11/22/07 icasualties reports that as of today U.S. deaths in Iraq add up to 3,874. So far in 2007, the number is 871, higher than in any previous full year. The number of U.S.wounded to date adds up to 28,451, says However, fortunately, monthly losses have been declining recently. 11/22/07 Saudi Arabia and Libya are the two countries with the largest contingents of foreign fighters in Iraq. But they flow in from all over. NY Times. 11/18/07 The Cost of the War in Iraq Is Greater than What We Pay.Washington Post. The opportunity costs of military spending (what we could have done with the money) and of presidential attention to the war (other priorities that might have had a better chance) are much greater than the spending itself.
RISING ESTIMATES OF THE COST OF THE IRAQ WAR: COMMENTARY
Four key estimates in red, with the upper limit of new estimates.
Baseline: Before September 15, 2002. In a CNN program on Iraq revealingly titled "The Cost of 911" (indicating an apparent belief by CNN in a link between Iraq and 9/11), the Pentagon is on record as estimating the cost of a war in Iraq at about $50 billion, i.e., about 0.5 percent of GDP. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution agreed with the Pentagon that the United States could invade Iraq for $30-$50 billion, but added that occupation and rebuilding could cost $5-$20 billion more per year, in the early years, with the cost per year declining over time.
September 15, 2002: Lindsey, $200 billion. Lawrence B. Lindsey, Director of the National Economic Council (2001-2002) and Assistant to the President on Economic Policy, is quoted in the Wall Street Journal estimatin that the cost of a war in Iraq would be 1 percent of GDP, or maybe 2 percent, i.e., a range of $100-$200 billion, with no end date specified. September 23, 2002. Lindsey’s estimate, widely quoted, is supported by the Democratic Caucus of the House Budget Committee, with the end date seen as 2012. September 30, 2002. The Congressional Budget Office provides an estimatebroken into components that together are consistent with Lindsey's estimate.
October 29, 2002: Nordhaus, $1.6 trillion. Yale University Professor William D. Nordhaus argues that existing estimates are too low, because they don't take into account tghe possibility of a long occupation. He estimates that cost of a war in Iraq could be $120-$1,600 billion, with the higher figure covering occupation of Iraq through 2012. December 31, 2002. The Budget Director, who at various times called Lindsey’s estimate "very, very high" and “the outer edge of speculation”, puts the cost of the war at $50-$60 billion. (Lindsey himself had meanwhile been replaced.) March 20, 2003. The United States invades Iraq. On April 9, Baghdad occupied. On May 1, President Bush landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and announced the end of combat operations in Iraq. June 27, 2003. Some slight convergence in the estimates occurs. The Department of Defense raises the prevailing official estimate of the cost of the war to $60-$95 billion. In the same month, Professor Nordhaus scaled back his upper estimate and raised his lower estimate, for a range of $500-$600 billion over 10 years. February 27, 2004. George Soros estimates the cost of the war to date (2003-2004) at $160 billion. May 19, 2005. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of the war at $600 billion through 2010, i.e., at the upper limit of the revised Nordhaus range.
January 8, 2006: Bilmes-Stiglitz, $2 trillion. The Boston Globe announces that a study by Professors Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz shows that the Iraq war could cost the economy more than $2 trillion through 2010. The authors’ data are published a month later as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. September 28, 2006. The Congressional Research Service estimates the Iraq war is costing nearly $2 billion a week. December 2006. Bilmes and Stiglitz, in a Milken Institute article, specify a range of $2-$2.267 trillion as the cost of the Iraq war through 2016. Since the war has been fought for three years, a 10-year projection is now three years further in the future, which adds costs. July 6, 2007. The Congressional Research Service estimates the ongoing costs of the war in Iraq at $12 billion per month. October 2007. The American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution Joint Center issues an Iraq War cost calculator that estimates the cost of the war based on differing assumptions such as how long U.S. troops will be required in Iraq. October 24, 2007. The Congressional Budget Office estimate the cost of the war at $1.2-$1.7 trillion through 2017. The report covers both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and other activities related to fighting terrorism, and relies in part on testimony on testimony on the cost of caring for returning vets.
November 13, 2007: JEC (Schumer-Maloney), $3.5 trillion. The Democratic majority on the Joint Economic Committee, led by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), announce a new estimate of $1.6-$3.5 trillion, i.e., the economic cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars so far (2002-2008) is $1.6 trillion and projected through 2017 is $3.5 trillion. These figures are higher than earlier estimates in part because the war has continued for four years and therefore the 10-year projection covers 14 years, but the upper limit is twice as high as the CBO estimate. Minority Republican members of the committee dispute individual numbers but do not provide an alternative estimate. Libertarian Presidential Candidate Rep. Ron Paul peppers his speeches with the higher number, i.e., $3.5 trillion. November 22, 2007. Two U.S. spending clocks put the cost of Iraq war so far in the range of $442 billion and $471 billion. Click here for a continuous update of tradeoffs.