With this week marking the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, the Des Moines Register reminds us that Americans will be paying for today’s wars long after the last troops have been brought home:
If history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the next century.
At the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, more than $40 billion a year are going to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Iraq campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict.
The Associated Press identified the disability and survivor benefits during an analysis of millions of federal payment records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The idea of paying out survivor benefits for Vietnam and Iraq vets isn’t surprising, but who knew the government was still paying out benefits for the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the American Civil War?
There are 10 living recipients of benefits tied to the 1898 Spanish-American War at a total cost of about $50,000 per year.
The Civil War payments are going to two children of veterans — one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee — each for $876 per year.
Surviving spouses can qualify for lifetime benefits when troops from current wars have a service-linked death. Children under the age of 18 can also qualify, and those benefits are extended for a lifetime if the person is permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18.
Citing privacy, officials did not disclose the names of the two children getting the Civil War benefits.