The point here is not to suggest that bin Laden shouldn’t have been aggressively pursued, or to imply that the Navy SEALs who ultimately neutralized him aren’t heroes. But it is to say that the numbers next to the photo make the al-Qaida leader the new poster boy for defense budget waste. Simply put, if it cost $4.4 trillion to fight a two-front World War II against the biggest, best-armed militaries in contemporary human history, then it shouldn’t require nearly as much to find a single poorly guarded guy and his VCR in an Abbottabad Motel 6. In that sense, the $3 trillion price tag for bin Laden makes the photo of him in his compound the Pentagon’s latest version of an $1,800 toilet cover.
Once you factor out the waste of the contractor system, the war in Iraq and the waste of using the military to conduct police action; it would be possible to compare the amount spent to get Bin Laden to the amount of money actually required to get Bin Laden.