Happy Fifth Birthday, Operation Iraqi Freedom!
U.S. Deaths Confirmed By The DoD: 3988
U.S. Deaths Pending DoD Confirmation: 2
At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.
Getting at the true cost of the war is difficult. Expenses like a troop increase were paid from the base defense budget, not war bills.
Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.
Among economists and policymakers, the question of how to tally the cost of the war is a matter of hot dispute. And the costs continue to climb.
All of the war-price tallies include operations in the war zone, support for troops, repair or replacement of equipment, reservists’ salaries, special combat pay for regular forces and some care for wounded veterans — expenses that typically fall outside the regular Defense Department or Veterans Affairs budgets.
The highest estimates often include projections for future operations, long-term health care and disability costs for veterans, a portion of the regular, annual defense budget, and, in some cases, wider economic effects, including a percentage of higher oil prices and the impact of raising the national debt to cover increased war spending.