One soldier, one year: $850,000 and rising
A US servicemember stands a post on a hill in Afghanistan. (CNN Photo)
February 28th, 2012
05:50 PM ET

One soldier, one year: $850,000 and rising

By Larry Shaughnessy

Keeping one American service member in Afghanistan costs between $850,000 and $1.4 million a year, depending on who you ask. But one matter is clear, that cost is going up.

During a budget hearing today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, asked Department of Defense leaders, "What is the cost per soldier, to maintain a soldier for a year in Afghanistan?" Under Secretary Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, responded "Right now about $850,000 per soldier."

Conrad seemed shocked at the number.

"That kind of takes my breath away, when you tell me it's $850,000," Conrad said

A Pentagon spokesman later said a more accurate figure is $815,000 a year.

Regardless of which number is used Sen. Conrad would be really shocked by the estimate that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments reached about the same issue.

"The cost per troop in Afghanistan has averaged $1.2 million per troop per year," the center's Todd Harrison wrote in an analysis of last year's Department of Defense budget.

Why the difference? Harrison said the center arrives at its figure by taking "the amount of money spent in Afghanistan for a year and dividing it up by the number of soldiers."

He believes Hale's estimate is lower because the Pentagon removes some costs, like construction, from the Afghanistan spending and divides that lower number by the number of troops.

But one thing is clear, the cost is rising. Hale said the Department of Defense figure was until recently $600,000 a year. And Harrison said the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments' estimate for 2012 is up to $1.4 million.

Harrison said there are two important factors contributing to the increase. There are fewer troops in Afghanistan than in 2011, and the latest Defense budget puts millions into war spending that in previous years were part of the department's base budget.

Hale sees another reason why it's climbing. The major component of the extra costs in Afghanistan are higher operating costs for weapons. When you're in a war you are operating a much higher tempo. "That's a good part that's probably 50% of the budget," he testified.

One thing is clear, the soldier impacts only a small percentage of that cost. A typical army sergeant with four years service makes a base pay of less than $30,000 a year.

soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Joe Sanchez

    Its difficult to find well-informed people on this topic, but you seem like you know what youre talking about! Thanks

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    July 2, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  2. In home personal training

    I would love to see a breakdown of this.I want to see where the money is being spent.This is crazy to me.

    April 2, 2014 at 8:03 am | Reply
  3. Katharyn Sadar

    In response to the story at: http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/gay-waitress-not-tipped-because-she-affront-god-162900644.html. DearnDayna, Serving in the military is a noble cause but surely you must realize by now that fighting illegal wars is hardly a noble use of noble men and women. The US military has become a machine of death for the deceiver to use at his will, All the noble men and women (such as yourself) are just cogs in that machine to be used as a tool to further the deceivers reach of spreading death and despair. Killing innocent men, women and children is hardly the proper use of a powerful military dont you think? The deceiver has Gods children killing each other and he is very sad to see this happening. The love God has for you and I is uncomparably opposite to the hatred the deceiver has towards us. Being in the military has given you a view of the physical battlefield but are you aware of the spiritual battlefield? Yes believe it or not there is a battle for our souls. You are a fallen soul who has fell victim to the deception of the world. Your choice to be lesbian is only supported by the world because the world is of deception. You are losing this spiritual battle, at this point you are an asset for deceptive forces. The deceiver is using the popularity you brought to this story to further push his agenda to destroy mankind. You are being used as a proxy warrior for the deceiver. Come back to God repent of your sins (as us Christians do everyday) and let the Love of Jesus fill you. We Christians still love you and are sad to see a fellow human consumed by deception. Come back to your natural state and start fighting the good fight. Us Christians will be here in the trenches to risk our lives with you in this spiritual battle. There is no higher power than the power of God. Love, Your Fellow Christian. PS. "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." Romans 1:24-27

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    November 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  4. Ava Ketamine

    If all of this money was used to do peace and help other poor countries, this would be paradise.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • wow

      I bet you wish it was that simple you damn hippy. They would just kill us. How about you learn some things about the human brain and how there can't be ultimate peace.

      August 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • TonyM

      In an idealistic world the money would be spend on the poor in peaceful endeavors. But then, in an idealistic world there would be no poor. But human nature is such that no matter what someone has, someone else wants more and that's how wars start.

      August 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Reply
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  6. CALL IT LIKE I SEE IT

    Like I said it sounds like a bunch of Democrats are on here whining and crying about their problems and blaming everybody else for them.

    March 17, 2013 at 6:21 am | Reply
  7. CALL IT LIKE I SEE IT

    Sounds like a bunch of Democrats are on here whining and crying about their problems and blaming everybody else for them.

    March 17, 2013 at 6:19 am | Reply
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  10. SANDY

    BLAME THE AMERICANS FOR VOTING FOR GEORGE W. BUSH, WHO TRULY WAS, IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE DUMBEST PRESIDENT THAT UNINFORMED AND IDIOT AMERICANS HAVE EVER VOTED FOR; NEXT TO JIMMY CARTER, OF COURSE. AND AMERICANS HAVE SUPPORTED THE WARS, IRAQ AND AFGAN; THEY WANTED IT. AND THE QUESTION REMAINS....WHERE ARE THE WMD'S ?????

    September 12, 2012 at 9:20 am | Reply
    • Sooooo

      So you think war is good thing.What happened to civilians ?

      September 17, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • leon parker

      W Bush left in Jan 2009, 45 months ago

      October 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • R. GRUENWALD

      GWB, not the sharpess knife in the drawer, but look at the choices amongst the GOP this time.

      GOP is a dieing party, as it stands. Relying on voter suppression, and other rather un American plans to sway the vote.

      Jimmy Carter was a good President, and honest Christian man sent into a pit Washingtofn D.C. let's not make progress by running him down. Let us change Government, and use better language as we do it.

      November 11, 2012 at 3:48 am | Reply
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  13. John Smith

    NONE of these kids is a real patriot, soldier, veteran, American or REAL MAN like the men of World War !!.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • PROUD DISABELD VET

      are you freakin serious? so explain to me the difference between the loss of my leg in a roadside IED attack plus being shot 3 times while laying on the side of the road bleeding and the loss of 2 soldiers in the same attack, to what my grandfathers experienced in the marines in 1943-1947 to earn their purple hearts.

      March 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Reply
      • Sergeant P

        Vietnam was a diffrent war, with diffrent soldiers, under diffrent circumstances, with a diffrent objective. Same ending, pointless, not resulting in a descernable win, plenty of PTSD, enviormental related illness aka Agent orange or for our guys who went to Iraq around 2003-2005 the yellow shower water that resulted in thousands of abnormal skin conditions denied by Halliburton. Tons of folks profited, some soldiers returned and did great, others fell apart. Same story diffrent region.

        Political overcast rains on both groups, none get proper medical care, non get proper job placement, most have too much pride to regret it, others dont know anything else so stick with it, all of us secretly wonder WTF? We have the badge of being Vets, however in the end as I said before there is always that lingering WTF? thats never gonna go away. WTF is not translated to regret, it simply means ok we did a job but why?

        March 9, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Conservatism + History = Success

      How very rude and inappropriate, but simply put you opinion doesn't matter. They don't need your praise, any more than I accept your chastisement.

      The soldiers today honor those who have gone before. We honor those that fought, as well as those that fell. To true veterans, that is enough without need to make comparisions. My only hope is those I train think enough of me to do the same.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
    • Adam

      I wish I could meet you, and show you what a real man is you coward.

      July 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • Delbruegge

      You must be kidding! You're a disgrace to this country if you say that the "kids" of today that raise their right and a take an oath to serve in the military aren't "real patriots or Americans". So the people that served in the Korean war, WW1, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, and present day Afghanistan..........all of those soldiers and people aren't "real Americans or patriots"? Wow... Have you ever served in the military? Probably not!

      November 20, 2012 at 2:27 am | Reply
    • hubert39

      Why our people join the military? Go to Google or another search engine and ask this question. Patriotism comes in
      around 8 out of 10 reasons. Back in the 1950's and early 60's people joined the guard or reserves to stay out of the, real military. Know of about 25 who did this. Afew of these retired after 40 years with full military benifits.
      Of course thise days are long gone. Now you can be called up.

      November 20, 2012 at 7:01 am | Reply
  14. Sergeant P

    Now that 850k their talking about per soldier more then likely goes to Halliburton, SCAIC, HoneyWell, Northrup Grundman, KBR, Dyna Corp, L3, and all of those other contracted companies who pay their employees 150k or more a year to serve icecream at the DFAC, and watch Afghanies clean toilets. I met a guy who drove a van back and forth on the base making 90k a year tax free he worked for KBR. Thats where the damn money is going. The guys over here at L3 company are making 250k a year to fix Airplanes while I am out there with them fixing the same planes for 30k a year at the same location. The defense spending is WAAAAAY Over paying their contractors! Because Dick Cheney OWNS HALLIBURTON which owns most of the contracting companies, and most of our Generals and E-9's have purchased insane amounts of Stocks in new military equipment such as the new assault vehicles. So when these higher ranking guys know a new military contract is on the table they purchase stock in it like crazy then push the contract through no matter how rediculous the price and justify its use for the troops who never even get to see the equipment until their old crap has been encapacitated. Its a numbers game the money is being wasted on greed the soldiers arent seeing it.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Boots on Ground

      Get your facts straight. Dick Cheney never owned Haliburton. He was a chairman at one time, but he left the company and sold all his stock before he ran for office with G-Dub.

      Yes, the people who do mindless work like watch other people work (no, not NCO's) and the people who drive trucks and what not do get about 90k, tax free. There are not enough bodies in uniform available to do those jobs (adequately) so the work is contracted out.

      Those of us who actually have a skill do command a higher salary, and let me tell you that we do have to pay taxes. But lets do some simple math, shall we? The government is not paying our mortgages back home while we're out here in harm's way (like they do for married soldiers). The government is not paying for or providing medical insurance for us while we sacrifice just as many things as you do while we're out here (like they do for soldiers and retirees + recent ETSers). If we're lucky enough to catch one of those chinese rockets someday the government is not going to give our families $400,000.00 in an insurance payout. If our function is no longer needed the government is not going to be there with another job or occupation for us when the contract is terminated (like they do for soldiers). Finally, the government will NEVER have to worry having to pay us a pension if we hang around for 20 or so years. They use us, as needed, and then they discard us.

      You also fail to realize that the government actually has a need for contracted skilled professionals to do jobs that the military simply does not have the man power for. Sure, some soldiers can work alongside a skilled professional. I have soldiers by my side every day and I teach them what I know so that they can be less reliant on me (i.e. self sufficient) AND so they have somewhere to go after they choose to get out of the military.

      Lastly, you seem pretty well versed on who the major defense contracting firms are. What's keeping you from buying up their stock as well? Those companies are publicly traded and EVERYONE knows we're at war and we use amazing technologies to fight our wars. Those Generals and E-9s, as you claim, don't know anything you don't. They also don't buy stock in individual programs / projects, that's impossible. So go ahead and make yourself a little mutual fund and fill it with stock from Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. Those are the top five defense contracting companies. If you do that you'll find that you're losing money faster than Charles Barkley playing golf with Michael Jordan. Those companies have not fared any better than the rest of the Dow Jones companies.

      It's obvious you're bitter because you regret some of the decisions you've made. Let's just use some reason and logic before throwing a tantrum, ok?

