Friday, March 29, 2013

The true cost of the Iraq war

James Fallows reminds us George W. Bush fired anybody who dared suggest the true cost of Iraq war. Before the invasion the Bush administration falsely claimed it would be over in a few months, with few troops and cost a couple of billion dollars because as Paul Wolfowitz put it, "the invasion would be largely 'self-financing' via Iraq's oil." Of course, it didn't happen that way at all. Not even close.

Furthermore, according to a new study done at the the Kennedy School at Harvard, we've only just begun to pay and the real costs look more like this:
The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history - totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion.
Mother Jones created a set of cost charts about this as well. You'll notice the greatest cost driver is the interest. Never let them forget, the Bush administration borrowed a ton of money to pay for this folly.

And then there's the hidden costs which were mostly not covered in appropriations at the time. Taking care of the troops that survived and came home damaged. That was the double edge sword of improved battlefield care of the injured. It kept the death count relatively low compared to previous wars, but now we have an obligation to take care of these veterans for the rest of their lives. Considering how young they were when they were deployed, those costs will survive longer than those who started this abomination will live themselves. Our children, and quite possibly our grandchildren, will be paying this war off until they reach old age.

Funny, you never hear the austerity addicts talking about that spending.

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