Iraq, Afghan war costs up

This video from the USA says about itself:

In 2003 Donald Rumsfeld estimated a war with Iraq would cost $60 billion. Five years later, the cost of Iraq war operations is over 10 times that figure. So what’s behind the ballooning dollar signs? Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilme’s exhaustedly researched book, “The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict,” breaks down the price tag, from current debts to the unseen costs we’ll pay for years to come.

From Reuters:

US cost of Iraq, Afghan war tops $900bn

Washington: Tue, 16 Dec 2008

US military operations, including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, have cost $904 billion since 2001 and could top $1.7 trillion by 2018, even with big cuts in overseas troop deployments, according to a report.

A new study released by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), said the Iraq conflict’s $687 billion price tag alone now exceeds the cost of every past US war except for World War II, when expenditures are adjusted for inflation.

With another $184 billion in spending for Afghanistan included, the two conflicts surpass the cost of the Vietnam War by about 50 per cent, the report said.

CSBA said US military operations have already reached $904 billion since 2001, including the two wars as well as stepped-up military security activities at home and the payout in war-related veterans’ benefits. The estimate includes allocated spending into 2009.

In contrast, a separate Government Accountability Office study released on Monday said Congress has provided the Pentagon with $808 billion for the Bush administration’s global war on terrorism from 2001 through September 30, 2008, including $508 billion for Iraq and $118 billion for Afghanistan, the Philippines and the Horn of Africa.

The CSBA study said US taxpayers could pay another $416 billion to $817 billion over the next decade, even if the combined troop deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan were slashed to between 30,000 and 75,000.

That would bring the cost for both wars to between $1.3 trillion and $1.72 trillion for 2001 through 2018, and even higher when federal borrowing costs are included, CSBA said.

The United States has 143,000 troops in Iraq and 31,000 in Afghanistan. Washington has agreed to withdraw its forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, under a newly signed agreement with the Iraqi government.

But US officials are planning to add more than 20,000 forces in Afghanistan within 12 to 18 months.

One reason for the ballooning costs is the Bush administration’s habit of funding the wars through supplemental budget requests, a practice that CSBA said has eroded congressional oversight and weakened the Pentagon’s long-term planning and budgeting processes.

The Bush administration and Congress have also pursued significant tax cuts since 2001 and robust spending increases, rather than following the established approach of funding war costs by combining tax increases with curbs on domestic spending and borrowing.

“The Bush administration has taken a starkly different approach to financing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the CSBA study said in its executive summary.

In fact, CSBA said war cost projections rise significantly when interest payments on the federal debt are included in the calculations.

Overall costs would reach $1.4 trillion to $1.8 trillion from 2001 through 2018 if borrowing were assumed to cover 10 percent of underlying military operations.

CSBA said war cost projections would climb to between $2 trillion and $2.5 trillion, if all costs were covered by borrowing.

Afghan occupation is ‘corrupt from top to bottom’: here.

6 thoughts on “Iraq, Afghan war costs up

  1. British Troop Casualties Surge In Afghanistan

    Wednesday , 17 December 2008

    KABUL (Reuters) — More British than U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the past six weeks, despite America having four times more troops in the country.

    The steadily rising death toll comes as violence in Afghanistan has reached its highest levels since 2001, with Afghan and foreign forces locked in daily battles with an increasingly deadly and resilient Taliban insurgency.

    Some 4,000 people, one-third of them civilians, were killed in the first half of this year alone.

    Since the beginning of November, 12 British soldiers have died, compared to only three U.S. soldiers in the same period, according to U.S. and British military statements. Three British soldiers were killed in a single suicide bomb blast.

    A spokesman for the NATO-led force in Afghanistan said increased engagements and the tactics used by insurgents, such as roadside bombs and suicide attacks, were to blame, but the rise in British casualties could be attributed to no one cause.

    “Over the past few weeks, the Brits have been engaging the enemy pretty hard. If you engage the enemy, you come into contact with them,” said British Navy Captain Mark Windsor.

    “We’ve been having a bad time. I don’t think there’s any specific reason for it, apart from the fact that it’s tough down there,” he said, referring to Helmand, a province in southern Afghanistan where the Taliban have a strong presence.

    Since the Taliban were toppled in 2001, the U.S. military has suffered more casualties than all the other 40 foreign countries with troops in Afghanistan put together, but it also now has nearly half the 65,000 international soldiers there.

    The number of British soldiers to have died since 2001 is 133, compared to 629 from the U.S. military. The U.S. has 31,000 U.S. troops based in Afghanistan, while Britain has 8,300, making it the second-highest force-contributing nation.

    The latest British soldier to die was hit by insurgent gunfire on December 15 at a base in Helmand. Forty-seven British soldiers have died this year, more than one-third of total British fatalities since 2001.

    No Protection

    One criticism leveled at the British military is that it uses insufficiently armored vehicles to protect its soldiers on patrol, making them vulnerable to roadside bombs.

    Thirty-seven British soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan while traveling in lightly armored “Snatch” Land Rovers, the most commonly used troop-carrying vehicle.

    Despite that heavy death toll, the Ministry of Defense said it would go on using the vehicles, despite persistent concerns raised by troops about their safety, while gradually introducing a slightly better protected version of it.

    A retired British officer said that if British troops wanted to stay close to the Afghan people, and win them over, they would always face risks from mines and suicide bombers. And he said better armored vehicles wouldn’t necessarily work.

    “There is almost no protection against a serious amount of plastic explosive,” Colonel Bob Stewart, former commander of UN forces in Bosnia, told Reuters.

    “If there is a requirement for British soldiers to be out on the ground with the population, doing the hearts-and-minds stuff, which there is, then there is going to be a greater risk,” he said.

    The number of wounded British soldiers has also reached its highest levels, with 59 troops very seriously or seriously wounded in the first 11 months of this year, Britain’s Defense Ministry said.

    In 2007, 63 British soldiers were seriously wounded, and only four were killed during all of November and December.

    While the cold winter months in Afghanistan usually see a drop in fighting, U.S. military commanders have said there will be no letup this winter in the battle with Taliban insurgents.

    December 16, 2008


  2. Pingback: ‘War incompatible with Christianity’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Iraqi shoes thrown at Bush, cartoon | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Afghanistan, Iraq wars cost British, US taxpayers much | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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