$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." – 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 revenues…The American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this." – USAID Director Andrew Natsios, 4/23/03
All 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.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.