Records document cost of war

I’ve been impressed with the efforts of Veterans for Common Sense to use FOIA for finding out important information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paul Sullivan, executive director, is quoted in our book because of his extensive experience trying to get records out of the federal government regarding how veterans are treated (see the segment on 60 Minutes Jan. 3 about the problems).

Sullivan has found a lot through records. Recently, he wrote to me in an e-mail that his organization received documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs that outline the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to soldiers: 508,000 patients (244,000 of those are mental health issues), with the number to reach 1 million by 2014. The 40-year price tag of serving these patients is estimated to be $1 trillion.

Whether you support the wars or not, that kind of information is important to have in making decisions. Too bad more information wasn’t made available before 2003. Important decisions should not be made blindly. Transparency saves lives.

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