Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Spiraling Cost of Bush's Iraq War

Remember when Bush Administration officials predicted that the Iraq war could pay for itself in oil revenues?

That turned out to be a complete fantasy, of course, but what's new today is the astronomical cost of the Iraq folly, now estimated to be $1.2 trillion—yes, trillion!

As reported in today's New York Times, the cost of war the war is $300 million per day!—an amount that includes the military equipment, fuel, combat pay for the troops, rebuilding costs in Iraq, salaries for reservists, salaries for all those contractors, and so on. Every week, this adds up to "a couple billion dollars."

Before the war, the Pentagon estimated the cost of the conflict at $50 billion—just a tad too optimistic, we'd say.

To make sense of such numbers, Times writer David Leonhardt puts the war cost in other terms. For starters, he writes, "$1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign," with billions of dollars left over to financial other public needs, including the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Leonhardt notes that the war also has huge future costs too, including billions for the health costs of many thousands of Iraq War veterans, people we are obligated to help given the sacrifices they have made for the nation.

Despite all our billions and all the men and women who have served the nation, the war is still a mess and Bush has no idea about how get us out of Iraq. And no amount of new blood or treasure can bring back the 3,000-plus who have died in a needless war.

No comments: