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By CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – Five more American troops were killed in Afghanistan. They died from an improvised explosive device. This comes after 30 Americans were killed last weekend in a Chinook helicopter shot down by the Taliban.
It’s appropriate to put the numbers into context.
The cost in blood and treasure for the United States has been enormous.
So far this year, 284 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan. Since the war started nearly 10 years ago, 1,721 Americans have died there.
More have been killed in Iraq. Since the war started there in March 2003, 4,477 have died.
Many thousands more have been seriously injured, including loss of limbs, serious burns, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic shock.
Maintaining the approximately 100,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan costs U.S. taxpayers about $2 billion a week – or more than $100 billion a year. The United States has started a modest drawdown of troops this year, but President Obama says America will retain a robust presence of tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan at least until the end of 2014.
That again means the toll in blood and treasure will continue. Let’s not be under any illusions.
Some 45,000 U.S. troops are still in Iraq right now, but they are supposed to be withdrawn by the end of the year. Still, some will probably remain as part of a U.S.-Iraqi agreement that is being negotiated. There is still no agreement and no word on exactly how many Americans will stay.
With Osama bin Laden dead, people will question whether continuing these wars is worth more blood and treasure.
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