In a report to US lawmakers this week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that the war in Iraq could cost US taxpayers more than a trillion dollars when the long-term costs of caring for soldiers wounded in action, military and economic aid for the Iraqi government, and ongoing costs associated with the 190,000 troops stationed in Iraq are totaled up.
Original estimate: $50 to $60 billion
Already allocated: $500 billion
In an optimistic scenario - if the United States reduces its troop levels in Iraq to 30,000 by 2010 - the war will still cost taxpayers an additional $500 billion.
In a less optimistic scenario in which 75,000 US troops remain in Iraq over the next five years, the cost to the US government would total an additional $900 billion.
The Congressional Budget Office's report estimated that medical costs will exceed $9 billion if the US stations 30,000 troops in Iraq, but could exceed $13 billion if 75,000 troops remain in Iraq over the next several years.
Training of police and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade is estimated to cost at least $50 billion.
Estimates for rebuilding and diplomatic expenses suggest that the US government will need to spend at least $20 billion through 2017, outside of military expenses.
[Source: Inter Press Service]