May 22, 2009
According to the National Priorities Project, the war in Iraq has now cost American taxpayers over $670 billion. That stands in stark contrast to the $100 billion to $200 billion pricetage estimated by President Bush’s chief economic advisor in September 2002 or the $50 billion to $60 billion estimate offered by the White House Office of Management and Budget Director in 2002.
The National Priorities Project explains how it calculates the cost of the war:
To date, the total cost of war that has been allocated by Congress is $830.2 billion, with $657.3 to Iraq and $172.9 to Afghanistan. In addition, on April 9, 2009, the new administration requested, in a final emergency supplemental, an additional $ 77.1 billion in war spending. Our estimates are that approximately $52.7 billion of that will be for Iraq and the remaining $24.4 billion for Afghanistan. As more information becomes available, we will revisit our estimates.
The numbers include military and non-military spending, such as reconstruction. 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 medical 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 wars being deficit-financed and that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to those deficits.
This number is based on an analysis of the legislation in which Congress has allocated for the war so far and research by the Congressional Research Service (latest report) which has access to Department of Defense financial reports. An article offered by the Strauss Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information offers greater insight into the problems of truly knowing how much has been spent on the Iraq War or other military operations.
To get a better grasp on exactly how much this war is costing American taxpayers, consider this: at the current rate of spending, the war in Iraq is costing approximately: $108 billion per year, $9 billion per month, $295 million per day, $12.3 million per hour.