Iraq War Costs Projected to Exceed Vietnam's

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“The Iraq Quagmire” is the most comprehensive accounting of the mounting costs and consequences of the Iraq War on the United States, Iraq, and the world. Among its major findings are stark figures that quantify the continuing of costs since the Iraqi elections, a period that the Bush administration claimed would be characterized by a reduction in the human and economic costs. According to current estimates, the cost of the Iraq War could exceed $700 billion. In current dollars, the Vietnam War cost U.S. taxpayers $600 billion.

See also:"Iraq War Costs Now Exceed Vietnam's." Excerpt: The 84-page report,"The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War and the Case for Bringing the Troops Home," says that the total bill for the war in Iraq has come to some $204 billion, or an average of $727 per U.S. citizen, not counting an additional $45 billion which is currently pending before Congress.

The report, which comes as Congress braces itself for the multi-billion costs of cleaning up after the unprecedented devastation inflicted this week on New Orleans and the broader Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, also does not include at least another $25 billion request that the Pentagon is believed to be preparing to sustain operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into next year.

Released by two think tanks, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the International Relations Center, that have strongly opposed the Iraq war, the new study is their third since mid-2004 to attempt a comprehensive accounting of the human, social, and international – as well as financial – costs of the war on the U.S. and Iraq.

The new report also includes a plan by IPS Fellow Phyllis Bennis for an"immediate and complete withdrawal of troops, military contractors and U.S. corporations backing the U.S. occupation."

The plan calls for U.S. troops to cease all offensive actions, withdraw from population centers, and redeploy to Iraq's borders to help Iraqi forces secure them, and for Washington to reduce the size of its embassy in Baghdad, and announce that it has no intention of maintaining either permanent bases in Iraq or control of its oil.

Similar steps have recently also been advocated by conservative critics of the war, such as the former director of the National Security Agency, ret. Gen. William Odom.

Bennis also called for Washington to negotiate with Iraqi insurgents over the mechanisms of withdrawal and endorse talks between them and U.S.-backed Iraqi leaders.

The Pentagon, according to the report, is currently spending $5.6 billion per month on operations in Iraq, an amount that exceeds the average cost of $5.1 billion per month (in real 2004 dollars) for U.S. operations in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972.

"While fewer troops are in Iraq, the weapons they use are more expensive and they are paid more than their counterparts who served in Vietnam," according to the report, which noted that at current rates, Washington could spend more than $700 billion over 10 years – $100 billion more than the total cost of the Vietnam War.

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