True war cost placed at $3.5 trillion

Democrats on Tuesday warned hidden costs would catapult the price of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts to a staggering 3.5 trillion dollars, staking out a new war showdown with President George W. Bush.

The report by Democratic staffers on Congress’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC) said war costs would hit 1.6 trillion dollars by the end of next year, doubling the 804 billion dollars spent or requested by the administration.

Hidden outlays would also inflate the price to the 3.5 trillion dollar mark by 2017, they warned, basing the figure on the cost of treating wounded veterans, the Iraq war’s impact on oil prices and other economic factors.

Democratic leaders unveiled the report as they plotted their latest bid to force Bush’s hand on Iraq, warning he would not get any more money for the war this year — unless he agreed to troop withdrawal timetables.

“The backbreaking costs of this war to American families, the federal budget and the entire economy are beyond measure in many ways,” said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer.

“What this report makes crystal clear is that the cost to our country in lives lost and dollars spent is tragically unacceptable.”

Senate Democratic Majority leader Harry Reid added: “We simply cannot buy victory in Iraq.”

The White House rejected the report.

“This committee is known for being partisan and political. They did not consult or cooperate with the Republicans on the committee,” White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters.

Republican lawmakers furiously demanded the withdrawal of the report.

“It is disappointing that the Democrats would release a report that contains so many factual errors,” said Republican JEC members Senator Sam Brownback and Representative Jim Saxton.

“The errors are in keeping with its sloppiness and overall political tone.”

Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell added: “Of course, the war has been costly, but we have been protected from attack here at home.”

The report’s headline figure of 3.5 trillion dollars is 1.1 trillion dollars higher than a non-partisan estimate by the Congressional Budget Office last month for war costs by 2017.

The JEC estimate assumes a drawdown of US troops in Iraq but the retention of a large-scale US force in the country.

It also takes into account money spent and requested for the wars, interest payments on foreign loans used to finance the spending, and factors in higher costs of oil due to declined Iraqi production.

The report estimates the cost of repair and refitting military equipment and the outlay needed to retain soldiers in the ranks and economic disruption caused by the deployment of US army reserve units.

The report was released ahead of an expected House of Representatives vote this week on a proposal to deliver 50 billion dollars to fund the wars for a four-month period instead of the 196 billion budget request from Bush.

The proposal would require the withdrawal or redeployment of most troops in Iraq to begin within 30 days, with a goal of completion within a year.

Bush has repeatedly resisted attempts by anti-war Democrats in Congress to force him to accept troop withdrawal timelines for the Iraq force.

Reid meanwhile said that he would try to push a similar bill through the Senate, despite repeated failures by Democrats to woo Republicans to overcome the 60-vote super majority in the 100-seat Senate needed for major legislation.

“If the president is not willing to take that with some conditions on it …. then the president won’t get his 50 billion. That’s pretty clear,” Reid said.

But Bush, during an appearance in New Albany, Indiana, warned “we don’t need members of Congress telling our military commanders what to do.”


  1. Sandra Price

    If the Democrats were really concerned about this outrageous cost of war, why did they approve it under a complete fool of a President? There is no reason the Democrats can’t cut a deal with Bush and demand that DynaCorp and Blackwater be sent home immediately. The American tax payers do not want an Embassy that is the biggest in the world to sit in Baghdad! Bush promised that the oil would pay for the war and he lied!

    Why can’t the Democrats work out a way to close this war down? Could it be they are making a fortune on these mercenaries and the price of oil?

    D.C. stinks to high heaven (literally) and we should step out of the two party system and bring in new blood….Starting with Ron Paul in 2008. He will stop this nonsense.

  2. ekaton

    “Why can’t the Democrats work out a way to close this war down? Could it be they are making a fortune on these mercenaries and the price of oil?”

    Your second question, of course, answers your first. They are “in” on the whole deal. That and a little precisely placed AIPAC blackmail.

    — Kent Shaw

  3. Caine

    These guys are bitching about the cost of war yet they continue to give this administration everything they want? Surely they could stop the spending on this war, but they won’t!

    Mr. Schumer and Mr. Reid, stop bawling and do something about it. You are the only ones that can!

  4. ekaton

    CUT OFF THE DAMN MONEY YOU SPINELESS BASTARDS. Any representative or senator who would like to be reelected in a lanslide victory need only vote to cut off funds for the war.

    –Kent Shaw

  5. Carl Nemo

    Nothing will ever change as long as we have the likes of Schumer, Reid, Pelosi, and a host of these duty losers in Congress.

    If this nation is to survive, “we the people” need to do a “big flush” of these traitorous mattoids; at least as many as possible in November 2008…!