      March 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
      • Sergeant P

        Umm yes lets get our facts straight. The government uses us and and discards us too when were no longer needed. Have you heard of the last 7 years of roll back where the Airforce dropped over 40 thousand bodies, the Army is dropping half of its NCO corp. The Marines are cutting bodies, and the Navy as well and WE DONT HAVE A JOB BACK HOME EITHER nor do we have a cushy 200k to show for our year of deployment to sit on until a job opens. Instead we are left with a as you stated (MORTGAGE) family, no health insurance, and the government would have enough bodies if they quit kicking us out and expanding our mission on a whim. I dont care how you do the numbers nothing I get remotely adds to 250k. Infact with my healthcare, my base pay, my housing allowance, my food I will do you one solid I will add it all up for you. 30k base pay right? ok now lets add my housing for the year 15k ok so were at 45k now lets add my medical I have no wife or kids so lets say a round 200 a month for 12 months should cover me being single with no serious ailments hmmm 2400 for the year so lets add that 2400 to my WHOPPING 45k ok so now were at 47,400. Now lets toss in my food allowance and now were at about 51,200, ok lets toss in some of that big clothing allowance I get thats about 400 bucks 200 on a off year so lets just round it off to 300 yearly thats 51,500, now lets look at what life insurance would cost me if I was a civilian lets say for the same 400,000 dollar policy I would pay hmmm being young and risky around 200 a month thats another 2400. Now were at a whopping 53,900. Now lets say we even add in my education tuition assistance which just got cut thats 4500 a year 58,400, now lets toss in the fact that I PAY TAX ON EVERY CENT! hmm so now my 58,400 being single never married no dependants brings me down to about 49k.

        WHERE IS THE OTHER 200K that I am magically getting that is somehow missing from my facts? The fact is its cheaper to use soldiers then contractors and they can throw us away just the same, infact THEY DO! Now I am deployed right now so lets bump my 58k up to a whopping 62k this year ITS STILL NOT ANY WHERE NEAR 90 to 250K and YES WE ARE SKILLED AND CAN DO THE SAME WORK YOU DO! INFACT MOST OF YOU ARE PRIOR MILITARY WHO WAS TRAINED THE SAME WAY WE ARE NOW! Infact some of us are better trained. You hopped online and got some 18 month certs so you can get paid 6 figures to do the same job we do daily for years with less training and they wonder where this wasted money is going. I cost the government 62k a year on a good year with a deployment you cost them 250k so one of you COST THEM 4 of ME! and were eqaully expendable!

        So get your facts straight.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
      • Boots on Ground

        You do not pay taxes, at all, while you're deployed.

        I'm glad you feel entitled to the same pay as those who get out and actually make something of themselves. You're in for a rude awakening when you do finally get out. You'll be begging for your 62k salary. I was happy as hell to get picked up at 45k when I got out 7 years ago. It takes a whole lot more than simply getting a little cert to get picked up by one of these companies. It's actually very competitive and demanding. They only pick up people with over 10 years experience and degrees; but that's if you want to be treated like an adult and respected. You wouldn't know it cause all you see is what you have around you. Perception is reality, I suppose.... There is a world beyond your field of view. The sooner you realize that the sooner you'll cheer up and hopefully feel less entitled.

        Yes, the military is downsizing, but it's the first time since the early nineties. I don't know why you're scared though since you're so 'skilled'.... They are targeting the fat-bodies, PT failures, poor performers, and a boat-load of E-8's and E-9's. I know you're not a senior enlisted NCO (your behavior is proof positive of that) so that leaves the dirt bags... If that's you, then you have no one to blame but yourself when they give you the boot. If it's not you, then what are you bitching about?

        It's easy to be spiteful and resent what you don't know. If you don't like your situation, then change it, but don't expect anyone to hand you anything. If anything, you should be GRATEFUL for pulling in a commanding 62k a year at your age and level of (im)maturity. Most people would KILL to get that level of support, salary, security, and care. And all you had to do was 8 weeks of boot camp and a few months of FREE specialized training.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • SomeDude

        Yeah, but it's been proven (ex: independent study of Wikileaks cables, U.S. audit withholding hundred of billions of dollars in checks to Halliburton) that the Afghan and Iraqi wars were "filled with MASSIVE waste and MASSIVE corruption" – we are essentially paying 2-3 trill for a couple hundred bill of work. Thank Christ Obama put an end to the no bid handingout of trillions, which are marched out the front door to war mongeringcompanies, under the guyise of "war on terror". Yeah, why did we attack Iraq again? What's out goal in afghan war?

        March 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
      • fay ruujin

        what you need is "boot up side of your head" to knock some sense into you. the 1 Fing war was based upon a lie and the other has not been of any good, unless your a war profiteer. don't be a chump and try to justify in ANY way these 2 huge messes. Bush should be charged with mass murder and but in prison forever.

        August 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Conservatism + History = Success

      There is a lot of truth in your post. A few factual inaccuracies, but I have witnessed many of the things you state. The waste in these conflicts are staggering.

      If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Money was FLOODED into these conflicts to solve problems.
      Nuff said.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Reply
  15. Sergeant P

    The real issue once you get up there in rank is something called GWOT funding for military spending. Lets say a Commander gets 1 million in the year 2012 for his budget and this covers Aircraft fuel, deployment gear, travel, printer ink, copy paper, and the loooooong list of stuff we need to run daily operations. Lets say this commander figures out a way to instead of spending 1 million to simply spend 500k and saves the DOD 500k. Well instead of the DOD saying "Gee maybe we should put that 500k in savings for them next year and add it to their 1 million we usually give them". The DOD says ok next year your budget is 500k no more 1 million because its obvious you dont need it. This was a George Bush idea btw. So instead of trying to save money and having their budget decreased a Commander gets paranoid and hoards all of his money until mid year when he says "OH CRAP WE HAVE 750k in our accounts to spend ASAP!!!" So he pays a grand for trash cans, and 2 grand for trash bags, buys flat screens, and everything else that can consume money, he buys new Aircraft parts (Because their expensive as hell) even if he doesnt need them, he flies the crap out of his planes to burn the gas money up, breaks quiet hours to pay the fine to make sure every cent of the 750,000 dollars is spent so at the end of the fiscal year he can say "See Uncle Sam I do need to continue having my 1 million because I spent it all". So Uncle Sam says well it seems you do so here you go!

    The Commander feels like shit because on his spending rampage he forgot a bunch of important stuff he needs, he bought about of stuff he didnt need, and everyones crying about what they didnt get but he has no choice, its use it or lose it. THANK BUSH FOR GWOT FUNDING aka Global War on Terrorism Funding. In lamens terms if you want to keep getting your million every year you have to spend your million every year, and if you spend 1 dollar less you lose 1 dollar from your million GWOT the DUMBEST ISH EVER THOUGHT OF!

    March 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • Jared

      It wasn't George Bushs idea to cut funding to departments that don't spend their whole budget. That's been a reality of government spending in every Western government for longer then either of us has been alive.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  16. Joe Sixpack

    the center arrives at its figure by taking "the amount of money spent in Afghanistan for a year and dividing it up by the number of soldiers."

    A typical army sergeant with four years service makes a base pay of less than $30,000 a year.

    The remainder goes to Halliburton.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:33 am | Reply
    • KRIS

      YEAH THIS IS DEFINATELY A PLAY ON NUMBERS. IF THEY HAD EVEN SPENT AN 1/8 OF $850,000 A YEAR ON US MARINES IN IRAQ WE WOULDNT HAVE BEEN RIDING AROUND IN ARMORLESS HUMMERS AND WOULD HAVE BROUGHT MORE MARINES HOME. I WAS A PFC AT THE TIME AND SAVED UP $12,000 IN 9 MONTHS, AND ATE MREs MOST HALF THE TIME. WHERE DID THE REST OF THE MONEY GO?

      March 6, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Sergeant P

      @ Joe Six Pack

      EXACTLY MY POINT! Someone argued me down but YES IT GOES TO CONTRACTORS they just cant say they give 6 figures to civilians to scoop icecream for corporations they have to pin it on us as our expense.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:05 am | Reply
  17. What Is

    One Million dollars.

    With a tax free municipal bond at 3% that could be $30K per year tax free without touching the principal.

    If you got a 5% return you could current match inflation and withdraw $2000 a month for about 35 years.

    A person could go to university for 10 years, buy a new car every three years, buy a nice condo to live in while going to university, have awesome parties, go on great Spring Break outings, and not have any student debt upon graduation.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  18. Female Sergeant

    I put in several years in the army as a female soldier. Made it to the Sergeant rank and stayed for three years at the rank. The time, effort and what I have to live through from the experience was not worth whatever I got paid. As a soldier you do whatever you can to survive. I was raped on three occassions and had to keep my mouth shut about it because it's what you are supposed to do. I had to literaly "blow" my way up and to keep some people happy that otherwise would make my life miserable if I did not. Again, survival. I ended up leaving after getting pregnant from a married officer, I didn't even want anything to do with the old fat bastard but I had to. Whatever cost they say it is for each one of us, whatever money we may get, is nothing in comparison to the long suffering we have to endure as a result of the experiences we have while in service.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • What Is

      Too bad you did not read the books or watch the movies Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or you may have known what to do, or at least know what to do now.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • Sergeant P

      I am not sure what made you believe you had to endure rape 3 times, or how you figured you had to keep the child or even engage in sexual activity with a married person especially an Officer but it sounds to me your not a victim of the military but a victim of a weak mind. Woman and men alike report rapes, and foul sexual plays, also as you a female soldier you are creating a mold that they all dont fit. I am a male soldier but I have seen female soldiers who made E-6 in record time who were married, faithful and strictly about business. It sounds like you may have went into the military without direction and fell victim to the company you kept. Usually when a rape occurs 80 percent of the time its someone you know, also it usually happens when both parties are in a situation they are not supposed to be. (Ie. Alone in a males room, drunk at a party, or passed out from some type of drugs.) Perhaps you should seek some outside therapy to discover the roots to your behavior, why you felt you had to comply when there are tons of advocacy groups ESPECIALLY during deployments, and you could have also went to your family and asked them their take on it. I wish you much success in your future but your experiance in the military is not a fair representation of our men and woman who serve.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
      • SSgt. T

        While I'm sympathetic to anyone who has an experience like hers I agree that it doesn't have to be like that. In my time in AF I don't think I went through a day without seeing a poster, email, or AFN commercial about all of the support that exists for women or men who have been sexually assaulted. There are so many ways to report things and so much protection for people who do report it. They might not be able to cure the emotional distress and pain you have, but they can make sure that person who did it doesn't have a chance to do it again in the military.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Joe Sixpack

      When I was in, every soldier I know would have had your back and made sure you didn't have to put up with that. Your buddies let you down. I'm glad you got out. Nobody deserves that.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • KRIS

      NOT SURE WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH THIS ARTICLE BUT SOUNDS LIKE YOU MIGHT NEED SOME PROFESSIONAL HELP. PERSONNALY I WOULD HAVE LEFT AFTER RAPE 2.... BUT WHAT DO I KNOW

      March 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • Ross

      I can't believe that you guys are blaming the victim- let's talk about weak minds shall we

      March 9, 2012 at 2:33 am | Reply
  19. TRUTH

    I've been in for three and a half years and just reenlisted. I have 5 years left with one deployment under my belt and multiple missions that directly affect the war that have been done from over here. I am 22 with a wife and a daughter. I have a nice place to live and drive a brand new Tahoe. My wife just stopped working because of my daughter and we still make ends meet like every other American has to. The reason this country is in trouble has nothing to do with contractors, civilians, military, etc. We are in trouble because most of you people are so f***ing dumb with your money and you waste so many opportunites that you breed mediocrity and failure. Anybody who is in the miiltary for at least four years and can't get a job when they get out is a moron. When I say that I mean you could be one of the idiots that got a 10 on their ASVAB and hands out towels at the gym and still get a job. I have been in college the whole time and have not paid for a book. A lot of careers get bonuses to reenlist and then they go out and buy a new car. I dont by any means have a lot of money. But, I work my balls off and provide nice things for my family while still going to college after my long days in uniform so when I get out I can have extra money and provide nicer things. 80% of Americans blame the government for them not having money and having the things they want. Nobody really works hard in high school anymore to get into a good college and a lot of people in upper 20's live with parents. Get off your video games and educate yourself. Stop eating all day and go get into shape. American was built on hard work. Now it's built on whiners and liars. I for one though will not let it beat me.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Dana

      Your a LIAR. Daddy or mommy is paying your way, Shut up.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
      • Samantha

        Dana, you must be very jealous of this soldier ! For a moment there, I almost thought it was my own son who wrote that ! Everything is the same, except my son does not have a wife or child. -Outstanding job soldier, well said and well done !

