The U.S. Government under the Bush Administration has acted much like the American people in general: We’re in a ton of debt and nobody really cares. So, what does it cost to attack and destroy a country for no legitimate reason whatsoever? Never mind the countless lives that have been lost or affected (on both sides of the ocean). Reuters reports in U.S. CBO estimates $2.4 trillion long-term war costs:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion by 2017 when counting the huge interest costs because combat is being financed with borrowed money, according to a study released on Wednesday.
With President George W. Bush indicating a large contingent of U.S. troops likely will be engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years to come, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the total tab for the wars from 2001 through 2017.
CBO estimated that interest costs alone from 2001-2017 could total more than $700 billion.
So far, Congress has given Bush $604 billion for the two wars, with about $412 billion spent in Iraq, according to CBO, which is Congress’ in-house budget analyst. In Iraq alone, the United States is spending about $11 billion a month, with costs escalating.
To put this in perspective, that’s 2,400 billion dollars, or $2,400,000,000,000. The part that angers me the post (other than complete ignorance and apathy related to the spending in the first place), is that Congress will easily engage in huge debates over $100 million of funding for health, education, or related programs. Sadly, $100M is barely a drop in the bucket in the United States. When we’re spending a half-million dollars per hour to supposedly “liberate” Iraqis, there’s some real good we could do with that money. And, this number doesn’t even include the secondary costs related to taking care of soldiers and others who have been affected by our aggression. We’re not even considering the damage to the American system of government, our Constitution, and the people who ignore or support this way. History shows that many empires have crumbled in this way.
If the past is any indication (and it seems that it is), attacking foreign countries should probably become a permanent line item in the U.S. budget. It’s just part of the American Way.
Update: A similar article on The Raw Story: Bush wars to cost 40 times higher than original estimates; $8,000 per man, woman child in US. The title helps put this all in perspective, in yet one more way. If ever our priorities should be challenged, it’s now.
Update 2: Here’s another related article based on the cost of war: CNN’s Cafferty: Bush putting the poor out in the cold to fund war. The real trick, of course is to make Dubya and his cronies feel the heat. Sorry… I couldn’t resist.