WASHINGTON -- The war in Iraq could ultimately cost well over a trillion dollars -- at least double what has already been spent -- including the long-term costs of replacing damaged equipment, caring for wounded troops, and aiding the Iraqi government, according to a new government analysis.The Congressional Budget Office ran the numbers for two scenarios: one in which US troop strength in Iraq was reduced to 30,000 by 2010, and a less optimistic one where 75,000 troops stay in Iraq through at least 2012. On current trends, the more optimistic scenario would cost the US taxpayer another $500 billion; the less optimistic one another $900 billion.
The United States has already allocated more than $500 billion on the day-to-day combat operations of what are now 190,000 troops and a variety of reconstruction efforts.
In a report to lawmakers yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that even under the rosiest scenario -- an immediate and substantial reduction of troops -- American taxpayers will feel the financial consequences of the war for at least a decade.
Remember, this war was supposed to be fought on the cheap:
Those costs -- both to sustain the current mission in Iraq and to pay longer-term "hidden" expenses like troop healthcare and replacement equipment -- are far more than US officials advertised when Congress gave President Bush the authority to launch the invasion in March 2003.Well, incompetence has been this Administration's signature theme; I suppose it shouldn't be any surprise that the incompetence is costing us a literal fortune.
At the time, the White House and then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted a quick, decisive victory and counted on Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the war. And when Lawrence Lindsey, one of Bush's top budget advisers, estimated in 2003 that the entire undertaking could cost as much as $200 billion, he was fired.