        February 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • TRUTH

        No actually my parents are divorced and don't have a lot of money. I grew up on a farm dip shit. Your part of the problem you people think nothing can happen unless it's handed to you. Pretty sad. After all my bills are paid I bring home enough to buy groceries and maybe go out a couple times. Oh ya...not to mention I don't have time to do anything because I work my ass off in school after I get out of work. You need to grow up maybe you will do something someday.

        February 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • TRUTH

        Also, as far as having a nice place to stay and not paying for a single book for college. It's one of the perks of being in the military and going to school at the same time! This original post is also directed at all the people who think soldiers have it horrible...could be a lot worse.

        February 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • TBag for You

      How's that brand new Tahoe working out for you? If you don't buy lavish things, then did daddy buy it?

      February 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Reply
      • TRUTH

        Please show me in my post where I said I don't buy nice things...I will put it that way because I definitely would never use the word lavish. I can explain it a little more special for you. In the military we don't pay for shit unless we have prior debts from before we joined. I am an E-4, look up my base pay and subtract some for taxes if you are capable. I joined when I was 18 therefore I have no debt. They give me a nice townhouse to live in that takes my BAH away and I pay nothing extra. After you get done crunching numbers ask yourself if you could afford a new Tahoe. If you can't figure out why I don't pay for college then there is no hope. I'm guessing you are someone on here agreeing with all the people that say they are in the military and don't make enough money to be above poverty. If that's the case they either blow all their money on stupid shit or they have insanely high debt from something prior. Every person I work with can pretty much do what they want because we all joined when we were 18. Congratulations on being part of society that just doesn't understand anything and likes to whine...if my parents helped me out at all or I grew up spoiled I would be on here crying that I can't afford a BMW...not saying that I'm thankful for what the military has provided my family and I. You are ignorant. Good luck with figuring out the math of my base pay and vehicle payment. Never thought a retard like you would come across and make me break this post down so much.

        February 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Eslinger, Kaelin

      POGUE

      February 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Reply
      • listek

        Its POG...it's "slang" hopefully some of you will understand the point this kid is making instead of just typing stupid crap

        February 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Sergeant P

      AMEN!!!! TRUTH!!!

      I have been in the military for 8 years I have 2 Associates degrees, 1 Bachelors, and 1 Masters (I am not an Officer), great credit scores, money saved, and I live in a house I plan to purchase in Germany where I have been since 2008, I am on my 4th deployment as we speak all in which I volunteered for. If you want it go get it. GOOD ON YOU TRUTH!

      March 4, 2012 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • Tony

      You seem very hostile toward your fellow servicemen and others alike. You have every reason to go above and beyond by taking classes and enriching yourself in a variety of ways, but you have no right to judge others for their personal decisions. You state that some people with re-up bonuses spend the money on a vehicle, well, you boast of owing a brand new tahoe.

      My point is, what may be beneficial for some may not always convert to the same for others, and you are not better than anyone else simply because you feel as though you spend your time for effectively. PS: I too am am active duty in the U.S military and stationed at Ramstein AB, Germany with the 86 Communications Squadron!

      March 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
      • listek

        I get hostile when I read service members posts on here about how we don't make enough money and we are treated so bad. My whole point was that we make plenty of money to live a happy life if we are smart with our decisions. I would encourage anyone to not use bonuses for new vehicles (which I didn't I traded my old car in and shopped for a good end of year deal through chevy) but use them for retirement or savings in case something happens again like the government not paying us. You know that being in the military there are a lot of people that are very ignorant with things like that which is why they offer classes all the time.

        March 12, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  20. Joe

    I am currently serving in the Middle East. I work twelve hours a day, seven days a week, plus another twenty hours a week doing PT and additional training. This come out to approximately one hundred hours a week. My base pay is approximately $28,800yr. With allowances this comes out to approximately 40,000yr. Given I am a college educated, possessing a bachelors degree, I am actually under payed.
    The real cost of troops is equipping them. Long gone are the days of being able to send troops into battle with little more than a rifle and a backpack full of gear. Modern war is highly mobile, and very mechanized. This calls for a reliance on mobility and heavy artillery. Modern military vehicles are often very heavily armored, and get used a lot. This entails frequent repairs, and uses a lot of fuel. Cost per vehicle, cost of fuel, and the cost of equipment all contribute to overall spending. When you factor in the logistics of transporting fuel and equipment to remote locations, over poor or nonexistent roads, this also contributes significantly to the overall cost. Moreover, it takes a great deal of infrastructure to support an army at war. This is not cheap either.
    The real question is not the cost per soldier, but why are we burdening American taxpayers by still supporting people who do not understand, or appreciate the idea of freedom?

    February 29, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
  21. bzzarr

    No matter how you figure it, its a whole lot of money. And if its gonna be spent it, should be being spent within the borders of the United States of America!

    February 29, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Eslinger, Kaelin

      less then 1% of American citizens actually serve in the military in the all the branches of the military under the DOD. Please do enjoy your right to bitch about money built on our very blood

      February 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  22. Pro Death

    I spent two days in a hospital thanks to a drunk driver (uninsured of course) and it took me almost a year to get an itemized list of the bill, one item was a "mucus recovery system for $400.00" it turned out to be a small box of kleenex, so with that in mind take into consideration screwdrivers are $200.00 and a toilet seat is $800.00 so exactly how much is the rest of his/her equiptment/gear 'cause they sure ain't getting paid 6 figures!

    February 29, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • Eslinger, Kaelin

      And yet I'm fighting with tricare to cover me with stress fractures in my right shin and arthritis in my right knee after four years service in the Marine Corp Infantry with 2 tours in Iraq in that time frame. How's that "bad cough" been lately? O, by the way, I'm 23 right now... how many 23 year old's you know got joint problems?

      February 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
      • listek

        fellow marine makin us look bad with a dumb comment that can't spell...thanks idiot

        February 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
      • listek

        the guy was sticking up for how much money we DON'T make

        February 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
      • listek

        maybe you should have gotten an education so you could have a job that provides healthcare. everybody in the military has joint problems it's nothing new

        February 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  23. JSM

    After all the money that the USA has spent in afghanistan would have bought it outright three times already.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • Eslinger, Kaelin

      If only we would actually invade a country just for oil, wouldnt that be nice?

      February 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  24. jburns

    American soldier coming home from Afghanistan.......priceless

    February 29, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
  25. real old guy

    OK, no Real American gives a damn about "innocent people" who aren't white and don't live in this country and get killed in some war in a place they couldn't locate on a map... but how much money do we have to spend to get our payback for 9/11? Isn't this expensive revenge getting a little old?

    February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • Amanda

      Perfect! And b/c it's typically poor, lesser educated American's that are losing their lives and limbs most American's don't care about that either. They care if we "win" no matter the cost. But ask them what winning means and most can't give it a definition. Just about the craziest people on the planet, or easily the easiest to manipulate with "patriotism" and "god". Makes me wonder what I ever wore a uniform for...

      February 29, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
      • Boots on Ground

        This is completely untrue. A study has been conducted and just as many affluent people join the service as do 'poor' people. A patriot is a patriot regardless of how rich their family is.

        February 29, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • nolies

      If you're looking for payback for 9/11, you're in the wrong place. Our country's enemies are much closer than you think.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
  26. John Heitz

    How many bricks have to fall on a politician’s head before he finally gets the message? The recent inadvertent burning of Qu’rans in Afghanistan has given the radicals yet another opportunity to tell the unwelcome Americans that tribal society is preferred over democracy. While the radicals who have perverted Islam’s true purpose do not necessarily represent 100% of the Afghan people, one thing is crystal clear: All of Afghanistan, with its total population and worthless landscape is not worth one more drop of American blood! Trying to impose our way of life on them is a waste of American lives, money and time, not to mention their perversion of real democracy. It is pretty obvious that their mind set leaves at least another thousand years to be desired. What really has been accomplished there except to fill body bags with America’s finest? Get out and leave them to destroy themselves. If they are really interested in democracy, let them follow the examples provided in the “Arab Spring”.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
  27. sonny

    Get out of there. Nato is stupid and waste my money.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
  28. GaryOwen27

    Why is it the Red Neck Right has no problem spending all the money in the world on the moronic invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq but can't see spending anything on our own people?

    February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • christine

      Ignorance.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • Gerry

      ....you're kidding me right....you do know the gov't spends 3.1 trillion on it's civilians and people every year right? Between welfare, medicare, social security, and all the other programs out there for our people. Thats not including the defense budget of 1.3 to keep you safe in your home. The rest is gov't funds. Total the U.S. spends 6.4 trillion. They spend half of their funds on the American people...please do research before jumping on a bandwagon.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
      • pbcrabshaw

        spending is more like 3.5 trillion. Not sure how you arrive at 6.5 trillion

        February 29, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • Gerry

        Before the latest cuts. And they left welfare, medicare, and social security alone. Same amount spent on civilians. Less on defense and gov't/

        February 29, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • WTF?

        Ummmmm...the government doesn't pay for social security, they take it out of our paychecks. It ain't an entitlement. It is a completely separate tax that is entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund. So in essence it is an pension fund that we have been forced to pay into (unless you work for certain federal, state and local government agencies. Maybe YOU should do some research. Personally, I would never invest in a Ponzi scheme but social security is the governments way of forcing me to. Conservatives like calling it an entitlement because they want to do away with it. The only problem I have with that is over $75,0000 dollars have been taken from me over my lifetime and no one is talking about giving that back to me. And I am a blue collar worker who has hovered around the poverty level most of my life. Not complaining about my income, I have everything I need (with the possible exception of access to affordable healthcare) and when I want something I don't need, I work a little harder and try to find ways to save. I've never been on welfare, never had food stamps, and never collected unemployment when I was between jobs (most likely because I was to busy looking for work). So watch your mouth when you talk about Social Security being an "entitlement". Or maybe you'd like to write me a check for what I've paid in, then you can say anything you'd like about it with no worries about me giving a crap that you are an uninformed big mouth.

        March 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  29. nyroyalty

    These figures are ridiculous ... What did they do, factor in all of the high tech equipment that these soldiers possibly might use – and probably 1 per soldier even in situations where its a shared resource... They can't factor in say the cost of an automatic weapon. The cost of the weapon should be measured over the lifespan of that weapon. Just for example, if an automatic weapon costs 10k, and lifespan of that weapon may be 15 years or more, they shouldn't add the full 10k to the cost of one soldier .... It's not like he is taking that weapon home after discharge. These price quotes are ridiculous. It costs them maybe 50k high end estimate not including pay to "keep" a soldier over there for a year ... The stuff said soldier will use that he disposes of throughout that time is minimal. What does he get for his own , food, boot replacement, clothing, ammo ... They don't even keep their own helmets. Other equipment used to wage war should not be factored into the cost of a soldier. Tanks, trucks, weapons all have end of life dates that is WAY longer then the service of an average foot soldier. Not to mention that these things would exist regardless if we were overseas or not. They would still exist if every soldier we had was here in the US and not deployed.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • SeeThruIt2

      Weapons costs are lower when they are just used in peacetime training. The service life of a rifle is best measured in how many bullets it fires and how often it's cleaned. (Cleaning rods also cause wear on a rifle barrel.)

      In wartime deployments, those rifles are fired more often and cleaned daily.

      Also, Afghanistan in particular costs more to support the soldiers due to it's remote location and cost of transporting supplies there.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:34 am | Reply
      • nyroyalty

        I understand what you are saying and agree with what you said ... I'm just thinking, If a truck load of 20 thousand boots shows up, after dividing the transport cost up 20 thousand times, its fairly minimal per soldier. I just can't help but think an estimate of 850k to 1.4 million per soldier to only "keep" him over there for a year isn't completely ridiculous ... Ask a soldier what he thinks his 1.4 million was spent on ... I bet he busts out laughing. Also I'm sure weapons take beatings and a small percentage are trashed early or earlier then others .... However I'm certain that there are TONS of weapons still in use from the late 90's, early 2000's .... There would be no reason for them not to be ... We have tanks in service right now from 20 years ago from the gulf war .... If that tank is being used right now, that tanks costs should not be divided up per soldier that particular tank now provides support to if you know what I mean ...

