OPINION: Cost of war in Iraq

What it may cost to stay in Iraq

The latest estimates of the cost of the Iraq war by Steven Kosiak, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank, puts the cost of the Iraq war so far (measured by congressional appropriations) at $450 billion, and that of the Afghanistan operation at $127 billion. By the end of fiscal year 2008, about a year away, the combined bill will be $808 billion.

“The war in Iraq, alone,” notes Mr. Kosiak, “has already cost the US more in real [inflation-adjusted dollars] than the 1991 Gulf War and the Korean War, and it will almost certainly surpass the cost of the Vietnam War by the end of next year.”

If the two military operations drag on for a decade, the cost could amount to between $1.09 trillion and $1.62 trillion, he speculates, depending partly on what level of military forces are left in the two nations.

Those numbers, admits Kosiak, don’t include the cost of the extra debt piled up by Washington to pay for the operations. Those would add “several hundred million” more to the bill in the next decade. He says the Bush administration has put the cost of the operations “on the national credit card.” [complete article]

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