Saturday, July 26, 2008

Price Of Iraq War Nears Vietnam's

U.S. has spent $648 billion, report says
By Christine Simmons, Associated Press
Houston Chronicle
July 26, 2008

WASHINGTON — The total cost of the Iraq war is approaching the Vietnam War's expense, a congressional report estimates, while spending for military operations after 9/11 has exceeded it.

The new report by the Congressional Research Service estimates the U.S. has spent $648 billion on Iraq war operations, putting it in range with the $686 billion, in 2008 dollars, spent on the Vietnam War, the second most expensive war behind World War II.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. has doled out almost $860 billion for military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world.

All estimates, adjusted for inflation, are based on the costs of military operations and don't include expenses for veterans benefits, interest on war-related debts or assistance to war allies, says the nonpartisan CRS.

The report underscores how the price tag has been gradually rising for the war in Iraq, which began in March 2003. In late 2002, then-White House budget director Mitch Daniels estimated the Iraq war would cost $50 billion to $60 billion. A year later, L. Paul Bremer, then-chief of the U.S. occupation government in Iraq, said the war would cost $100 billion.

Yet the Iraq war has consumed less of the nation's gross domestic product than other pricey conflicts. The Iraq war's costs represented 1 percent of GDP in the peak year of the war. World War II, with a $4.1 trillion price tag in 2008 dollars, was nearly 36 percent of GDP and the Vietnam War was 2.3 percent of GDP in that wars' peak years.

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