        February 29, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • ColB

      The biggest cost to the war is the "contractor civilians" that the DoD is forced to hire because of the downsizing of the military. Contractors provide almost all the support for cooks and aircraft maintenance. I dont know what the per diem costs are in Afghanistan, but when my company had contractors in Kuwait, they were getting $354 a day per diem (tax free and their living costs are no where near that) and $45 an hour (guaranteed 60 week - 20 hours overtime @ 1.5 rate). The US tax laws allow that if you work 330 of 360 days in the middle-east, almost all of you pay is tax free. Therefore, I had civilian contract personnel making over $225,000 a year. Our troops are making $25-40,000 a year.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
      • Amanda

        All true, however the long term cost of retirement for all those jobs that can and have been contracted out have saved a ton of money in the long run. I can't remember the number/per cent but there is formula that is used to determine how many people who join the military every year will stay until they reach minimum benefits and max benefits. That formula is used when determining which positions can/should be contracted out. We can't contract out all the bullet catching jobs b/c we can't completely look like our military is hired guns for special interest groups like oil and opium. Contract cooks and IT, keep fighters as the war fighter and it looks like we are fighting for "democracy" and "patriotism".

        February 29, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • Boots on Ground

        I can tell you with 100% certainty (because I collect it) that the per diem rate in Afghanistan is in the TEENS of dollars per day. No where near what the full per diem rate in Kuwait is. Also, for 2011 one was allowed to exclude around 97k in income from their taxes IF they spent 330 days outside the country. And to add to what Amanda stated, the government is NOT on the hook for paying the contractor's mortgages (i.e. housing / barracks) back home, or giving them medical benefits, or college tuition, or feeding them, or paying death benefits when they're killed, or any of the other things that are provided to soldiers which are not reflected in their salaries. The ONLY thing a contractor gets is the salary (on which they must still pay taxes on)

        February 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Steve

      I will forgive your ignorance and naivete because you post in your name that you are royalty and we all know how oblivious and illogical royalty can be. I have served in a warzone so let me enlighten you a little...

      This estimate takes into account the food and water necessary for every soldier, the transport necessary to get it there, storage for those supplies, the shipping overseas to bring them those supplies....thats just food and water.

      That doesnt take into account their salary, the associated costs with being in a warzone such as add'l pay for being in a combat zone...nor did you mention the costs of ammo (a huge expense), diesel fuel (the most expensive now), weapon and vehicle replacement (you do know these things break right, especially in the desert)...

      I havent even begun to list the amount of support and supplies it takes to run even a small squad of soldiers in the middle of nowhere and I am not going to. The fact is you have no idea what you are talking about as I am going to take a wild (but pretty easy) guess you have never served, nor obviously know anyone who did.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  30. THE GOP IN DENIAL

    Perhaps that's your definition of fiscal responsibility especially when you deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged the Afghan war to invade Iraq.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • wolfpackbob

      President Obama stated in 2008 that Afghanistan was a noble cause or "the good war". How is that a reflection on Republicans?

      February 29, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
      • Charles M. Smith

        Um... The point of the above post was that Bush and Cheney essentially abandoned the Afghanistan conflict, which did have a proper justification, with which President Obama agrees. They instead invaded Iraq without any justification, quite possibly deliberatly misleading the country to get us into that conflict.

        February 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  31. mikrik13

    Money better spent would be to get out of Afghanistan and use those troops for "nation building" in MEXICO. Protecting our border, ridding MEXICO of all drug cartels, make MEXICO livable for the Mexican people and still maintaining a cash flow to the military industrial complex is a more logical way to go. Let the Arab League deal with the problems of the Middle East. Stop draining America of treasure and manpower that has and will never pay off for the American people. We have oil. Develop it and develop alternate sources of energy. It is bad enough we fight the wars for Saudi Arabia and the Arab League. We also pay for all of it. The Middle East is a vicious circle of the ridiculous in which our government is stupid enough to participate.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
  32. jim

    Ok, real number, but meaningless. You can figure out how much we are spending per nail if you wanted to as well. How much are we spending per grain of sand? We are spending a total amount of money on the war, Jets, tanks, bullets, ships, gas all cost money, but none of that has anything to do with the individual soldier.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • Mike

      I agree. Those are silly and baseless computations! Based off of their strategy, you could take half the troops out of Afghanistan, most of the spending will be about the same with minor payroll deduction... then the average cost per Soldier would double... Nothing of value can be drawn from that other than a shock and awe value for someone who is stupid enough to take the valuation at face value and not know anything about the actual issue at hand.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
  33. Phil

    "roy

    Another hugh cost of these wars not to mention human lives is the tremendous cost of taking care of the wounded warriers at VA hospitals for the rest of their lives and paid Va benefits the politicans don't lile to talk about. In the long run these costs will probably exceed actual war costs."

    I can tell you are not a veteran, well I am and I am 100% disabled -service connected. How dare you even suggest that we (Veterans) are the cause of all of this "wasted money" in this screwed up budget. If you get seriously hurt at work by no fault of your own, you would get worker's comp. Well, so do I in the form of a V.A. compensation. You see, they do want to actually help people injured while on active duty, do you know why? Because we put our butts on the line so people like you have the freedom to put us Vets down and kick us while we are down. We only served to protect your freedom. I suggest you do your homework in the future before you put any more Vets on your chopping block!

    February 29, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
  34. Keith

    Cost of a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine at the Dover Port Mortuary–priceless...

    February 29, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
    • sparknut

      Keith – you are a true American. Thank you for remembering the true cost of the war.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
  35. Brickell Princess

    That's why I am proud to pay taxes to the FEDERAL government. They maintain the military that protects our freedoms. Now tell me, what are the states, counties, and cities doing with the fortune in taxes that we hand them every year? How much income tax, sales tax, and property taxes are you handing over to local governments that are doing absolutely nothing other than creating headaches for you?

    So then why is everyone attacking the one and only level of government, the Federal government, that protects our freedoms? Think about that! Then look at the billions of dollars that your local governments have racked up in debt. What are they doing with the money?

    February 29, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Jingo

      You must be one of those shills paid by the CIA to populate discussion boards with propaganda.

      Our military's job isn't to protect our freedoms. Its job is to protect the US Constitution from anyone who tries to subvert or destroy it. Invading and occupying a backwater country in Central Asia isn't doing anything to "protect our freedom". Our government is grossly abusing the dedication our servicemembers have for protecting the American system of government. I only wish that more of them would wake up to that fact and do their duty as professional soldiers by REFUSING orders that run contrary to their oath of indoctrination.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • Sergeant P

        JINGO FOR PRESIDENT TELL EM!!!

        March 9, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  36. Mark

    All you people who want to bring home the troops are stupid and are the first ones to complain when the gas prices go up, and will be the first to complain when the taliban start taking over the USA. You honestly think that after 9/11 that was it?? If it wasn't for our troops the USA would have been taken over by the taliban shortly after 9/11 GET A CLUE!

    February 29, 2012 at 10:06 am | Reply
    • Kel

      Yep, you are absolutely right. Taliban aircraft carrier was on it's way to take over USA, but Bush and Obama stopped it

      February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • crashdavis

      are you that stupid? Really? Taliban would take over America? First off, the Taliban did not attack on 9/11. They support and allowed al queda traiing camps etc. Second, how in the world do you think they would ever invade the U.S.? they have no Navy or Air force. It is a landlocked country. Please tell me you were being sarcastic.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • Hellfireyeah

      I can't believe this post. What lunacy. I guess the Taliban were going to just run across Pakistan, all jump in the Arabian Sea and swim around the planet to swarm the shores of the United States while every single well armed American just stood here and accepted Sharia law? I doubt they could launch enough ships to get 1000 of them here, and I guarantee, even without our great armed forces, just we, the American people, would make short work of them. You, sir, are a fool or are profiting from the American Military Machine.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • Jingo

      Ignore this post, folks. The government pays people to type up ignorant tripe like this.

      This is basically a wind gauge to test which direction the discussion is trying to go.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

      Mark, you are a Grade A retard.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • christine

      The taliban take over america? lmao!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • Sergeant P

      Your place of education needs to seriously be sued. Please say your being sarcastic?

      March 9, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
  37. roy

    Another hugh cost of these wars not to mention human lives is the tremendous cost of taking care of the wounded warriers at VA hospitals for the rest of their lives and paid Va benefits the politicans don't lile to talk about. In the long run these costs will probably exceed actual war costs.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:06 am | Reply
    • sparknut

      And yet another high cost of the war is the psychological trauma endured by so many of our troops. They will carry unseen scars for the rest of their lives.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
  38. James PDX

    I think we could build them their own city, complete with nice houses, for far less than $850,000 per year. This is a perfect example of why our country is so in debt and is constantly finding new ways to tax us. With the possible exception of the Greeks, I have never seen such incompetent leadership as our country has displayed for the last several decades.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
  39. Boisepoet

    That would provide a lot of healthcare for a lot of Americans.
    Republican politicians sure love the wars they or their families never seem to serve in.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Jeff

      You are so right. An MRI machine costs about $1 million dollars. We are told the cost for us to imaging done is expensive because of the cost of the machine. Every hospital in the country could be provided an MRI machine and then the only charge I would see would be the cost for technician's time.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • jim

      Want an ignorant comment. The majority of the Military are Republicans.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
      • christine

        Yes, that was an ignorant comment, jim. But thanks for asking if we wanted it! lmao

        February 29, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • sparknut

        Which of the high ranking Republican political leaders has a son or daughter serving?
        Joe Biden's son served in Iraq.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • ColB

        That really has to be the DUMBEST comment I have ever read. What is the basis for that idiot comment? You are also forgetting something... civilians make war (congress and the president) the military has to fight those wars. If the military were in charge, we could have ended this mess a whole lot earlier, just like Vietnam and saved many lifes and billions of dollars. PS..military personnel are proibited by law from supporting any political party while in in uniform.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • nyroyalty

      These figures are ridiculous ... What did they do, factor in all of the high tech equipment that these soldiers possibly might use – and probably 1 per soldier even in situations where its a shared resource... They can't factor in say the cost of an automatic weapon. The cost of the weapon should be measured over the lifespan of that weapon. Just for example, if an automatic weapon costs 10k, and lifespan of that weapon may be 15 years or more, they shouldn't add the full 10k to the cost of one soldier .... It's not like he is taking that weapon home after discharge. These price quotes are ridiculous. It costs them maybe 50k high end estimate not including pay to "keep" a soldier over there for a year ... The stuff said soldier will use that he disposes of throughout that time is minimal. What does he get for his own , food, boot replacement, clothing, ammo ... They don't even keep their own helmets. Other equipment used to wage war should not be factored into the cost of a soldier. Tanks, trucks, weapons all have end of life dates that is WAY longer then the service of an average foot soldier. Not to mention that these things would exist regardless if we were overseas or not. They would still exist if every soldier we had was here in the US and not deployed.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Mark Donner

      Hey, how about spending that money on something that would save all life on earth.. for example clean energy to stop the global climate changes, or cleaning up the billions of bits of plastic along with the toxins that human pigs (apologies to the pigs) have chucked into the ocean, creating texas sized garbage patches that are killing off the sea life. Humanity does not deserve to survive.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
  40. chris

    I once knew a lady with a lot of cats. Maybe we should divide the money spent on the war by the number of cats she had. That would be an equally useful number. CNN could title it “One cat, one year $20 billion and rising.”

    The money spent in Iraq is only tangentially affected by the number of troops there. Arbitrarily lumping in the costs of a missile with housing costs makes the derived number worst than useless; it creates an army of parrots talking nonsense about the war.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  41. Ml

    I don't think of the cost of war in $$ I think of it in "casualties" If we had to employ the draft every time we went to war we would fight a lot fewer of them and we would have been out of Afghanistan a long time ago. The concept that wars are just a cost of doing business is ridiculous.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • Jim in Georgia

      I could not agree more.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:54 am | Reply
    • Doug

      I do so agree!!! We fight wars we cannot win and spend BILLIONS of dollars, for what??? Our biggest cost is the soldiers we loose for NO good reason.... END THE WASTE

      February 29, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
  42. Aaron Smith

    C'mon people. These figures aren't just about the money the soldiers make. Its about costs associated with keeping a military member in place: supply, food, electricity, other resources used needed to send items into the country. It doesnt surprise me that its around that high a number. As the drawdown/pull back occurs, the figure could get smaller.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:26 am | Reply
    • chris

      A drawback would increase the per soldier cost because the way this figure is derived. It is like you buy a car for $10,000 and have 5 people in your family. You might say that the per family member cost is $2000. All your kids move out of the house, now that number is $5000 per family member. They are including non-subsistance costs (fixed costs) into their base calculations. This is a dishonest way of running the numbers.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
      • Aaron Smith

        I thought about that AFTER I made my post and realized some things from my economy class.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • wt

        I disagree. There are factors that drive the decision to spend. Your family size is one of those factors when discussing a vehicle.

