Actual Cost of Iraq War Could Approach $4 Trillion


The meme from my Republican friends who hate President Obama and Democrats in general is Obama has “bankrupted our country and eroded our civil liberties.”  What short memories they have.  Next week marks the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq seeking WMDs that were never found. 

Brown University has released a study on the cost of the Iraq War and its staggering not just in the amount of money and lives wasted but in the manner that the war was financed.  The fiscal cost alone could approach nearly $4 trillion by the time interest is factored in.  In actual costs, the Iraq war will cost taxpaers $2.2 trillion.  This includes costs for caring for disabled veterans through 2053.  The initial estimate from the Bush Administration and the GOP controlled Congress at the time –$50 to $60 billion.

The Republican Congress funded the war on the credit card — through borrowing.  The cumulative interest on the Iraq War could amount to more than $3.9 trillion, so let’s just round it upwards to $4 trillion.  Then there’s the actual human cost.  More than 190,000 people were killed with more than two thirds of them civilians. Nearly 4,500 American soldiers dead.  About 3,400 U.S. contractors dead.  Nearly 32,000 American soldiers wounded, and the numbers of those who will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will devastate families and friends for decades. All for WMDs that weren’t there claiming links between Iraq and Al Qaeda that never existed to make Bush a “war president” to ensure his re-election paid for with other people’s money. Andyes, this is debt inheireted by President Obama and every president elected for the next 40 years.

From the “Costs of War” Project at Brown, these facts:

  • More than 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence in Iraq have been civilians — an estimated 134,000. This number does not account for indirect deaths due to increased vulnerability to disease or injury as a result of war-degraded conditions. That number is estimated to be several times higher.
  • The Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.
  • Th $2.2 trillion figure includes care for veterans who were injured in the war in Iraq, which will cost the United States almost $500 billion through 2053.
  • The total of U.S. service members killed in Iraq is 4,488. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors have died as well, a number often under-reported.
  • Terrorism in Iraq increased dramatically as a result of the invasion and tactics and fighters were exported to Syria and other neighboring countries.
  • Iraq’s health care infrastructure remains devastated from sanctions and war. More than half of Iraq’s medical doctors left the country during the 2000s, and tens of thousands of Iraqi patients are forced to seek health care outside the country.
  • The $60 billion spent on reconstruction for Iraq has not gone to rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, health care, and water treatment systems, but primarily to the military and police. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found massive fraud, waste, and abuse of reconstruction funds.

The Costs of War project involves 30 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists from 15 universities, the United Nations, and other organizations. In 2011 the group released figures for a range of human and economic costs associated with the U.S. military response to the 9/11 attacks. It estimated the total combined costs of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan at $4 trillion and total direct war casualties at minimum oft 330,000 men, women, and children.

Costs of War is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, scholarly initiative that derives its purpose from President Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address, in which he warned of the “unwarranted influence” of the military-industrial complex and appealed for an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” as the only force able to balance the often contrasting demands of security and liberty in a democratic state.

I’m also reminded that President Bush dismantled the CIA operations to get Osama Bin Laden in 2006, which many of us were led to believe capturing or killing the mastermind of 9/11 was the original purpose of going to war.  So my Republican friends, espeically those who continue to complain about President Obama’s lack of a budget and “out of control” spending, are you going to own up for your part in saddling the American Taxpayer for this much debt?

  5 comments for “Actual Cost of Iraq War Could Approach $4 Trillion

  1. March 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    So Therefore Exactly What

    Where were the Congressional or Main Stream Media 2001 voices that were screaming “911 Was an Inside Job”?
    “Hit the Queen’s Saudi Flank: The 9/11 Cover-Up”
    March 10, 2013 • 12:54PM

    I remember Secretary of State Colin Powell listing the numerous violations of UN mandates.
    So where were the Congressional or MSM voices saying ‘The US is no longer going to be the UN’s policeman. Where’s the campaign to “Get The U.S. Out of The UN”.

    I recall democrat Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment and House Majority Speaker Nancy Policy saying that there will be no impeachment proceedings against President Bush.

    Nothing Changes

  2. RHackett
    March 17, 2013 at 4:00 am

    I believe the projection of caring for veterans to 2053 is a conservative estimate. Quick research shows the last surviving veteran of most military conflicts typically dies about 90 years after the END of that conflict. If history is any judge we will be paying for this foreign policy disaster well into the next century.

  3. Ltpar
    March 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Having worked in Iraq twice during the last ten years, I will agree with you on the futility of American eforts and that we should have never been there in the first place. The Iraqui’s for the most part are a sorry bunch and since our military kicked their butts, they hated Americans from the start. Each and every American life lost there was a tragedy that no one was ever held accountable for.

    At the same time I also worked in Afghanistan in 2004 and while originally believing the cause to be just, am no longer convinced of that. I support bringing all our military people home now, not years down the road. We need to get out and let Afghans do what they have done for thousands of years, settling their own problems without American inteference.

    While rightfully blaming GWB for Iraq Dan, you should also be condemning Obama for dragging his feet in Afghanistan. Without going into all the specifics, we have been there for over 4,000 days, spent over 1.2 Trillion dollars, had 2000 of our people killed and another 17,000 wounded.

    Why are we still there? I do not know.

    • March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      The dragging his feet part led to credible information that led to the slaying of Osama Bin Laden, Pat. There is a timetable for the withdrawl of troops from Afghanistan that existed prior to the election, but you aren’t paying attention to anything that isn’t Tea Party.

      What’s your favorite Bush/Cheney lie about Iraq? That it would only cost $60 billion. Torture is legal even though we prosecuted the Japanese in WW II for the same things we did in Iraq? Abu-Ghrahb? The insurgency in the Last Throes? How about outing a convert CIA operative during a time of war and placing her front business out in the open to our enemies Pat?

      And let’s not forget the GOP House voting down jobs bills for returning vets.

  4. March 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    News of Bin Laden’s Death and Funeral 10 days ago (December 2001)
    “Islamabad – A prominent official in the Afghan Taliban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of Al-Qaeda organization, stating that bin Laden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, stated to The Observer of Pakistan that he had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face prior to burial in Tora Bora 10 days ago. He mentioned that 30 of Al-Qaeda fighters attended the burial as well as members of his family and some friends from the Taleban. In the farewell ceremony to his final rest guns were fired in the air. The official stated that it is difficult to pinpoint the burial location of bin Laden because according to the Wahhabi tradition no mark is left by the grave. He stressed that it is unlikely that the American forces would ever uncover any traces of bin Laden.”

    Even Fox News reported him dead in 2001, – until it was decided that he was worth more alive than dead to the war hawks.

    The real Osama Bin Laden died of natural causes in December 2001.
    Report: Bin Laden Already Dead
    Published December 26, 2001
    Read more:,2933,41576,00.html#ixzz2O9C83rFc

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