Bush masked cost of wars that could top $1.7 trillion

The nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments found that the $687 billion spent so far on Iraq has cost the US more than every conflict aside from World War II. With the $184 billion in Afghanistan, the two main conflicts of the war on terror have proved to be 50 percent more expensive than Vietnam.

An author of the report said President Bush's decision to circumvent the traditional budget process is to blame for the exceedingly high costs. That Bush insisted on delivering massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans during wartime also drove up the long-term price tag, according to the report.

The CSBA's assessment comes in below some of the highest estimates for the wars' costs. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard economist Laura Bilmes estimated Iraq alone would cost $3 trillion when factoring costs beyond the battlefield, such as veterans health benefits and disability pay.

The latest report blamed President Bush for keeping the costs so high through his practice of funding the wars via "emergency" supplemental budget requests, which fall outside the bounds of the normal budgetary process. Such requests, CSBA found, virtually eliminate Congressional oversight and hurt the Pentagon's ability to plan for the long term.

[The Raw Story]

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