Financial cost of the Iraq War

The following is a partial accounting of financial costs of the 2003 Iraq War by the United States and the United Kingdom, the two largest participants of the multinational force in Iraq.__TOC__

U.S. war costs

As of August 2008, around $550 billion has been spent based on estimates of current expenditure rates [ [http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182 "National Priorities Project - Cost of War"] ] , which range from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) estimate of $2 billion per week to $12 billion a month, an estimate by economist Joseph Stiglitz. [cite news|url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080309/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_war_costs|title=Studies: Iraq costs US $12B per month |publisher=AP/Yahoo News|date=March 9, 2008|accessdate=2008-03-12]

Those figures are significantly more than typical estimates published just prior to the start of the Iraq War, many of which were based on a shorter term of involvement. For example, in a March 16, 2003 "Meet the Press" interview of Vice President Dick Cheney, held less than a week before the Iraq War began, host Tim Russert reported that "every analysis said this war itself would cost about $80 billion, recovery of Baghdad, perhaps of Iraq, about $10 billion per year. We should expect as American citizens that this would cost at least $100 billion for a two-year involvement." [http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/bush/cheneymeetthepress.htm Transcript of a March 16, 2003 interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney by NBC's "Meet the Press"] , from the website for the International Relations Program at Mount Holyoke College] . Vice President Cheney didn't comment specifically on the estimate quoted by Russert, noting::It’s important, though, to recognize that we’ve got a different set of circumstances than we’ve had in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan you’ve got a nation without significant resources. In Iraq you’ve got a nation that’s got the second-largest oil reserves in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia. It will generate billions of dollars a year in cash flow if they get back to their production of roughly three million barrels of oil a day, in the relatively near future. And that flow of resources, obviously, belongs to the Iraqi people, needs to be put to use by the Iraqi people for the Iraqi people and that will be one of our major objectives.

According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report published in October 2007, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion dollars by 2017 when counting the huge interest costs because combat is being financed with borrowed money. The CBO estimated that of the $2.4 trillion long-term price tag for the war, about $1.9 trillion of that would be spent on Iraq. [ cite web | url=http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN2450753720071024 | title=U.S. CBO estimates $2.4 trillion long-term war costs| publisher=Reuters | month=October | year= 2007 | access date=2007-10-24]

Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, has stated the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be three trillion dollars in a moderate scenario, and possibly more in the most recent published study, published in March 2008. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article3419840.ece The three trillion dollar war] from "The Times" of London] Stiglitz has stated: "The figure we arrive at is more than $3 trillion. Our calculations are based on conservative assumptions. They are conceptually simple, even if occasionally technically complicated. A $3 trillion figure for the total cost strikes us as judicious, and probably errs on the low side. Needless to say, this number represents the cost only to the United States. It does not reflect the enormous cost to the rest of the world, or to Iraq."

The CRS estimated in September 2006 that total expenditures had topped half a trillion dollars.cite news | url=http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/09/28/cost_of_iraq_war_nearly_2b_a_week/ | title=Cost of Iraq war nearly $2b a week | publisher=Boston Globe | date=2006-09-28 | accessdate=2006-09-28] Additionally, the extended combat and equipment loss have placed a severe financial strain on the U.S Army, causing the elimination of non-essential expenses such as travel and civilian hiring. [cite news | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-07-20-army-money_x.htm | title=Strapped for money, Army extends cutbacks on spending | publisher=USA Today | date=2006-07-20 | accessdate=2006-08-15] [cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14122053/site/newsweek/ | title=End of Days? | publisher=Newsweek | date=2006-07-21 | author=Michael Hirsh | accessdate=2006-08-15]

As the total passed US$450 billion, the cost for the Iraq war reached approximately $1500 per person in the United States.cite web | url=http://www.kiplinger.com/businessresource/forecast/archive/The_True_Cost_0720723.html | title=Iraq War: The Cost in Dollars | author=Richard Sammon | Month=July | year=2007 | access date=2007-07-23] If the Iraq war were to wind up costing 1.9 trillion dollars, the cost would be over 4.2 times higher ($6,300 per United States citizen.) This would put the expense at $25,000 for an average family of four, or $32,000 per family if Afghanistan is included.

As a comparison, with this money he estimates that one could have built 8 million houses, paid 15 million teachers, paid for the child care of 530 million kids, paid for the scholarship of 43 million students, offered social safety net during 50 year to Americans. Stigltz also said that United States help for Africa is only $5 billion, soon to be superseded by China. $5 billions correspond to only the spending of 10 days for the war by the United States.