    Just to view their jaded, criminally negligent countenances in the AFP photo release supplied with this editorial is enough to make my skin crawl along with a gag reflex…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. douin

    All that it would take to force Bush to realize he cannot have his way any longer is to do what all Good Parents do…be consistent. When you tell a child what they cannot do, you do not change your mind when your child starts to whine and tell you what a bad parent you are…and that ” all of his friend’s parents allow them to do what they are refusing him.” Then..the parent folds ! Just like this mealy-mouth Congress.

    I think that Bush needs to be treated to some Tough Love, something I doubt he has ever experienced in his entire life. I suspect his parents gave him his way all his life, instead of the love he really craved from them. So he never developed the skills he needed to get along with the rest of the world. All he knows now is to threaten, make up lies, exaggerate and manipulate to get his way. Maybe even with a little blackmail thrown in for good measure. Instead of being the the small town bully, he is now a world bully. He never learned how to negotiate because he never had to. In other words, the perfect puppet as long as the ones pulling the strings keep telling him what to do, and what a Good little boy he is. Now he just struts around and play-acts being President.

    Kent Shaw is right. Shut off the Spigot and quit funding a war that is not a war, but an occupation. The Iraqis and Afghans hate us..and rightfully so. Just like we hated the British. And the British were not nearly as cruel as we are.

    What is Congress afraid of…that Bush will throw a tantrum ? So what ! Congress must do the job they were Hired to do…protect this country from fools like Bush and Cheney. That is their job. It is past time to stand up and tell Bush that he has gone too far..snit fit or not. Congress controls the purse strings…not Ma and Pa Bush, Sr. any longer.

  7. Carl Nemo

    Nicely stated douin; unfortunately Congress is an example of negligent parents, evidently having no interest in controlling their errant child…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. douin

    Thanks Carl. I was a little concerned that my words would not be understood as I meant them to be. But you got it ! This Congress is acting just like I am sure Bush’s parents have done all of Bush’s life. Afraid to say no because of his temper tantrums. It has been reported that Bush is still throwing tantrums, and all of his Staff knows it. Most likely all of the World Leaders have seen a lot of his childish actions as well.

    Sad, huh ? What a disgrace that the world’s most powerful nation has dropped so low in just 7 short years…and it sure is not because of non-existent Terrorists, either. It is strictly because of actions behind the scenes. Bush is nothing but a glorified smokescreen to draw our attention from what is really going on. Impeach Cheney..then Bush.

  9. SEAL

    Tonight I watched a re-run of Bill Mahr and one of his guests was one of the democrap congressmen. Mahr got him to state the official position of the Democrappy congress which is:

    We are trying to stop the war. We send bills to the president that would end it but he vetos them and we don’t have the votes to override. So, the war will not end until we get a new president that will approve the bills we send him.

    There you have it. There will be no beginning of the end to the war until 2009. He said they will not cut off the funding because they have to “protect” the troops by making sure they have the money to provide the right and best equipment.

    One of the other panelists told him the best way to protect the troops was to bring them home.

    Mahr said it all sounds to him like the democraps are just using this to win the next election and the guy became very flustered in his denial of that. He looked guilty as hell. It was a Kodak moment.

  10. douin

    Seal, You pegged it. We waste our collective time listening to that bunch of political hacks, try to decipher who is telling us the least amount of lies, go vote and wait to be disappointed time after time. All the time these bozos are calculating what best to say to stall us all until the next election. What a farce !

    I suggested back before Bush’s first Selection that we Clean House ..and the Senate from top to bottom. I am still saying that is the only way to get our government back. Now look at where we are. We don’t have Representatives in Congress. We have a bunch of career politicians that are there only to fill their pockets and live a life..high on the hog..before retiring with a Pension that most of us cannot even dream about..and after only one term in ‘office’. Then they have the gall to pretend that they are there to ‘do the will of the American people that elected them.’

    “What fools we mortals be to keep doing the same thing time after time and still hoping for a different result.” No wonder we have the poor excuse for Government we have today. Do we actually believe we deserve any better ? Not unless we wise up and Throw the Bums Out and start from scratch. We desperately need ‘inexperienced’ people that are free from the ‘special interests’ which so many old-timers have sold their souls to, and who continue to owe their ‘loyalty’ to the ones that ‘Brung Them to the dance.’ We have allowed Career, ‘experienced’ pocket-picker Politicians to fleece us of our freedoms.

    We might lose a few worth keeping, but that is a price worth taking. We need to shuffle them all out the door, pronto, and kick their asses on the way out.