        When considering cost/benefit analysis, fixed costs are always part of the equation.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • jon

      It has absolutely nothing to do with what soldiers "make" as they "make" very little. Other than high ranking individuals your standard soldier makes squat, the only reason they can even enjoy the money that they DO make is because of things like additional living expenses, and the fact that they don't spend much out of their own pocket while in the military. My friend has been with the Us Air Force for 6-7 years, and has served as a seer instructor, and a wing instructor (teaches people how to jump out of planes to do speciality missions, like rescues etc), and has a nice solid rank behind him, makes less than $60k a year.... (therefore your standard soldier makes practically half of that) BUT the government provides him with additional housing expenses so the $55,000-$60,000 he makes feels like more... No matter how you look at it, a soldier absolutely does NOT cost even remotely close to $850,000 a year, that's just ludicrous.... they come to those numbers based on what the entire project costs, broken down by the number of troops. They equate things like machines, supplies, construction etc... so the numbers don't really mean anything, sort of a useless news post in the first place.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply
  43. chris

    When people talk about military pay, they dont understand that the base pay is far different than take home pay. Take home includes non-taxible BAH and subsistance.

    Me as a E-6, 10 years, married, 4 dependents on Washington State BAH gets roughly $4800 take home per month. On top of that is free health care. Additionally, I am getting $5000 back on my taxes this year. When I was in Iraq, I had boosters like seperation pay. I really went to bank there. These people who think the military is underpaid are on crack.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:18 am | Reply
    • Russ

      Since we are all on crack to think that military personnel are underpaid. Here's some facts for you. The majority of enlisted are e-5 or under with 6 years or less.

      So let's say the average is e-4 with 4 years of service. An unmarried e-4 with no dependents with BAH in Washington (I picked spokane randomly) makes $27,552 a year. I did the same math for you in the same location and got $53,352 a year.

      So kudos for you for bragging about making so much money while the junior enlisted under you aren't making crap.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
      • Bill

        Be realistic Russ.....you don't start your new employees out at a higher rate in any company, including the mlitary. They make the minimum as an incentive to move up. I myself was in the service, and I have to agree with Chris in that they are paid very well considering benefits and all. As for you Dre.....if you don't like your pay, do what I did and get out for a higher paying job. But most of all quit whining....no one owes you anything except yourself.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:06 am |
      • Boots on Ground

        Russ, you should know better than that... Shame on you. Why didn't you run the same numbers with a lower enlisted person who was married? Being married grants EVERYONE a housing allowance. I know you KNOW this. Why don't you run the numbers again and report back to us? I'm sure it will look a lot nicer.

        February 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • dre

      chris , we are very underpay.... I am a 10 active military personnel too. Do you know what your civilians conterparts who goes to iraq makes? I loved the military but the truth is, we have money been wasted on what really doesnt matter.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
      • chris

        Yes, my counterparts in Contracting (writing contracts) make over $200,000 per year (and still have job shortages). If we are looking at fixed points in time, this might seem excessive, but our counterparts can be fired and are jobless if the war ends (they are also disrupting their civilian lives). Active Duty has semi-stable long term employment and amazingly generous retirement and health benefits. We also signed contracts when enlisting knowing about contingencies of going to war (with a possibility of not going to war). At that time we weighed our long term benefits against long term risks. Don’t be angry when called upon to act on our part of the contract.

        I acknowledge the unmarried E2s and E3s don’t quite make very much (relatively). If I was that age, no kids, having free housing and making that kind of money, I would feel like a king.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • Ken

        The military members make good money if they live within their means. Same as any person that has a job. Single or married military members receive free housing, free medical care, free college tuition, free food or money for food per month, dont pay sales tax at the base exchange, and lots of other perks... and dont forget when you are deployed, you receive hazard duty pay, family seperation allowance (if married), combat pay and the income collected during the deployment is tax free when it comes time to file income taxes. I retired from the Marines in 2010 making about 62000.00/year, got a job with the Federal Government starting off at 57000.00/year and have to pay for medical care, pay into my pension, pay state income taxes now and this all with a bachelors degree and 20 years work experience. As a member of the miltary, we know what we are getting into with the pay, deployments, and way of living.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • DP

      You're an idiot.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
    • Mark

      Chris,

      You are truly clueless as to how your pay works. $4800 take home pay, that's before taxes is taken out, and the taxes you got back is most likely the taxes you paid. NONE of my military friends or people I've met work only 40 hours a week, the work day usually starts at 6:30AM for PT and ends at 6:30PM that does not include staff duty etc. You should look at the amount of money that was actually going into your account before you speak of "take home" pay. The civilian counterpart of most of the military jobs get paid double or triple plus overtime. Danger pay for our men and women in uniform is an additional $7.50 a day. $7.50 a day to put your life on the line! I am not on crack and YES our military is underpaid! There are slackers in our military and in my opinion they shouldn't have made rank but somehow manage to slip through the system and then come on here and say that they got great pay for the service they did.. so sad but true and unfair to our TRUE hard working military.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:03 am | Reply
      • chris

        I was just showing my LES to an contract employee the other day. I could share a redacted one with you if you somehow give me your email address. The bi-monthly $2400 is after all decuctions. Confirmed by my bank account. Yes, you probably are on crack by thinking I do not know how much I am paid.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:12 am |
      • michael

        Mark,

        military personnel have little to no cost to live while on active duty. they also sign-up voluntarily. regardless of their take home income, $850k+ is an extreme amount of money to keep a soldier in Afghanistan. considering that you're following a "they put their life on the line" mentality, should police and firemen be paid more too? it's rediculous to think that they are owed anything "extra", it's bad enough everytime a soldier dies they are considered a "hero" and that purple hearts are handed out like free samples.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Brother Man from the 5th Floor

      I spent time as a government contractor and got paid for doing nothing after asking many times for a real job to do. Many contractors are a bunch of crooks and the reason why they are not exposed for what they do it is because they are providing jobs to many military enlisted and officers whose skills do not transfer over to civilian jobs.

      Some years ago unless you were a complete "Bonehead" many of these folks could get out and get jobs in Law Enforcement or Security since many of these jobs are in combat arms that do not always related to the civilian sector. I decided after 10 months to quit since I was being told to keep quiet and be happy to getting a paycheck. BS, as I had a marketable skill and when I left contracting I consulted and still made six figures.

      Government contracting is the biggest rip-off to the American taxpayer! Elminate contractors and put the services of taking care of the troops back to the military. You would come off a lot cheaper than what is going on now. Two billion dollars a week can be done a lot cheaper!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
      • geo rae

        The military does quite well, I am a teacher, take home pay 3200 per month after taxes, and that is 14 years on the job with a Master of Science degree. I live in an Air Force Town, many military people own BMWs, with boats and ATVs , go on many vacations per year and I struggle to make ends meet. I am also a Veteran of the Navy, boo hoo, milattary people are doing well.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Vet2

      Chris- if you are serving to make the big bucks, you have obviously failed to do some pretty basic calculations. First, look at how many hours per week you work to earn that meager salary. In Iraq, I averaged 19 hours a day, 7 days per week. Aside from not being paid time and a half, much less double time as every civilian employee is entitled to by law, I still only averaged $12/hr. Next, examine what a middle management counter-part with similar education would make on the outside. Finally, Big Daddy Warbucks, look at those troops you are paid so well to care for and figure out how many of them cannot afford to keep their kid in diapers because they live well below the poverty line while dodging IEDs, small arms fire, tuberculosis, and daily dysentery. Yeah, those troops are really cashing in. I would suggest using your FTA to take a few basic finance courses.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
      • chris

        Well, I have majors in Political Science and Computer Science, but my minors in Econ and Math will have to suffice. Yeah, in Iraq I worked 12 on 12 off with only Sunday off. This extended easily into a 14 hour day. If I deployed in my current AFSC I would work about 18-20 hours a day with no time off. I understand our per-hour wages while deployed are not very high. Does that mean that we are all underpaid, all things considered? Not so. What percent of the total military is currently deployed? What percent of that are in the line of fire and not in Qatar, or a similar deployed locations?

        Our deployment experience and workload is very AFSC/MOS dependent. We have overpaid clerks and underpaid snipers. Considering that the causality rate in Iraq is less than 4%, and that overall it is more dangerous to be a fisherman than a soldier (job death rates), we are making out very good.

        Our state-side pay is way out of line with reality. Show me a 60k+ person working only 40 hours a week and I will show you a statistical anomaly. Next show me a warehouse forklift operator making 60k per year, and I’d me amazed. The military has a crazy rank based pay system, not a profession based pay. So, it is very easy to show cases in which we are underpaid, while not understanding we are on net overpaid.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • jennyct

        This is for Chris... I can show you quite a few 120k that work under 40, usually professionals (pharm, dentist, IT manager). Yeah, sometimes they have additional work, but we're talking average (and the golf outing doesn't count).

        March 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • jon

      That's very true, active dutied over sees deployed troops get much more incentives than those back on homeland. People stationed on U.S bases don't receive seperation pay (I'm pretty sure) etc etc.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • Brother Man from the 5th Floor

      Chris, you might be over your head on this blog in your comments. First, you are right that BAQ, BAS and VHA allowances are given to you and should not be considered when calculating pay. Therefore, like many E-6 who are married with 4 dependents unless your wife works and I don't mean at AAFEES or at the Bowling Alley you are not driving around in a Porche.

      You probably like most E-6 live in post, shop at the Commissary and more than likely live paycheck to paycheck. If it was not for going to war with tax relief for many and combat and hazardous duty pay you would be getting little to nothing. Be thankful that "Uncle Sam" is giving you all these feebees as if it did not you would be "SOL" (S*** out of Luck). Enjoy your day and be safe whereever you are in the world.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
  44. HPUCK

    And yet we have people and children going hungrey in our own country. We have no National Health Care system. But we can spend trillions in other countries. When are we going to wake up!

    February 29, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
    • Sean

      Maybe when all of our missionaries, celebrities and Charities start focusing on the U.S. instead of every third world country with its hand out.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:12 am | Reply
  45. alex

    sorry folks but fighting over there is not going to change our freedom. Some guy living in a cave like fred flinstone and humping camels for entertainmnet ; living in a rock piile who cares. We want the oil correct. We should just let them kill each other and wait . We gave arms to Iraq in 83 to kill Iranians why did we stop. They were so busy knocking each other off the world was a better place. Cut off the alcohole to the saudi's in exchange for oil.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply
    • Sean

      @ alex
      Afghanistan doesn’t have oil idiot.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
  46. THF_1

    And Cassandra Chu. Your just a big vag

    February 29, 2012 at 9:06 am | Reply
    • SDN

      Brilliant.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
  47. THF_1

    I hate when people say "bring the soldiers home". They signed up to go to war, they weren't drafted. Most of them want to be there. It's not an easy war to win. Let them keep fighting and shut your damn mouths. It's so easy for all these people here in the states to bitch and moan about this and that.
    And about it costing 850,000......how is this news. Of course soldiers etc. don't make a lot of money. Of course it cost a lot to keep them over there. There are tons of supplies they need to stay alive. Good job CNN, you just cracked a huge case.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
    • Krootsie

      No!

      Time to bring the troops home. The US is not the British Empire at the turn of the century...world domination by controlling foreign lands is not needed. The US has NO BUSINESS to be over there any more. The job was done. Period. End of story. Bring the boys home...way overdue.

