A war with a price tag

Nobel prize winning, former chief economist with the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz has coauthored (with Linda Bilmes) a book on the Iraq conflict. There are lots of books on Iraq, but few so revealing. It is called ‘The Three Trillion Dollar War’ and based on that that price I will concede use of the word war.

Let’s start with the trivia, just to get the mind around some numbers.
Private security contractors earn up to $1222 a day; army sergeants between $150 and $190 a day.
• Bush economic advisor Larry Lindsay said the war would cost $200 billion
Donald Rumsfeld called that figure baloney and quoted $50 – $60 billion
Andrew Natsios, Agency for international development, quoted reconstruction at $1.7 billion
Paul Wolfowitz thought the whole shebang would ‘pay for itself’.

Some hard numbers
• Iraq is currently costing US taxpayers $12.5 billion a month
• Seven US soldiers are injured for every fatality
• In Vietnam there were only 2.6 injuries per fatality
• 45% of the 7000 US troops in the first Gulf War filed for disability which now costs $4.3 billion a year.

I haven’t done the math yet, but $3 trillion sounds impressive. We are assuming around 45% disability claims on much higher raw numbers and actual casualties.

The good news is, as the bills start to trickle then flood in, the US will not be in any economic shape to prosecute any more of these misadventures, at least for a generation or so. The Bush administration has just pissed your future up against the wall.

7 thoughts on “A war with a price tag”

  1. To paraphrase ?Was it Proxmire? “a trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

    I still say hanging’s way too good for these bastards.

  2. OK, I was wrong. The quote about a billion here, a billion there is traditionally attributed to Everett Dirksen, not William Proxmire. The Dirksen website however claims the attribution is apocryphal. (LINK )

    Proxmire wasn’t a bad guess though, as his wikipedia entry attests. The quote would have been right down his alley.

    “He [Proxmire} used his seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee to spotlight wasteful military spending and was instrumental in stopping frequent military pork barrel projects. His Golden Fleece Award was created to focus media attention on projects he felt were self-serving and wasted taxpayer dollars. He was also head of the campaign to cancel the American supersonic transport.”

  3. The Bush administration has just pissed your future up against the wall.

    That’s a pretty accurate assessment of what he’s done for the vast majority of us; however, those at the top of the income scale have nothing to worry about. They’ve made fortunes off his war and never have to worry about being able to afford health care, food, fuel, housing, etc.

  4. …the US will not be in any economic shape to prosecute any more of these misadventures, at least for a generation or so.

    Oh how I wish that were true, but to take a lesson from history… The former Soviet Union continued to use their considerable military might to prosecute such misadventures for at least one generation after they became a crippling drag on their economy.

    Pray for a Dem in office come 2009.

  5. Sadly I concur with kvatch. Stupidity doesn’t rely on logic :(
    Frogette my daughter actually made that decision. That was even before she settled in Boston.

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