterans, comes to $5.4 trillion, or about $230 billion a year. That is just over 1% of 2021 [gross domestic product]. That’s a lot. But it is also low enough to explain why it was possible for the U.S. to carry on for much of that time as though nothing were happening.The financial impact was further obscured by the way in which the war on terror was financed. Before 2001, U.S. wars were funded through tax increases or major bond drives.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.

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