As the fifth year of the war draws to a close, operating costs (spending on the war itself, what you might call “running expenses”) for 2008 are projected to exceed $12.5 billion a month for Iraq alone, up from $4.4 billion in 2003, and with Afghanistan the total is $16 billion a month. Sixteen billion dollars is equal to the annual budget of the United Nations, or of all but 13 of the US states. Even so, it does not include the $500 billion we already spend per year on the regular expenses of the Defence Department. Nor does it include other hidden expenditures, such as intelligence gathering, or funds mixed in with the budgets of other departments. [...]Three trillion dollars for death and destruction, and a majority of it was spent on the Bush administration's lies about Iraq. How different our country and the world would be today if leaders had followed Barack Obama's example and voted against the war. Instead of reading the intelligence for themselves, they took the President at his word. Their intellectual laziness cost thousands of people their lives and put future generations in debt for years to come. History will not only judge Bush harshly, but also our leaders who blindly followed him.
From the unhealthy brew of emergency funding, multiple sets of books, and chronic underestimates of the resources required to prosecute the war, we have attempted to identify how much we have been spending - and how much we will, in the end, likely have to spend. The figure we arrive at is more than $3 trillion. [emphasis added]
Monday, February 25, 2008
A lot of money for death and destruction
How much have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost American taxpayers? Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz coauthored an article in the London Times yesterday that crunched some numbers.