Monday, March 10, 2008

Rocks Down a Sinkhole

I am just asking what we have to show for it? A Peaceful and prosperous Iraq? Afghanistan? A new and revitalized Middle East eager to move forward as part of the world community? How about a global turn toward prosperity and improved lives for everyone?

In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Beyond 2008, working with "best-case" and "realistic-moderate" scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion -- or more -- by 2017.

Interest on money borrowed to pay those costs could alone add $816 billion to that bottom line, they say.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has done its own projections and comes in lower, forecasting a cumulative cost by 2017 of $1.2 trillion to $1.7 trillion for the two wars, with Iraq generally accounting for three-quarters of the costs.

Regardless of who is elected this fall a lot of this has already been committed and spent. We still have the injured to care for. We still have a hopelessly destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan that we have some responsibility for helping. We still have to pay off the debt accrued during this mess because not one bullet was paid for out of cash on hand and very little of the spending was even in the Federal Budget.

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