We know that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars cost thousands of American lives, four trillion dollars, and perhaps a million Iraq deaths from the chaos that followed, but there's another overlooked cost.
It's the opportunity cost of the time the President and his staff spend in overseeing the war. We saw that with the Iraq war.
Instead of spending time on say, monitoring the progress on the health care website, the president was spending time pouring over lists of which bad guys to take out with a missile strikes and deciding how many troops were needed.
Wars can just suck the oxygen out of the room of national discourse. When serious domestic issues need to be discussed, they are shoved out of the way by decisions to be made on the war front.
Next time our government says we really need to invade a country that has done us no harm, let's just say "no", and instead discuss American health care or infrastructure projects, or education, or how to fund more parks.