April 28, 2006

Bush mortgaging future, Iraq spending tops $320 billion, over $4 billion unaccounted for in Iraq

The cost of Bush's war:
The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week.

The analysis, distributed to some members of Congress on Tuesday night, provides the most official cost estimate yet of a war whose price tag will rise by nearly 17 percent this year. Just last week, independent defense analysts looking only at Defense Department costs put the total at least $7 billion below the CRS figure.

Once the war spending bill is passed, military and diplomatic costs will have reached $101.8 billion this fiscal year, up from $87.3 billion in 2005, $77.3 billion in 2004 and $51 billion in 2003, the year of the invasion, congressional analysts said. Even if a gradual troop withdrawal begins this year, war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to rise by an additional $371 billion during the phaseout, the report said, citing a Congressional Budget Office study. When factoring in costs of the war in Afghanistan, the $811 billion total for both wars would have far exceeded the inflation-adjusted $549 billion cost of the Vietnam War.
And the DOD refuses to provide information regarding just where these billions were actually spent:
Defense specialist Amy Belasco, the CRS study's author, stressed that the price tag is only an estimate because the Defense Department has declined to break out the cost of Iraqi operations from the larger $435 billion cost of what the administration has labeled the global war on terrorism. That larger cost applies to military, diplomatic and foreign aid operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, enhanced security efforts begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and related medical costs of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Although DOD has a financial system that tracks funds for each operation once they are obligated -- as pay or contractual costs -- DOD has not sent Congress the semiannual reports with cumulative and current obligations for [Iraq] and [Afghanistan], or estimates for the next year, or for the next five years that are required by statute," the CRS noted.

And perhaps the most underreported story, one that has been around for over a year but which the press largely ignores is that BILLIONS of dollars have simply vanished or are unaccounted for in Bush's "long war".
The report details how operations, maintenance and procurement costs have surged from $50 billion in 2004 to $88 billion this year, citing rising expenditures for body armor, oil and gasoline; equipment maintenance; and training and equipping Afghan and Iraqi security forces.

"These factors, however, are not enough to explain a 50-percent increase of over $20 billion in operating costs," the report states.

War-related investment costs have more than tripled since 2003, from $7 billion to $24 billion, as money has been spent on armored vehicles, radios, sensors and night-vision goggles, as well as on equipment for reorganized Army and Marine Corps units.

"These reasons are not sufficient, however, to explain the level of increases," the report states again.

Of the total war spending, the CRS analysis found $4 billion that could not be tracked. It did identify $2.5 billion diverted from other spending authorizations in 2001 and 2002 to prepare for the invasion.

That discovery helped push the CRS cost estimate higher than estimates from independent budget analysts. The CRS total also includes expenditures on foreign aid and diplomacy not counted in the military cost tallies by groups such as the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Bush and the Republicans have spent $320 billion on this unnecessary war. Just how much is that?

IF you made one dollar every single second, it would take you over TEH THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTY SEVEN YEARS to end up with $320 billion.

That's $1072 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

How much is the $4 billion which has vanished and is unaccounted for?

Using the town of Moline as an example, $4 billion is enough to give every man, woman, and child living in Moline $91,390.00
Family of four? You'd get a cool $365,563.00

Even forgetting all the incalculable suffering, death, and loss which continues unabated in Bush's "war", the sheer financial cost is going to be a serious burden for this country for generations to come, and many say that the level of debt run up by the all-Republican government is putting the country in serious risk of an economic crisis.

Foreign interests are literally buying up America and already own a shocking amount of the country and hundreds of major corporations which would probably outrage the public if it were aware. China and others carry a huge amount of our all time record debt, and this out-of-control government is weakening our economic standing so badly that there is a risk that nations and major banks will choose to invest in a more stable currency such as the euro, taking their investments out of dollars and creating a collapse.

This is a large reason gold prices have soared recently, as people simply are losing confidence that this administration will or can do anything to stem the reckless and amazing spending which they continue. If you want to make money, open a pawn shop.

The Republican brand of "faith based" economic policies simply can't be sustained.


At 4/29/2006 1:10 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Even ignoring the enconomy of scale, that would build 45,000 Rhythm Music Skybridges, enough to stretch over 4,000 miles.

Or it could have built a colony on the moon, or 10,000 $32 million schools.

At 4/29/2006 1:26 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

QCI.. thanks for that. By the time I got done wrestling with that post, I was too pooped to do the math.

I would have liked to have done enough research to break down hundreds of things those billions could have been devoted to.

I can only imagine the number of college scholarships, improvements in bridges, roads, sewers, and LEVEES, port security, better enforcement on food, drugs, air and water quality, and financial markets, millions of pre-school programs, millions of drug treatment facilities rather than more and more prisons, school counseling services, recreational projects and maintenance and improvements of national and state parks, not to mention if even a fraction were distributed to states and localities for social services and to restore worthy and vital services which have been cut or eliminated due to lack of funding.

The list is literally endless of purposes to which this vast amount of money could be better applied.

Just the KNOWN waste alone could do a world of good. And that's only the money that's known to be lost, there's likely many times that which has vanished into people's bank accounts around the world.

And, perhaps most egregious and most unforgivable, that money would be more than enough to provide healthcare for every single uninsured person in the country.

But yet, to even question why we devote such an enormous amount of our country's wealth, genius, and willingly march our youth into harms way to face death, severe and permanent wounds, and psychological damage that lasts a lifetime, is seen as out of bounds.


America could have the biggest and best military on earth, and be ready and able to defend the interests of our country anywhere at any time, and we'd still have enough left over to accomplish things that people have been demoralized into thinking are impossible.

The things we instinctively know are the right things to do ARE possible. It's just a matter of priorities. And when throwing money at the military and dubious and unecessary wars continues to go nearly unquestioned, let alone opposed, by 99% of all politicians and most citizens, we will continue to squander and misuse the great wealth, genius, promise and potential of this great country to truly be a leader in peace and prosperity and global relations into the millenium.

At 4/29/2006 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly why we don't want GI Joes like Mellon in congress.

At 5/04/2006 1:23 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Just think what that money could have done spent on our youth and their education???

Perhaps the cure for cancer or Aids or something really big instead of a bunch of grunts trying to play cop in a land where we are not wanted or appreciated....


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