Factoring counseling into war total

U.S. soldier in Iraq


Renita Jablonski: Congress is looking into the future today.
The joint economic committee is trying to gauge the future financial fallout of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Marketplace's Steve Henn reports from Washington.

Steve Henn: These numbers are so big, sometimes it helps to look at the little things. So let's start with this: Roughly 1 in 5 returning soldiers will suffer from post-traumatic stress or depression.

Christine Eibner at the Rand Corporation has crunched the numbers.

Christine Eibner: PTSD and depression over a two-year period could cost between $4 [billion] and $6 billion.

Only a piece goes to counseling, because most returning soldiers don't get any. Companies and families bear the rest of the costs in the form of lost productivity and suicides.

Brain Schweitzer: Our country is the best country in the world of converting a citizen to a warrior, and we are not very good at converting a warrior back to a citizen.

Brain Schweitzer is the governor of Montana. He's spending state money counseling soldiers after a high-profile suicide.

Ultimately, economist Joseph Stiglitz predicts war costs, including counseling, could top out at more than $3 trillion.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.


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