Cost of War in Iraq

This is a bit of a step away from the focus of the blog. I have added it to highlight the way spending priorities are made. The U.S. government follows a fairly similar economic and governance philosophy as does the BC. Liberals. This is not, of course, to say that the governments are the same. However, the ways in which neo-liberal/neo-conservative governments prioritizes spending is illuminating. It is unlikely that a provincial government such as our would go into debt or radically increase spending for public education. However, as their political cousins in Washington D.C. demonstrate they will increase spending when it comes to the machinery of security and arms.

The following item is from a U.S. based web page that allows one to compare the cost of the war in Iraq with the possible expenditures on public education, healthcare, infrastructure etc in the U.S. It is an amazing amount of $U.S..

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Background Information on the Calculator

The Cost of War calculator is set to reach $251 billion March 31, 2006. The Cost of Iraq War calculator is occasionally reset based on new information and new allocations of funding.

Previously, the National Priorities Project estimated the cost of the Iraq War by analyzing the legislation for the appropriations made by Congress for the Iraq War. Through fiscal year 2005, this totaled about $205 billion. At the end of September 2005, Congress allocated more money for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars as well as enhanced security abroad (in the continuing resolution).

In October 2005, a report published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) concluded that $251 billion had been obligated or appropriated for the Iraq War. The research was based not just on Congressional appropriations, but on the Department of Defense’s (DOD) DFAS monthly obligations reports. The researcher also concluded that as war-related expenses were higher than anticipated, the DOD transferred money from peacetime funds (which they were permitted to do under certain circumstances as outlined in appropriations legislation). The DOD also transferred funds appropriated for Afghanistan or general war to the Iraq War.

The Cost of Iraq War counter is now based on the $251 billion for the Iraq War as concluded in the CRS report.

The numbers include military operations, reconstruction and other spending related to the Iraq invasion and occupation. Spending only includes “incremental” costs, additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers’ regular pay is not included, but combat pay is included. Potential future costs, such as future health care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. It is also not clear whether the current funding will cover all military wear and tear. It also does not account for the contribution of war spending to the deficits incurred in the federal budget. In other words, we have not included the cost of interest on the debt.

The media sometimes cites a figure of $300 – $350 billion. However, this number is for the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War and for enhanced security abroad. Our figure is only covering the cost of the Iraq War as it relates to the U.S. federal budget (and does not include costs to others or other countries or any economic impact costs to Americans).

We also publish Local Costs of the Iraq War which includes the total cost allocated to date for numerous towns and counties across the country. This list is also more regularly updated with new locations than the list of the Cost of War counter

U.S. National Priorities Project

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