The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years, a figure that includes interest for putting war costs on the proverbial credit card. To date, the two conflicts have cost more (adjusted for inflation) than the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.

Keep in mind that the estimate does not include little details like the impact on the economy and, perhaps most significant of all, the cost of lost opportunities.

It requires imagination, but consider the effect that an input of $2.4 trillion could have on our education system and, by extension, our global competitiveness.

Of course the list goes on. For example, what increase in stability and security might we reap from a $2.4-trillion investment in solar energy? It’s a fun, if depressing, game. Give it a try in the comments.

(h/t: Deadline USA)

USA Today:

WASHINGTON — The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion through the next decade, or nearly $8,000 per man, woman and child in the country, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate scheduled for release Wednesday.

A previous CBO estimate put the wars’ costs at more than $1.6 trillion. This one adds $705 billion in interest, taking into account that the conflicts are being funded with borrowed money.

The new estimate also includes President Bush’s request Monday for another $46 billion in war funding, said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., budget committee chairman, who provided the CBO’s new numbers to USA TODAY.

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