Appropriations

* FY2003 Supplemental: Operation Iraqi Freedom: Passed April 2003; Total $78.5 billion, $54.4 billion Iraq War
* FY2004 Supplemental: Iraq and Afghanistan Ongoing Operations/Reconstruction: Passed November 2003; Total $87.5 billion, $70.6 billion Iraq War
* FY2004 DoD Budget Amendment: $25 Emergency Reserve Fund (Iraq Freedom Fund): Passed July 2004, Total $25 billion, $21.5 billion ("estimated") Iraq War
* FY2005 Emergency Supplemental: Operations in the War on Terror; Activities in Afghanistan; Tsunami Relief: Passed April 2005, Total $82 billion, $58 billion ("estimated") Iraq War
* FY2006 Department of Defense appropriations: Total $50 billion, $40 billion ("estimated") Iraq War.
* FY2006 Emergency Supplemental: Operations Global War on Terror; Activities in Iraq & Afghanistan: Passed February 2006, Total $72.4 billion, $60 billion ("estimated") Iraq War
* FY2007 Department of Defense appropriations: $70 billion("estimated") for Iraq War-related costs [ [http://costofwar.com/numbers.html National Priorities Project | Bringing the Federal Budget Home] from the Cost of War website] [cite web | url=http://zfacts.com/p/272.html | title=Congressional Reports: Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan since 9/11 | publisher=zFacts.org | date=2006-04-24 | accessdate=2006-08-15]
*FY2007 Emergency Supplemental (proposed) $100 billion
*FY2008 Bush administration has proposed around $190 billion for the Iraq War and Afghanistan [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/26/AR2007092600732.html?hpid=topnews Increase In War Funding Sought] from "The Washington Post"]

Long-term health care costs

A recent study indicated that the long term health care costs for wounded Iraq war veterans could range from $250 billion to $650 billion. [ [http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ%2FMGArticle%2FWSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173351760178&path=!nationworld&s=1037645509161 High survival rate for wounded in Iraq presents new challenges] from the "Winston-Salem Journal"]

Military equipment lost

The U.S. has lost a number of pieces of military equipment during the war. The following statistics are from the Center for American Progress:cite web | url=http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/docs/773.pdf | title=Army Equipment After Iraq | publisher=Center for American Progress | author=Loren B. Thompson | coauthors=Lawrence J. Korb, Caroline P. Wadhams | accessdate=2006-08-15] ; they are approximations that include vehicles lost in non-combat-related accidents as of 2006.

Land equipment

*20 M1 Abrams tanks
*55 Bradley fighting vehicles
*20 Stryker wheeled combat vehicles
*20 M113 armored personnel carriers
*250 Humvees
*500+ Mine clearing vehicles, heavy/medium trucks, and trailers
*10 Amphibious Assault Vehicles [cite news| url=http://www.military.com/forums/0,15240,91677,00.html | title=The Fog of War | publisher=Marine Corps Gazette | author=Maj Karl C. Rohr | date=2006-03-21 | accessdate=2006-08-15 ] [cite news | url=http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2004/Jan/Marine_Vehicle.htm | title=Marine Vehicle Upgrades Reflect Combat Demands | publisher=National Defense Magazine | date=January 2006 | author=Roxana Tiron | accessdate=2006-08-15]

Air equipment

*109 Helicopters
*18 Fixed-Wing AircraftIn June 2006, the Army said that the cost of replacing its depleted equipment tripled from that of 2005. [cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13563055/ |title=Army’s Iraq, Afghanistan equipment costs triple | publisher=MSNBC | date=2006-06-27 | accessdate=2006-08-15] As of December 2006, according to government data reported by the Washington Post, the military stated that nearly 40% of the army’s total equipment has been to Iraq, with an estimated yearly refurbishment cost of $US 17 billion. The military states that the yearly refurbishment cost has increased by a factor of ten compared to that of the pre-war state. As of December 2006 approximately 500 M1 tanks, 700 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 1000 Humvees are awaiting repair in US military depots. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/04/AR2006120401347.html "U.S. Army Battling To Save Equipment"] . Tyson, Ann Scott. "Washington Post" December 5, 2006.]

U.K. war costs

As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq. All of this money has come from a government fund called the "Special Reserve" which has a current allocation of £7.4 billion. [cite web | url=http://www.iraqanalysis.org/publications/235 | title=The Rising Costs of the Iraq War (March 2006) | publisher=IraqAnalysis.org | date=2006-03-22 | accessdate=2006-08-15] [cite web | url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=aZiloVkUJNrw&refer=uk | title=U.K. Spending on War in Iraq, Afghanistan Rises to $16 Bln (December 2006) | publisher=Bloomberg | date=2006-12-06 | accessdate=2007-01-22]

References


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