Experts Calculate Billions in Long-term Costs of War
JIM LEHRER: Now, what the war in Iraq is costing. Democrats in Congress are still trying to pass a war funding bill the president will sign. That legislation will provide money for military operations, but those funds are only part of the larger price tag. The NewsHour's economics correspondent, Paul Solman, has our report.
PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour Economics Correspondent: The cost of the Iraq war, it's a far cry from the original estimates.
DONALD RUMSFELD, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense: The Office of Management and Budget estimated it would be something under $50 billion.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, Host, "This Week": Outside estimates say up to $300 billion.
DONALD RUMSFELD: Baloney.
PAUL SOLMAN: The $50 billion estimate turns out to be a modest fraction of what the war has actually cost thus far, the out-of-pocket, mainly military costs.
GREG SPEETER, National Priorities Project: We're averaging, over the period of the war, about $275 million a day.
PAUL SOLMAN: Greg Speeter runs the National Priorities Project and its costofwar.com Web site, which tracks the spending per second. At this point, says Speeter, the total is close to $450 billion.
GREG SPEETER: That gives you some indication of just how expensive this war is.
PAUL SOLMAN: But, no, it really doesn't, according to those who've looked at the numbers more broadly. As economist Linda Bilmes explains...
LINDA BILMES, Harvard University: Even if we withdrew all of our troops from Iraq tomorrow, the war would still keep costing us money for many, many years to come, because there are several long-term costs which are not included in the running costs of the war.
PAUL SOLMAN: With Nobel laureate economist and former Bill Clinton adviser Joe Stiglitz, Bilmes did a cost study that's received a lot of attention for its bottom line.
LINDA BILMES: The total cost of the war would be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion.
comments powered by Disqus
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Famed SC civil rights protesters have convictions erased
- A Fight About Taxing The Wealthy, A Century Before President Obama
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History
- Joan Peters’s legacy assessed by one of her fiercest critics, Norman Finkelstein
- West Point historian says if his cadets can understand the history of war, so can Congress
- Australian historian Alan Atkinson wins $100,000 literary prize
- From his perch in Saudi Arabia, Princeton’s Mark Cohen says Jews and Muslims should remember they used to get along