OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - If history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the next century as service members and their families grapple with the sacrifices of combat.
The 10-year anniversary of President George W. Bush ordering the start of war in Iraq was Tuesday, March 19.
An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans -- 148 years after the conflict ended. Tens of billions of dollars are covering other wars from the 20th century.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray says such costs should remind the nation about war's long-lasting financial toll.
Compensation to veterans of recent wars now top $12 billion. With greater numbers of troops surviving combat injuries because of improvements in battlefield medicine and technology, the costs of disability payments are set to rise much higher.