$1 trillion Iraq pricetag?
Harvard's Linda Bilmes and Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz calculated the real cost of the Iraq War based on a couple of different scenarios for the length and breadth of U.S. operations in Iraq.
It's way, way, waaaaay more than either pre-war estimates or the most liberal figures available in the papers. The conservative estimate, according to the pair, is $700 billion. That includes a number of costs above and beyond the money allocated by Congress, plus the damage to the economy and the interest on the increased debt.
The moderate estimate exceeds $1 trillion and excludes Afghanistan.
Quite a bit more than these estimates:
Iraq will be "an affordable endeavor" that "will not require sustained aid" and will "be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion." Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Budget Director Mitch Daniels [Forbes 4/11/03, W. Post 3/28/03, NY Times 1/2/03, respectively]
Paul Wolfowitz "dismissed articles in several newspapers this week asserting that Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion in this fiscal year." [NY Times, 2/28/03 ]
"In terms of the American taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries and Iraqi oil revenuesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦The American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this." Ã¢â‚¬â€œ USAID Director Andrew Natsios, 4/23/03All this leads to another question: Why do the people who made these estimates have jobs? Why, for that matter, does the media continue to trust and quote people who suck so badly? I mean, apart from the tragedy and travesty, they suck at their jobs.