      The US has GREATER NEEDS here at home and that 3 TRILLION DOLLARS + of wasted money fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq could have been spent here to improve the US and not Afghanistan and Iraq. For example, I find it hypocritical that the US can spend money to pave thousands of miles of roads in Afghanistan and Iraq, yet at the same time, the US cannot pave roads in the US due to lack of funding.

      The sad thing is the party that pushed for both wars...the Republican party from 2000-2006 which controlled Congress...also implemented tax cuts at the same time. NEVER before did the US wage war and have tax cuts...yet alone TWO wars. In fact, the wealthy Americans in WWII were paying 90% tax to fund the war...what does GW Bush and the Republicans do? Cut taxes and create TWO wars. (eyes rolling)

      Cut the fiscal bleeding and get the troops home NOW!

      February 29, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
      • Netmonger

        Bravo! Well said!

        February 29, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • Sean

        I’m all for bringing our troops home if they want to be there or not. These primitives are nothing more than a money pit. However you have to be a complete moron to compare COALITION forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to turn of the century British Empire.

        February 29, 2012 at 10:24 am |
      • EricD

        Now you are talking. The cost of being the self-appointed the world's policeman is expensive indeed. It is a status that we do not seem to want to give up any time soon. It is a status that has deluded us into believing that we can do anything in any part of the world. And of course, are we not the only super power in the whole wide world? The question is how long could we afford to maintain it when we cannot even take care of our own country–build and maintain our infrastructure, educate our children, adquately invest in economic development, etc.etc. Spending all this tax dollars to build smart bombs, drones, $850,000 to keep a soldier in Afghanistan, the incalculable waist that goes on in the military, etc. etc. is not going to keep us safe or make us prosperous. Right now we are thinking of, at least, spending a month or two bombing poor Iran who doesn't even have a nuclear bomb. (Even if Iran has a bomb are they going to drop one on us or Israel?) Clearly, this is all an ego trip for us. We have to keep showing the world that we are the biggest and baddest boy in the school yard. Undoubtedly, this kind of posture or force projection is unsustainable. The time will surely come when the Republicans (the "strong on defense crowd") will realize that we just cannot sustain it. It is absolutely time for us to step back from getting involved in every armed conflict in the world. We can keep this country safe by taking care of our own challenges here at home. My take is this: Let us project some goodwill around the world by emulating President Kennedy's (May his soul rest in peace!) idea of projecting goodwill towards ALL men. For those interested, take a minute and try to compare and reflect on America's high and enviable status in the world during the 1960s with what it is today. Are we spending all this money to keep our country safe and prosperous OR are we spending our tax dollars to satisfy and fill the pockets of the neoconservatives and there business cronies?

        February 29, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  48. Swann

    Some of you make me laugh....I am in Afghan now. I am a 26 year vetran. I spent so many years over here and Iraq. The money was tax free, and i got over like a fat rat. Damn right i came back over as a contractor, ya know why??Its what i know. Most contractors are proir military...you go with what you know. I make more yes....wanna see my taxes paid??? No more free money...to be honest...its not much more after i pay taxes...i just want a job like the next guy. Dont knock contractors, there are not enough military to do the job....Spec ops, Intel, you name it...a military occupation...and there is also a contractor equivilent. I know many high ranking people who are contractors....again..its what we know....why go flip hambugers when i am an expert in warfare?? go where the job is you dumbass contract haters.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:00 am | Reply
    • Soldier

      F U FAGGOT!!

      February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply
    • Boots on Ground

      Brother, you can tell it to them all day long but they'll never be satisfied. To them all they see is the dollar signs that everyone talks about when they see a contractor out here (I'm out here too). They don't take into account the work that is actually done, the sacrifices that we make, and (like you said) the taxes we pay... They don't take into account how little it costs the government if we get waxed out here. They don't take into account that we don't get medical care out here. And they definitely don't take into account how our presence here improves their overall situation.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply
      • GLOVES

        I know about sacrifices made by contractors. Unfortunately, I also know all too well the sacrifices made by those stateside. Don't get any credit for what you do? Neither did I.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • SDN

      You folks familiar with the term "Dogs of War", and it's implications?

      February 29, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Brother Man from the 5th Floor

      You might make a lot of money over in Afghanistan but you may need to take some of the money and buy yourself an education. Your spelling is horrible. You might be "Special" but it damn sure not in being intelligent.

      You better pray for war because if you had to use your brain to get a job you might just be flipping burgers.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
    • AmesIA

      The reservation I have with contractors in theater is the fundamental question – who do you represent? Sure you are in harms way. Sure you can end up just as dead as another troop. At the end of the day however, the troops in uniform represent the United States and are accountable under oath. As a contractor, you are there for the money and that contract does not have the same bearing as a uniformed soldier. Look at the Blackwater debacles in Iraq – no accountability.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
  49. The_Mick

    The cost of maintaining each soldier includes the cost of maintaining planes, vehicles, etc. and costs the military absorbs for assisting the Afghan Army and Government. It's not how much each soldier alone costs the government.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:58 am | Reply
  50. Cassandra Chu

    ... a disgusting waste of money. nothing is being accomplished... in fact, we're making things worse. ... what a terrible abuse of executive authority! the American people do NOT want this so-called "war"

    February 29, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
  51. chris

    CNN and the government need to learn how to do statistics. What is the marginal cost of one more troop in Afghanistan? Because of the way the number is derived, adding one more troop to Afghanistan would reduce the per troop cost, not increase it.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
  52. alex

    war is good business, its trickle down econmics at its best. Everybody makes money except the guy doing the actual fighting. How things would change if every government official had their kid on the front line. I know some have served but the majority get deferments ask Newt " i knew somebody who once served" ok your deferred. hahaha

    February 29, 2012 at 8:48 am | Reply
  53. rightospeak

    Save the money ,bring them home alive ASAP.PLEASE !

    February 29, 2012 at 8:27 am | Reply
    • cj

      Bring them all home from around the world!

      February 29, 2012 at 8:42 am | Reply
    • ActiveDuty

      To Righttospeak: The money spent to bring everyone home would bankrupt us even further. Also, there is a job shortage... where is everyone going to work when they come home?

      February 29, 2012 at 8:58 am | Reply
      • chris

        Right, because after WWII the massive influx of troops led to massive poverty. Maybe you need a history lesson (or need to read more Bastiat), converting our troops (who spend time destroying things) into people who building things that people actually can use (not tanks and bullets) led to a massive post WWII boom (in contrast to what the Keynesian economists all predicted). Paying people to do unproductive things (like shooting foriegners) turns out to not increase our standard of living. Suprise Suprise

        February 29, 2012 at 9:24 am |
      • Hamilton

        that has to be one of the dumbest comments I have read...

        February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  54. Furious Styles

    $850,000/yr is low-balling. We're all grown tell it like it is!!

    February 29, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • Slickk

      Furious I agree, $850,00 is low-balling it. The actual cost is much higher, it costs them their life.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
  55. ActiveDuty

    This article by CNN absolutely infuriates me. It makes it look like us military members are making SOOO much money. Leave our money alone. If anyone wants to point a finger at people making the money over there it's the civilians working for the government who pull in HUGE bonuses just for going overseas. The money that a civilian contractor who is equal rank as me doing the EXACT same job is absolutely disgusting.
    Personal experience: A civilian equal to me revealed how much he was going to make/save by the end of our deployment... 90k+. A kid straight out of college, no military experience and no, we weren't even on a 'front line'. We sat at cushy desks.
    I barely came home with 15k saved up because while you're out there is nothing to spend your money on. Lower enlisted makes 3k or less a month. While our "bonuses" (Hazard duty pay- $150, and Hostile Fire Pay- $225) hardly crack an extra $400 a month.
    Oh yea... And civilians still make overtime pay while deployed. Anything over 8hrs a day, 40hrs a week, and holiday pay.
    I worked 10hr shifts 6 days a week, with numerous 23hr shifts from Nov-May. I didn't get a penny extra.
    Leave our military alone.
    If you want your home to be protected, you wouldn't buy the discount alarms from the dollar store that might work, would you?
    You'd pay those extra few bucks for that spiffy alarm system that works properly and alerts emergency responders of a break in.
    Exactly. Moral of the story... You get what you pay for. Take away our pay, you're gonna lower our moral, our ability to be financially stable, adequately raise our families and be productive members of society.
    You want us to protect your rights as a human being? Then our salary should reflect such a burden that we are volunteering to ensure.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • Boots on Ground

      The civilians who are out here are providing a service that the military can't do or is simply not prepared to do due to lack of personnel. There is a world outside of the cushy desk you used to occupy. And what do you care how much that civilian makes? That civilian is also sacrificing the exact same things you are in being down range.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:37 am | Reply
      • SoldiersFTW

        If I hear anything about how a civilian contractor does something the army wont do again, I will lose my mind. I was in the Army for 17 years, I have seen and heard of civilian contractors pulling 200k+ a year while in Iraq and Afghanistan... And you want to tell me to not worry about that?!?! Are you out of your mind? If the government wants to save money so bad, make soldiers cut the grass, make soldiers build a side walk. I have been in all kinds of units in 14 countries across this world. I will tell you that the easiest way to save money is to make those that you have a set pay scale do the work that needs to be done.
        Every country I have been to has had local civilians or civilian contractors from the US cooking food, cleaning the base (cutting grass, sweeping out old barracks, fixing broken items in buildings), and in some cases guarding the base itself. These people are getting paid ridiculous amounts of money for work that your average soldier may not like, but have to do or lose the little money that we make now.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • Boots on Ground

        I assure you that none of us making 200k+ out here are doing manual labor. I also assure you that a typical soldier does not have the knowledge, experience, or ability to do what a 200k+ contractor does while out here. Sure, SOME high speed low drag soldiers ARE capable and they are the exact ones who get out and get these jobs. They are worth a whole lot more to the Army doing that job as a contractor than they are doing everything BUT their job while they are in.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • gabe

      To Activeduty, I completely agree with you. You guys need a major payraise, the contractors could use a major pay cut. Thanks for your service. There are tons of us who appreciate you guys, but you won't hear that in the news. Stay safe, be careful.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
    • DPCFOH

      If you read all the way to the end of the story, you would have seen this paragraph: "One thing is clear, the soldier impacts only a small percentage of that cost. A typical army sergeant with four years service makes a base pay of less than $30,000 a year"

      February 29, 2012 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • DPCFOH

      Also, when I saw the headline I guessed that the salary for the enlisted soldiers was going to be much, much smaller than that and I read the article to see what that number was. I figured it was going to contain a lot of waste, but unfortunately it didn't go into the details much.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • cj

      You missed the point I think....you earn 30k for doing what they earn 90k for. You cost the gov/tax payers 850k a year while they cost the gov/tax payers 180k a year (assuming the company bills the gov double the workers pay).

      February 29, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
      • Boots on Ground

        Typically the employee makes about 30% of what the govt. pays the company per employee. That's with a reputable company at least. Some companies out here really do their employees dirty though.

        February 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
      • Carlos

        You're assumption is incorrect. I work HR and payroll for one of the biggest contractors on LOGCAP and can, with authority, reveal to you that our company, like others with direct government contracts, is limited (by contract) to charging actual cost plus 2%. This is the sole reason why companies like Dyncorp, Flour and KBR hire mostly East European and third-world workers instead of Americans, Brits and Canadians. It's just not worth the low ROI.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • jennyct

      Active Duty, everyone knows that military employees barely make enough to support their families. Don't worry... if they don't, they are ignorant and are not in a position to affect you anyhow.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:52 am | Reply
    • frank

      I didn't get what you did from the artical. I took it as we could save a ton of money if we recalled the troops from forgin lands and paid them to do things in our country, like update our infrastructure. Think of the boost to the economy with all these employed military living and spending in the usa.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • geo rae

      The military does quite well, I am a teacher, take home pay 3200 per month after taxes, and that is 14 years on the job with a Masters of Science degree. I live in an Air Force Town, many military people own BMWs, with boats and ATVs , go on many vacations per year and I struggle to make ends meet. I am also a Veteran of the Navy, boo hoo, military people are doing well.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply
      • Soldier

        That's your fault for being a teacher. Stop complaining.

        February 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  56. Brent

    This so beyond inaccurate!

