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Iraq War Lives On As Second-Costliest U.S. Conflict Fuels Debt

The war in Iraq is officially over. The costs will go on/.../Even though the last U.S. combat troops have left Iraq, American taxpayers will face decades of additional expenses, from veterans’ health care and disability benefits to interest on the debt accumulated to finance the war.

“Those costs are going to build for years,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington-based research group.

That burden will come amid growing concern about the federal government’s debt, with cuts to popular programs such as Medicare and to national defense being debated. Spending so far on the war and related interest payments make up about a tenth of the U.S. Treasury’s $10.4 trillion in publicly held debt.