According to Linda J. Bilmes, a former chief financial officer and assistant secretary of the US Commerce Department, it will cost $662 billion over the next 40 years to care for returned veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bilmes, who now lectures on public policy at the John F Kennedy School of Government, accuses the Bush administration of being unprepared for what disability benefits and medical care will cost for veterans.
The costs are increased by the fact that more soldiers are surviving their injuries. In Vietnam the wounds per death ratio was 2.6:1, now it is 16:1. In addition there is a large number of soldiers who have disabilities as mental health conditions.