Cost of War Heading toward One Trillion Dollars

From Juan Cole:

This item says that Bush administration officials told the American people that the Iraq War would cost $50 billion. A reader reminds me that the head of US AID actually put the cost at $1.7 billion. Paul Wolfowitz, that great economist now neoliberalizing the World Bank, even implied that Iraqi petroleum would pay for Iraq reconstruction. The cost of the war is rising toward a thousand billion dollars, i.e. a short-scale $1 trillion. Bush is still keeping this sum off the official budget (why?), and so it does not show up in the official figures for the budget deficit. But the money for the war is being borrowed, so that our grandchildren will still be debt slaves of Halliburton and Boeing. Folks, we’ve done been low-balled. The difference between us and that young couple with the coupe, though is at least they have a coupe. We’ve got rubble in the Middle East for our $1 trillion, on which we’re paying interest every month.

(Thanks PVC)


  1. the one trillion was Stiglitz’s figure who was Clinton’s economic advistor, is a great economist and all that, but well you might want to read the full range of opinion:

    you’ll need a bugmenot to get to the story. Kevin Murphy and them at the univ of c are argueing that the cost of containment (i.e. the cost we were paying to keep military in the region in order to keep Saddam Hussein from invading another country or gassing the kurds again) might have been more than the cost of actually occupying the country.

    here’s a link to Murphy and his collagues paper:,%20Weighing%20the%20Costs%20(March%202003).pdf

    as the economist points out Stiglitz’s figure includes a lot of factors other economists didn’t figure into the war such as the cost of providing health care for veterans etc. regardless it’s going to cost more than originally thought. I’m assuming th Wolfolitz as economist angle is ironic, he’s not an economist he has several degrees (chemistry, mathematics, and political science), but none in economics. You can find out more about Woloflitz’s history in the bbc documentary the power of nightmares:

  2. According to some sources in DC, most of that trillion has not made it to the national debt. In fact, there is strong specualtion that a lot of the cost of the war (plus occupation, plus VA benefits, etc)remains hidden and off-budget and one of the early reasons for dramatic cuts in military benefits.. If so, it makes the above article all the more distressing.

    Anyway, this is the subject of my cartoon strip this morning and I linked it to your post.

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