Real cost of US war with Iraq: $1.7 trillion

A new report shows the Bush administration's initial estimates were about 30 times too low.

By Kim Peterson Mar 21, 2013 1:01PM
U.S. Army soldiers returning from Iraq walk off their plane as they arrive at Fort Hood, Texas on December 16, 2011 ( Joe Raedle/Getty Images)It seems so ridiculous now. A decade ago, the Bush administration estimated the cost of war with Iraq at $50 billion to $60 billion. Money well spent when you considered the good that would come out of the action, many thought.

A new report out this month shows how incredibly low that estimate was. Total U.S. taxpayer spending on that war is up to $1.7 trillion, according to the Costs of War Project. And the numbers keep rising. When you include future disability payments for veterans, interest payments and other expenses, the total cost of the war could surpass $6 trillion.

And what good did the war do? Not much, if you ask the Iraqis. A separate report this month from the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction shows little evidence that all that money did any real good in the country or helped its citizens.

"With all the money the U.S. has spent, you can go into any city in Iraq and you cannot find one building or project" built by the U.S. government, Acting Minister of Interior Adnan al-Asadi said in the report. "You can fly a helicopter around Baghdad or other cities, but you cannot point a finger at a single project that was built and completed by the United States."

The war killed some 134,000 Iraqis, according to Costs of War, a project from the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. The institute compiled research from about 30 academics and other experts for the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

The war gave new life to the radical Islamist cause in Iraq, the report said. Other experts say the war helped to further destabilize the Middle East.

As the years pass, public sentiment against the war is hardening. And a few of the decision makers in charge have expressed regret.

"If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in," Steven Bucci, the military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the run-up to the war, told Reuters. "Just the time alone would have been enough to stop us. Everyone thought it would be short."

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Mar 21, 2013 1:24PM
The Iraq War was the most serious foreign policy blunder in at least ninety years.
Mar 21, 2013 1:34PM
The greatest blunder in American history and all that money literally flushed down a toilet.
Mar 21, 2013 1:32PM
Wasted money. Should have spent that money on America, to make it better. Make, the liar, George Bush repay it for his lies, to kill our troops.
Mar 21, 2013 1:57PM
the war criminal Bush should be tried by the international court for war crimes!
Mar 21, 2013 2:07PM
Thank you so much George Bush for putting this country into debt for a war built on weapons of mass destruction.  Oh but I forgot, all you Republicans blame Obama for the debt!
Mar 21, 2013 2:01PM
Should G.W. Bush be tried as a war criminal?
Mar 21, 2013 1:57PM
And what have we gained for all the money and lives lost??  Zilch!  Absolutely ZILCH!!
Mar 21, 2013 2:05PM
And why are Bush and Cheney still walking our streets?
Mar 21, 2013 2:29PM

How much of the 1.7 million went to Halliburton and its subs,

Cheney should be charged with FELONY conflict of interest 

Mar 21, 2013 2:03PM
Our government is a disgrace to America.  Taxpayers are on the hook for 6 trillion dollars for the Iraq war.  There are more terrorist in Iraq now than before the war. It's our moron politicians who are destroying good ole America.  All of them should be hanged on the highest tree in D.C. for treason.
Mar 21, 2013 1:51PM
How did they think it would be a short and relatively inexpensive war if they intended to occupy Iraq?  Bush Sr. did the right way the first time when Iraq invaded Kuwait. 
Mar 21, 2013 2:29PM
It was well publicized that Iraqi oil contracts did not go to US companies, well they didn't need the oil.  There was plenty of money to be made off of the US taxpayers through government contracts to "friends" such as Halliburton and MANY more.  In addition to the Halliburton - Cheney partnership, Bush Sr. was also in business with the Bin Ladens (not Osama of course, but his very wealthy family) in one of the largest defense contractors of the US military.  There are countless more of these sort of partnerships that benefitted wealthy politicians and their friends (super PAC contributors). So in a nutshell, they killed 150,000+ Iraqi civilians, thousands of US Military personnel, and put the Us under incredible debt, just to steal more than 1 Trillion from the US Citizens. 
Mar 21, 2013 1:57PM
Ka ching - hey, we're still in Iraq, so this won't be the final toll.  
Mar 21, 2013 2:10PM
More money down the drain.  A recent report says that 800 million a WEEK of OUR money is being transferred out of IRAQ !!!  We are so STUPID !!!  We can't even account for where our money went !!! They can't even be audited cause nobody can find the records !!!  Just like our bloated Defense Department that has not been audited in over 20 years !!!  They just can't FIND out where all the money goes---but lots of it is wasted !!!  We need about SIX sequesters to cut 5% each year from all those bloated departments !!!  They START projects and programs but NEVER finish or stop them !!!  A bunch of EMPIRE BUILDERS run these agencies !!!
Mar 21, 2013 2:05PM
Thanks to George W. and Cheney we got to spend more than 1.7 trillion dollars for an unnecessary endeavor. Blame that on Obama or maybe even Clinton.
Mar 21, 2013 2:46PM
And Paul Ryan says that the biggest problem facing our government is unbridled entitlements.  The biggest risk, IMHO, is unbridled Repbulican war mongering!
Mar 21, 2013 2:08PM
That doesn't even count the the cost for war with Afghanistan...
Mar 21, 2013 2:13PM

I shudder to think what George W Bush sees when he looks in the mirror.


(Dick Cheney sees nothing in his mirror. You know what that means.)

Mar 21, 2013 2:13PM

It is truly a testament to the goodness and stability of America and most importantly to her Citizens, that this kind of absolute waste is tolerated.

These very same patriotic American Citizens have paid for this adventurism and greedy, corrupt pocket lining with their very standard of living and livelihoods lowered for a generation.

By the time the true cost of both Afghanistan and Iraq are realized, the former Middle class will be greatly degraded and for the very first time in 100 years...American will not have the reasonable expectation that their hard work will bring more prosperity to their families.

Yet, these very same patriotic and America loving people will shoulder their burden, largely without complaint, and allow those responsible in Government to divert attention from this absolute crime to a continued assault on the very freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

In a very deliberate and well planned expansion of Government power over it's Citizens under the guise of  "protection" these very same Patriotic Citizens will allow their independence and Guaranteed Constitutional protections to be eroded. These "protections" take on the face of security and health for them but are cleverly disguised  to further Socialize control over the population.

This is very simple ....not....exaggeration...or doom is a very clear and sober look at the changes occurring everyday.

God help us. Oh wait...I is politically incorrect to make such a statement.

Help ourselves. No one else will.  Be to your Representatives they know who they are required to represent and so they know your wishes.

This is the greatness of America.  

Mar 21, 2013 2:41PM
be very skeptical when a Republican talks about how he understands economics !!!
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