War costs estimated at over $3 trillion to date

When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would be self-financing, and rebuilding the nation would cost less than $2 billion.

Coming up on the five-year anniversary of the invasion, a new estimate from a Nobel laureate puts the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at more than $3 trillion.

In their book “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, argue that the cost to America of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is wildly underestimated.

When other factors are added — such as interest on debt, future borrowing for war expenses, continued military presence in Iraq and lifetime health care and counseling for veterans — they think that the wars’ costs range from $5 trillion to $7 trillion.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a decorated Marine Corps colonel and Vietnam veteran, welcomed the effort by Stiglitz and Bilmes to quantify the ways in which the wars will cost taxpayers. “It’s astounding that here we are about to mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and this administration still refuses to acknowledge the long-term costs of the war in Iraq,” he said.

By any estimate, the Bush administration’s predictions in March 2003 of a self-financing war have proved drastically inaccurate.

[Excerpt of an article by Kevin G. Hall – McClatchy Newspapers]

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