    So the cost to keep a soldier in Afghanistan is arrived at taking the total money spent and dividing by the number of troops on the ground. That is INSANE. They are taking the cost of shipping equipment, fuel, parts to repair equipment, etc and claiming that goes to keeping 1 soldier on the ground. BULL!

    February 29, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • joe

      If we weren't in that country, how much per soldier would it cost? Exactly! NO dollars.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply
      • Boots on Ground

        This is completely untrue. You'd still have to house the soldiers and their families, feed them, give them medical care, train them, pay for support of the systems they use... It costs a lot of money to have an army that stays at home and be ready for war.... That is, after all, the whole point.

        February 29, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  57. Susan

    Cost of one solider in Afghanistan, their life!!!!!

    February 29, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
    • Vet-OIF_OEF

      As a Combat Vet and currently serving in the Reserves, I totally agree with you.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply
  58. John B

    Still just another reason to get them home yesterday.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
  59. soulcatcher

    That figure likely includes costs like JSF, etc.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:13 am | Reply
  60. khanjee

    Guess what, a soldier gets only about $50k and the warmongers gets the @800k. So who is making money on these wars? And who is paying?

    February 29, 2012 at 8:08 am | Reply
    • SDN

      Painfully obvious, isn't it?

      February 29, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
  61. sameeker

    Fuck. There is no way to report spam ads on here so I cussed in order to get your attention moderator.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:07 am | Reply
  62. THF_1

    Yeah, it's a war.......it cost money in order for people to operate there. How about for once, everyone stop whining and let them do their jobs.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:01 am | Reply
    • Steve

      The problem with your rationale is they are doing a job that we should have been done with a long time ago. Now it's just wasting money.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:11 am | Reply
  63. Canadian

    A sargeant with 4 yrs experience gets paid $30,000 per yr? Disgusting... They could work at Mcdonalds in Toronto as a Mgr and make more...

    February 29, 2012 at 8:01 am | Reply
  64. Doctor

    And these guys often come back for foreclosed homes, get denied proper healthcare of can't find a job.
    Thank you Oil, Jewi$h and War lobby!

    February 29, 2012 at 7:53 am | Reply
  65. Kristy

    It's crazy that it costs so much, yet most of the young service members that are serving their first and/or second tour are on the border of poverty according to financial statistics. Where is all the money going? Why don't we just bring them home and put that money to better use because I have not seen the positive effects that come from our presence there! The only thing I've seen are the wounded service members, like my husband who is now blind and deaf on his left side and the young Marines he served with that have pieces of metal and fiberglass to replace the legs and arms they used to have. I know that number is not the cost that each individual service members requires, but it's the cost of contractors and setting up remote bases and hospitals...it's the cost of WAR, but how big of a number do we have to get to in order to bring them all home, because you can't put a price on someone's eyes, someone's legs...someone's life.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:52 am | Reply
  66. Reality Check

    Cost of having the Taliban in power:
    3000 dead on 9-11 (the most obvious of many prices paid by the thousnds who were victimized by their regime)
    Ask the families of those who died if they think $850K per deployed troop is worth it???

    February 29, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • Thomas Henley

      9-11 was not the holocaust. A tragic event but one few if any in Afghanistan had anything to do with. Hundreds of thousand of Afghani and thousands of American casualties later, a loss of liberties at home and a strain on a treasury the is perpetually in the red and the culture of religious hate bred through the myth is a danger to everyone. The culture of fear being used to galvanize and perpetuate what might have been once upon a time a reasonable or intillgent initial and temporary reaction is bankrupting our republic morally and financially as well as intellectually. It is the anti-thesis of everything America and Americans have always stood for and frankly sir I consider such people as yourself to be a far greater danger to our beloved republic as a result.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:50 am | Reply
      • tobyspeeks

        Thomas Henley, thank you. Your words speak volumes!

        February 29, 2012 at 8:24 am |
      • Greg H

        Even more impressive then the rebut is that is came in at just 6 minutes following the post. Well done, sir.

        February 29, 2012 at 8:35 am |
      • DPCFOH

        Fantastic response. Too bad that most people can just see as clearly as you statement makes it.

        February 29, 2012 at 8:53 am |
      • SDN

        Well said Mr. Henley. It's cost us close to 5000 lives, tens of thousands of permanent injuries, and our national treasure to get even for the 3000 lives we lost on 911. Who is it that makes these decisions, and how can they possibly arrive at the conclusion that any of this makes sense?

        February 29, 2012 at 9:19 am |
      • Steven

        Point of correction. Afghani = Afghanistan currency. Afghan = Afghanistan person

        February 29, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • Keq

        Before you try to act somewhat educated, “Afghani” is the currency system in Afghanistan. It’s hundreds of thousands of “Afghans.” It just shows how little you actually know about this part of the world. I, however, don’t have that problem. I’m 30 years old, in the US military, and have already lived over three years of my live overseas in places like: Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea. That’s the problem with Americans—they think they know and understand the world…but the vast majority of citizens have never traveled outside the United States, except for Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Try reading a book about Afghanistan, and you might actually have a chance. Until then—good luck!

        February 29, 2012 at 9:26 am |
      • Hellfireyeah

        I totally agree. 911 was a tragedy perpetrated by a VERY few crazed and fanatical individuals. It was not an act of war from a legitimate state. It was terrorism, plain and simple. It gave us Americans NO excuse to go to war against Iraq under false pretenses of WMD's. We had NO reason to go to war against Afganistan. We had NO reason to support the action in Lybia. We have NO reason to go to war against Syria or Iran. If peoples of other country's, nationalities, and cultures want change, there are words for how we did it, and the Tunisian's, by the way... In our case, it was called the American Revolution, and Great Britain well knows how that turned out and subsequently, we are staunch allies. Our country would be vastly better served if all of our military came home, half of them put down the weapons and we turned our attentions to things vastly more productive than killing people in foreign lands and by doing so creating more fanatacism. When you kill a man, or especially women and children accidentally, (OOPS sorry we we killed your wife and kids and burned your holy books) you just anger the other 50 people in their family and friends, or the entire population as a whole, and there is no end to that vicious cycle. Just leave them to be, as we wish to be left alone. There is no reason we can't have the fastest, most vicious strike force in the world, and we do. It is just way too big and our economy cannot support this anymore. Terrorism is a matter best left to such organizations as police forces, the FBI and most importantly the CIA and the Special Ops forces of our great military. Find the crazed fanatics and kill them quietly, but shut the war machine down...

        February 29, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • T Hamms

      With idiots like you no wonder why this lunacy war crap continues.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:02 am | Reply
    • rightospeak

      Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11, Reality Check. Try Bush, Cheney , Gulliani. Who benefits from 9/11 ?

      February 29, 2012 at 8:32 am | Reply
    • Sam Kucher

      9/11 = ~3000 casualties
      Iraq + Afghanistan post 9/11 = ~7500 casualties (5800+ from US, remaining from other countries)

      Ask those families who lost loved ones fighting those wars if it was worth it.....

      February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
  67. Thomas Henley

    Significant portions of that cost reflect amounts being paid to private contractors who are making fortunes off of America being at war. Tragically that gives those corporate entitites a vested interest in not just keeping America at war in Afghanistan but at war in general. War is their market. No war no business. No business no profit. Privatizing American war efforts is the surest way to keep cadres of vested interest companies agitating for it from Capitol Hill, to the Internet to the nations visited with war. It is perhaps the greatest single flaw in capitolism and corpratism and the greatest danger to ever knowing peace in this or any lifetime.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:42 am | Reply
    • sameeker

      True. How much of that money went to corporations like halliburton while the soldiers don't even have the equipment that they need.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:00 am | Reply
  68. Norga

    1st the corrected cost does not include what it cost tax payers when that soldier comes home. The alarming rate of deployment related disability claims is staggering. Even a soldier not directly effected by a blast or having lost a limb can come home with PTSD and the treatment for that could be well over $850,000!

    2nd, your troops don't get paid a lot, even more so for what they are willing to sacrifice and how their "duty" day is 24 hours, not the 8 to 9 of the standard American worker. BUT it is not accurate to say there is a troop IN Afghanistan earning $30,000 a year (I'm a active duty military wife...trust me, I know the system). First, everything becomes tax free. Next, they earn Hostile Fire and imminent danger pay ($250 a month, again, tax free). They get Family Separation Pay (if married, another $250.00 a month). They get Basic Allowance for Housing if they have any dependents (in my area, a married soldier or one having any dependents receives between $1,000 to $2,600 a month...and it doesn't change according to the number of dependents, only on the rank and area). They get free or low cost health care for their dependents back at home (again, they have choices between Prime and Standard and we all know you sometimes only get in value what you paid but still, some Americans are paying $700 a month for family health care). This is only a start of some of the extra pays we get. So yes, the base pay might only be $30,000.00 a year for some and that is very little considering what that soldier is doing or is promising to do BUT let's portray our pay accurately.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
    • Norga

      Heck even they leave they earn while there, when they use it....those days become tax free

      February 29, 2012 at 7:42 am | Reply
    • Reality

      While on the subject of honesty, why don't we speak honestly about the "health care" the military receives... There is no actual standard of care. You get whet you pay for. Many of my friends paid out of pocket to see docs in town because the base clinic was so bad. Heck, the only reason I can walk is because my civilian insurance covered surgery for my leg after the military did NOTHING. Your care is based on your rank.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • AfghanReality

      Well I'm not sure what branch of service your husband is in nor his rank and MOS but while married active soldiers with dependents may reep more benefits, single ones don't get nearly anywhere close to what you mention. My son joined the marines on his 18th birthday and with 3 years of service spent his first tour (8 mos) in Kandahar last year. His total earnings for the year including 'combat pay' was 24K. He worked 14+ hours 24/7 and didn't get one day off during his 8 months there which is equivalent to working 2 fulltime jobs in most places. Depending on where you were, the meals varied in quality and that's when you had enough to time to enjoy one. It was 120 degrees at times and even in your tents during the day the temperature exceeded 95F so certainly not ideal for sleeping. If you wanted internet, you had to pay and it was $180 mo but the troops often shared these expenses to spread out the bill since walking to a common place where there was free internet was nearly an hour away and then the lines were huge.. My son has lost significant hearing being in the military due to his MOS and see's a doctors every 3 months to monitor his hearing loss. Ask your husband to show you pictures from Afghanastan including living arrangement and tell you the real story. So excuse me if I don't share your thoughts on military pay when many single troops get nowhere near what you mention. You may 'know the system' as a active military wife with dependents but apparently not from a single perspecttive. Most troops join and serve for the love of their country not for the money and benefits.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:37 am | Reply
      • Steven

        To AfghanReality...

        When was your son there? Yeah living conditions are shitty in some areas but have improved in recent years.
        $180 a month...did they buy satellite internet? Not needed, esp for only 8 months there.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  69. angel611

    Cost for each soldier in Afghanistan, $850,000.
    Cost of getting each one out, PRICELESS.
    KEEP YOUR PROMISE OBAMA.
    What is your problem?

    February 29, 2012 at 7:32 am | Reply
  70. Bob Hobbs

    The Afghanistan money would be better used at home to update our infrastructure and create jobs.
    Putting money into Afghanistan is a waste – look back at the Soviet Afghan experience in the 1980's!

    February 29, 2012 at 7:30 am | Reply
  71. JS

    Billybob, The costs of getting a soldier and equipment back and forth are enormous. The logistics of bedding down, feeding, showering, etc, etc. have been getting more and more expensive. Fuel is sky high right now. It takes an army of logisticians to make this happen (both federal workers and contractors). Most people, in and out of uniform, do not see these unseen costs as being finite. Most just think about the weapons and the uniforms.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:23 am | Reply
  72. sparky

    That's chump change. The repukes will make the middle class pay for it and funnel the cash RIGHT to the defense contractors who funnel te cash RIGHT ack to their pockets

    February 29, 2012 at 7:23 am | Reply
    • J0nx

      Umm the CONgress, who by the way controls war expenditures, has been FIRMLY in democratic hands since 2006. They had the power for the past 6 years to defund this war but instead have done everything they can to smooth things along. Perhaps you should rethink your diatribe about it being the fault of the 'repukes'...

