11/09/2010 12:10 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Veterans Health: Beyond Costs, Emotional Toll On Soldiers And Their Families Is Huge

More than nine years of war in Afghanistan and seven in Iraq have so far cost America nearly 5,800 lives lost in combat, close to 40,000 wounded and more than $1 trillion.

Even if America starts withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011 -- the stated goal of U.S. President Barack Obama, who inherited the conflicts from his predecessor George W. Bush -- the impact of the wars will last generations.

Beyond the additional nearly $1 trillion two prominent economists estimate it will cost just to treat veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq for the next 40 years, the potential human cost is huge.