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Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Politics, War | 2 comments

Cost of War Reaches $670 Billion

According to the National Priorities Project, the War in Iraq has now cost American taxpayers $670 billion. That stands in stark contrast to the $100 billion to $200 billion pricetage estimated by President Bush’s chief economic advisor in September 2002 or the $50 billion to $60 billion estimate offered by the White House Office of Management and Budget Director in 2002.

The National Priorities Project explains how it calculates the cost of the war:

To date, the total cost of war that has been allocated by Congress is $830.2 billion, with $657.3 to Iraq and $172.9 to Afghanistan. In addition, on April 9, 2009, the new administration requested, in a final emergency supplemental, an additional $ 77.1 billion in war spending. Our estimates are that approximately $52.7 billion of that will be for Iraq and the remaining $24.4 billion for Afghanistan. As more information becomes available, we will revisit our estimates.

The numbers include military and non-military spending, such as reconstruction. Spending only includes incremental costs – additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers’ regular pay is not included, but combat pay is included. Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. It is also not clear whether the current funding will cover all military wear and tear. It also does not account for the wars being deficit-financed and that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to those deficits.

This number is based on an analysis of the legislation in which Congress has allocated for the war so far and research by the Congressional Research Service (latest report) which has access to Department of Defense financial reports. An article offered by the Strauss Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information offers greater insight into the problems of truly knowing how much has been spent on the Iraq War or other military operations.

To get a better grasp on exactly how much this war is costing American taxpayers, consider this: at the current rate of spending, the war in Iraq is costing approximately:

$108 billion per year

$9 billion per month

$295 million per day

$12.3 million per hour

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  • Don Quijote

    The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More

    The end result of all this wishful thinking? As we approach the fifth anniversary of the invasion, Iraq is not only the second longest war in U.S. history (after Vietnam), it is also the second most costly — surpassed only by World War II.

    Why doesn’t the public understand the staggering scale of our expenditures? In part because the administration talks only about the upfront costs, which are mostly handled by emergency appropriations. (Iraq funding is apparently still an emergency five years after the war began.) These costs, by our calculations, are now running at $12 billion a month — $16 billion if you include Afghanistan. By the time you add in the costs hidden in the defense budget, the money we’ll have to spend to help future veterans, and money to refurbish a military whose equipment and materiel have been greatly depleted, the total tab to the federal government will almost surely exceed $1.5 trillion.

    But the costs to our society and economy are far greater. When a young soldier is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, his or her family will receive a U.S. government check for just $500,000 (combining life insurance with a “death gratuity”) — far less than the typical amount paid by insurance companies for the death of a young person in a car accident. The stark “budgetary cost” of $500,000 is clearly only a fraction of the total cost society pays for the loss of life — and no one can ever really compensate the families. Moreover, disability pay seldom provides adequate compensation for wounded troops or their families. Indeed, in one out of five cases of seriously injured soldiers, someone in their family has to give up a job to take care of them.

    But beyond this is the cost to the already sputtering U.S. economy. All told, the bill for the Iraq war is likely to top $3 trillion. And that’s a conservative estimate.

    Good Job George…

    And Barrack, why exactly do you want to go to Afghanistan and waste a couple of trillions? Hasn’t the US inherited enough barely tractable problems from the last 40 years of Republican misrule?

  • AustinRoth

    Why, that is less than 100 days of an Obama administration!

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