The Cost of the War Approaches Half a Trillion

On September 15th 2002, White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay estimated the high limit on the cost of the War to be 1-2% of the GNP, or about $100-$200 billion. Later Mitch Daniels, Director of OMB was quoted as saying Iraq will be an affordable endeavor that will not require sustained aid and that the total cost of the war would more likely be between $50-$60 billion.

Paul Wolfowitz stated in March 2003 that oil revenues in Iraq could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years....We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.

But whether you ignore the question or just cannot do the math, the Congressional Research Office (CRS) reported the realities in a June 2006 report.

By the end of the next fiscal year, one half a trillion dollars will be appropriated for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with a great majority of the funding attributed to the war in Iraq.

From fiscal year '04 until FY06 the cost of our war efforts has increased 72%.

Most of the increases were attributed to Operations and Maintenance costs which jumped from $42.7 billion in FY04 to $60.9 billion in FY06.

Procurement costs have increased from $7.2 billion to $24.4 billion.

The CRS analysts were unable to explain the rapid increases in costs, and the Bush Administration has never explained how they could have been so wrong.

But the cost increases are relatively easy to explain.

We have not seen a significant drawdown in troops to the region, thus the cost of sustainment continues to climb.

The war in Iraq is chewing up our military equipment, requiring the equipment to be replaced, rebuilt or refurbished.

Purchase of spare parts has increased substantially.

The War has put a huge strain on the military's ability to recruit and retain. The military personnel accounts have increased substantially. Some of our service members are being paid as much as $150,000 to re-enlist. When they re-enlist in Iraq, the bonus payment is tax-free.

Much of the work historically performed by the military has been contracted out in Iraq at a significantly higher price tag.

The cost of fuel has also added to the surge in costs. Did you know that fuel costs have doubled at the pump since the beginning of the war?

A half a trillion dollars and climbing!

During House Appropriation Hearings on Defense we have frequently asked Secretary Rumsfeld how much more the war was expected to cost. His canned response has been, "How do I know, I don't have a crystal ball!"

An earnest question dismissed with a careless answer.

A crystal ball?? Maybe a calculator would prove more helpful.