Even as President Obama has ordered the gradual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, the ongoing occupation of that country along with the planned escalation of the war in Afghanistan will cost Americans billions that might otherwise fund important social programs, according to new online tools created by the National Priorities Project (NPP).

Now, at more than $187 billion since 2001, according to the new NPP web counter, the war in Afghanistan has so far cost $2 billion per month. At over a total of $650 billion, the war in Iraq has averaged more than $9 billion.

Though the war in Iraq is deescalating, requests for funds for combat operations has continued. The president’s new supplemental funding request will add to that amount. According to NPP estimates, about $77 billion of President Obama’s $83.4 billion supplemental is for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. About $52 billion of that amount is dedicated to Iraq, which leaves some $24 billion for combat operations in Afghanistan.

Altogether, Congress has approved more than $830 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

The NPP website further breaks down how the diversion of funds to finance war in Afghanistan and Iraq impacts Americans. With the money dedicated to combat operations in the supplemental request alone, the US could provide more than 22 million uninsured Americans with health care coverage or equip almost 80 million American homes with renewable electricity for a whole year or give 14 million college students the maximum Pell Grant of $5,300.

In a press statement, NPP Executive Director Jo Comerford said, “With President Obama moving forward with his campaign promise to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, the US public faces two important questions as we reach his administration’s auspicious 100-day milestone: What will be the cost and impact of more troops, for both the US and Afghanistan? And what are the Obama administration’s long-term goals?”

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