Cost of War Still Rising Despite Official End of Conflict
In a January 2003 interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC “This Week”, former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said this when asked about the estimated cost of the Iraq War:
“Well, the lesser important is the cost in dollars. Human life is a treasure. The Office of Management and Budget estimated it would be something under 50 billion dollars.”
Stephanopoulos countered with: “Outside estimates say up to $300 billion”, to which Rumsfeld said:
The war in Iraq is now officially over.
According to a recent Bloomberg.com article that cites that Congressional Research Service, “direct federal spending on the war through 2012 will reach $823 billion”.
In current dollars, this makes the Iraq War the second most costly on record for the United States, topping the Vietnam War ($738 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars) and several other conflicts. Only the second World War ($4.1 trillion inflation-adjusted) has cost the country more.
The Bloomberg.com article also points out that the $200 billion in interest payments from the resulting debt has not been included in the “official” costs of the war. Add this to the $823 billion, and the country is already $1 trillion+ deep.
In addition - Linda Bilmes, senior lecturer in public finance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and former assistant commerce secretary under Bill Clinton, estimates that “the price over the next 40 years of health care and disability compensation for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts will be almost $1 trillion”.
Source: Bloomberg.com - Iraq War Lives On as Second-Costliest US Conflict Fuels Debt
Filed under: General Knowledge