      February 29, 2012 at 8:11 am | Reply
  73. Wayne

    $850,000-to keep a soldier there?
    $33,000- is approximately what a soldier makes a year!!
    I know none of that money is going towards the soldiers. ohhhh wait its going in the contractors and politicians pockets!!
    And that is how our Government says thank you to the military men and women!!

    February 29, 2012 at 7:22 am | Reply
    • Boots on Ground

      How is it going to the politicians? There are panels that investigate for bribery and corruption.

      Also, the contractors that are out here are here in order to make the soldier's lives easier and to help them do what they can't do on their own. You know nothing about how things work out here, I suggest you do a little research before you make outlandish claims.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:17 am | Reply
    • Carlos

      The money is not going to contractors or American politicians, it's being given in big bundles to obviously corrupt Afgan politicians. The U.S. is freely giving away money to local leaders in an effort to build trust against the Taliban, all the while with the full knowledge that the local leaders are giving most of the money to the Taliban in order to buy protection. The largest amounts of money are given to the Afgan government in order to "train" their illiterate military. The money spent on coalition service members is next to nothing. This report is beyond disingenuous. When you subtract the money being handed over to the Afgan government, I'd be willing to bet the cost per service member drops by at least 75%.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
  74. babooph

    Expensive [in lives too],but the skyscrapers owned by the rich are safer now& they still pay only a petty % of their wad to fund the mess.Their heirs can now live for generations off the trust funds & never work again,with cheap labor to serve them...

    February 29, 2012 at 7:18 am | Reply
    • Shalomit

      Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Does anyone remember Korea? VietNam? Any of the other wars since? I've lost track of the number, and there were no logical reasons for killing off – in 'Nam alone – 50,000 American lives – many of them children – and disabling a quarter of a million. That's Americans. Add in the lives of the French, the Vietnamese themselves and anyone I've forgotten. Then look what happened. We got the election we were killing and dying for, and the people, of their own free will voted in the man we lost all that we lost to remove. Surprise! The Vietnamese suddenly had their basic needs taken care of. And on we go. Where are the kids of today? Maybe they are not protesting what's going on because there's no draft? If we keep babysitting (interpreted as every country has to run the way ours does – and today that's not all that well) the whole world, they'll all be ok and we will still have homeless children, The money which should be giving all Americans basic rights is being spent to give the rest of the world those rights while things here only get worse.

      I think this is Bob Dylan's, but am not sure. 'How many deaths will it take 'til we know that too many people have died?' The first one was too many. It's time to pick up our boys and their toys and bring them home to let other countries fight their own civil wars and many w/ different kinds of govenrments and values than ours. At the rate we are going, we'll be that much deeper in debt, our people will still have no basic rights – if we have any people – and all the countries on which we tried to force into our way of life will be thriving because they did not need babysitters to tell them how to clean up their countries. And we will still have far too many people right here who do not have the basic human needs we've met for so many other countries.

      BRING HOME OUR TROOPS! No commitees to decide, just do it. Maybe it's time for women to lead more countries than they do now. How many mothers would send their children to be killed but for damned good reasons?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
      • Shalomit

        This is more of a p.s. than a reply. I forgot to point out to the person above me that the rich in their high rises are no safer than I in my second story apartment. Have you forgotten 9/11? Do you think that's the end of terrorism on our soil?

        February 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  75. Jt_flyer

    Get our troops out. We never learned from Vietnam.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:02 am | Reply
  76. anon

    Sensationalist headline. nuff said

    February 29, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply
    • SDN

      Has intelligence become a concept of the past? If the author wanted to be 'sensationalist', wouldn't they have used the $1.4 million figure? Classic example of a mindless argument based on a mindless 'thought process'. How foolish we've become.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
  77. billybob

    Seriously? The only major cost for a soldier would be to get him and his equipment THERE and BACK during a rotation, and constant shipping and cost of supplies. There can't be any way a single soldier eats and shoots more than $60,000 worth of food and ammunition.

    February 29, 2012 at 3:50 am | Reply
    • snuffy

      There's more to it than what many people think. This figure probably factors in many different things that people aren't thinking about. In addition to the obvious things such as a soldier's salary and health insurance and his equipment (both personal equipment and that which is used by his unit for his job i,e. bullets, paper, medical supplies, etc.) there are a lot of other costs which add up. These may include things such as fuel usage per soldier (much of the electricity over there is provided by generators), death gratuity payments for those who are killed and many other things. Also, there are costs factored in such as support staff (we can all thank those wonderful Bush-era no-bid contracts for some of this. KBR is just raking in the $ here) and other annual expenses that they probably divided up by the number of soldiers in Afgahnistan when determining the final figure.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
      • Wayne

        You have no idea what you are talking about! The medical is active duty members. Paper, are you serious? a soldier uses $850,000 worth of paper? Have you seen the toilet paper they use? I have because I was there. it comes in an MRE and it's the size of the palm of your hand! wake up snuffy and smell the bullets! If you haven't been over there maybe you should plan a nice vacation over there! You sound like a politician!!!

        February 29, 2012 at 7:28 am |
      • Carlos

        Some people have no clue and appearanlty only believe what they read on message boards. KBR has not been in Afgan for over two years, having lost the LOGCAP 4 bid (wait, were is the alleged "No Bid Contracts?) to Fluor and Dyncorp. DCMA and the U.S. Army felt that KBR could not provide the level of support needed, so they awarded LOGCAP 4 Afgan to those two companies. Why don't you ask Soldiers that have been in Afgan with KBR support v. Dyncorp/Flour support which they prefer? By the way, KBR bid one billion LESS that the Fluor/Dyncorp proposal for Afgan. Thank DCMA for forcing the U.S. Army to award the contract to Fluor and Dyncorp.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • babooph

      Try pricing that ammo...

      February 29, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
    • M.D.

      You forgot fuel (factor in mid-deployment leave), electricity, waste disposal, support personnel (cooks, servers, educators, building operators), rapid construction as we expand into vast territories, medical care (100s of surgeries a day each day for wound wash outs, amputations, cholecystectomy, chest tubes etc). Antibiotics, blood products.

      With so many aircraft and ground vehicles in constant motion I think the fuel takes up a lions share of the cost. Those vehicles are not very efficient.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:22 am | Reply
      • Wayne

        I thought they had Hybrid planes...wow you learn something new everyday!!

        February 29, 2012 at 7:30 am |
      • Steven

        Mid-tour leave...has been eliminated. Now before you get your panties in a wad..this was done in conjunction to reducing the amount of time spent in country...no more full year tours.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Boots on Ground

      Firstly, I'm in Afghanistan right now and some of you are completely off the mark...

      The way they broke down the cost per soldier is a bit misleading. The cost is a lot more than paying to sustain a soldier's life while here. They just took the total cost of the war per year. There is a whole lot more to this operation than just "life support."

      Also, KBR is not in the picture. Yes, there are LOTS of contractors out here providing a very broad range of services. These services range from food services (yes, real meals that are NOT MREs) to IT services to teaching college courses to running a laundry service to flying aircraft.

      Again, the way it was described in the headline was very misleading. There is a whole lot more to this war than simply housing a soldier.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:05 am | Reply
      • Steven

        Contractors. Yes there are Americans there as contractors...many more non Americans. Companies will accept the contract and then farm the work out. Many jobs goto local nationals. Other times they will bring in TCN's. Third country nationals...usually India, Philippines, Indonesia. My favorite was when I was in Iraq the Ugandans=Jambo!

        February 29, 2012 at 9:40 am |
      • Boots on Ground

        Oh man, those Sabre (security company) guys were awesome! JAMBO!! lol

        I was in Fallujah when I met them.

        February 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Listen-up

      You're all missing the point with all this talk of food, bullets, amenities!!! The article states that the figure is derived by taking the total amount spent in Afghanistan and dividing it by the number of soldiers present. That means that these figures include infrastructure projects for the Afghan people (highways, schools, etc) that we fund. It also includes maintaining monumentally expensive equipment such as fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, MRAP's. And lets not even talk about the price of procuring/transporting fuel to the middle of Afghanistan, which according to figures that I've seen, is about $30-$40/gallon. I completely agree that it's not worth the cost...

      February 29, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
  78. Edward

    That is the price for gauranteed "free to be you and me". Americans need to quit complainiing on what it costs to defend the country, instead spend the energy take ACTION to find ways to reduce cost driven by Defense Contractors and give more to the individual American troop. KNOW that the top 1% are benefitting from the 1% who mentally & physically sacrifice down range. If you agree then tell your congressman: raise the "UBER" rich taxes and give back directly to the deployed military & contractor personnel.

    February 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • Grant

      It needs to go to the military personnel. The contractors I sit next to over there are making $150,000 a year to do my job give or take $20,000. They also get to stay in places where they aren't in danger. The contractors don't need anymore money. There is a reason most people don't reenlist and they get contracting jobs.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:16 am | Reply
  79. what

    They dividing the cost per solder on what is being spent out there. hello some of that stuff is for contractors. Military budget to operate vehicles and weapons. If you told a Soldier you will get 850,000 a year gave them just bare stuff the soldier would take it becuace guess what they dont get paid that much. They get about 30k to 80k depends on service length and grade.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      This number is not correct. There is no way that any American soldier costs $850,000 per year. As was previously stated, someone has taken the total cost of the war effort and has divided it by the number of soldiers to get this figure. Their food, uniforms, water and equipment do not cost this much. The individual giving these figures needs to quit lying to our congressional leaders and to the American people. They are trying to stir up anti-war sentiment in the eyes of the American public. Quit the lies and tell the American people the truth. If that is too much to ask, then you need to keep your mouths shut.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Reply
      • SDN

        "That number is not correct"? I'm inclined to believe those that are involved in calculating the real costs of war arithmetically, rather than someone that isn't privvy to the costs of making war, and bases an argument on a personal agenda. The statement made by the author, and the calculations used to determine this costs are simplistic, and apparently accurate based on the actual costs of this 'war'.

        February 29, 2012 at 9:11 am |
      • Tony M.

        An American soldier does NOT cost $850,000/yr. This is a typical accounting gyration that allocates costs to a specific cost base. Based on that type of analysis the best way to reduce the per soldier cost would be to add another 100,000 soldiers, and that would dilute the base of the cost by about 40%. Asinine analysis, which leads some bubblehead in Washington to strive to reduce boots on the ground which, of course, will drive the cost per soldier up more because the support infrastructure cost still needs to be there even for half as many soldiers.
        To get real value from our soldiers we need to allow them to do their job. They are mostly used for patrols, and even if they run into suspected Taliban there is nothing they can do about it unless they get shot at, and they are used as open targets for the enemy who plays by no rules. We have the best trained, best equipped, and smarter soldiers in the world and then we tie their hands to limit their fighting capabilities. A question that needs to be asked is how many JAGS, or military attorneys do we have in a war zone to make sure that the enemy's rights are not violated? Our soldiers are more terrified of our own attorneys than of the enemy's bullets. Take the chains off, reduce the one sided regulatory restrictions and bureaucracy (which will reduce the cost tremendously), and let war be hell as it is supposed to be. If the enemy doesn't like it, then don't make war. If the people don't like it, then don't go to war. But to spend $850,000 per soldier to support action that has more regulation on when NOT to shoot then on how to win the war (which means obliterate the enemy, not talk him to death) then we are wasting money on pure madness.

        February 29, 2012 at 11:52 am |
      • Susan

        I know that military did not pay $850,000 for my son. He was in Afghanistan for three week before he was killed in action. How where does this dollar amount come from?

        February 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  80. Mike

    Almost as much as Obama's job plan price to put one person to work

    February 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • M.D.

      And far less than CEO bonuses and golden parachutes promoted by Republicans.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:24 am | Reply
      • chris

        You think all the CEO bonuses and "golden parachutes" in America even compare to the stimulus spending? You need to learn the difference between a billion and a triliion.

        February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  81. duckforcover

    Shouldn't we be spending that kind of money on our troops and everyday Americans at home.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
    • M.D.

      Yes, but that can't possibly funnel money into contracting companies affiliated with Cheney et al.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:26 am | Reply
  82. No More $$ On Foreign Wars

    What a Rip-Off!

    February 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
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