Numbers can be misleading, of course. Some, such as the long-term cost of treating damaged survivors of battle, can be exaggerated or minimized. Some can be hidden in other budgets or drawn from confusing off-budget accounts.
But the exact figures are not the issue. The Washington issue is that the Bush administration has been lying from day one about the cost of this "preventative" war of choice. The original White House estimate of the total war cost was $75 billion, including the destruction of all Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction."
Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, whose fiscal acumen won him the presidency of the World Bank , even offered the theory that the war would be self-financing, paid for by Iraq's oil production. That's rich. And so are oil producers everywhere.
The war, in fact, is a factor in the escalating cost of petroleum products here and everywhere else in the world. Leaving that aside as you watch the gas-pump digits rise to Super Bowl numbers this weekend, two anti-war research institutes, the International Relations Center and the Institute for Policy Studies, estimate that the war's cost per citizen has reached $727 -- or close to $3,000 for a family of four.
By the end of this year, those figures should reach about $1,300 per citizen, or more than $5,000 for that family of four.
[Excerpt of Yahoo News Opinion column written by journalist Richard Reeves] related post