The US War on ISIS Is Costing a Fortune

More than a year and a half and $6.2 billion later, there’s no end in sight.


It’s been a year and a half since the United States launched Operation Inherent Resolve, unofficially declaring war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The numbers are already staggering: As of January 31, after 542 days of airstrikes, the cost of the campaign reached $6.2 billion, or about $480,000 for every hour of the campaign. And the expenses are set to grow: The Pentagon is asking for another $7.5 billion to continue battling ISIS—double the amount requested for 2016.

Beyond the money, the war itself is ramping up, including more airstrikes with fewer restrictions on civilian casualties and more special-forces troops on the ground. The scope of the battle has also expanded to Afghanistan and Libya (where last Friday airstrikes hit an ISIS camp). And as plans are being drawn up for major battles to recapture the ISIS strongholds of Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq, there are calls for more US troops to be deployed in combat or advisory roles.

As Operation Inherent Resolve continues to escalate, here’s a closer look at some of the stats behind America’s war on ISIS.  

 

 

So far, 37,000 bombs and missiles have been dropped, and 20,000 ISIS fighters have been killed, according to the Pentagon. US-led airstrikes wiped out hundreds of oil infrastructure targets and a cash storage facility believed to have contained millions of dollars crucial to ISIS’s operations. The bombing has also taken a toll on civilians, though the actual numbers remain contentious.

US planes have dropped so many bombs and missiles on ISIS that the Air Force chief of staff has said the Air Force is “expending munitions faster than we can replenish them.”

Officially, 3,650 American troops and contractors are currently involved in the campaign against ISIS. The actual number may be closer to 6,000.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.