On a ratio basis, in terms of percentage of casualties suffered by USMA grads versus the total army force deployed in Iraq, the Iraq war is one of the deadliest ever for USMA alum. Already there have been class of 2006 and class 2005 casualties, not to mention a total of over 50 USMA alum deaths so far.
Whats that cost?
It is impossible to compare a service academy costs in context of other colleges, if not disrespectful.
Even in peace, what is the cost of being a person who could easily have gone to an elite college but instead went to a service academy, and then receive a substandard pay and often boring and harsh lifestyle after graduation as their peers from high school start to make mid teer salaries on Wall St or in other top echelon professions?
I offer that a service academy education is the most costliest education a young person could elect.
With all due respect & agreeing with your views... However crass it may be to talk "dollars" of our service academy young people, some school systems ask for the dollar amount so they can prove to their funding sources that they are educating well & getting these kids to places of the highest learning. You have good perspective as there are several people who don't understand what the TRUE cost is. However, I can see both sides to the issue.