Thursday, February 28, 2008

$3 TRILLION, not $60 billion, for Iraq

Let me see. That means our Preznit was wrong by a factor of 50, or 5,000 (five thousand) percent, on the cost of the Iraq war, according to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz.

High oil prices? Iraq War.

Budget deficits? Iraq War.

Increased international borrowing? Iraq War.

Credit crunch? Iraq War.

Housing bubble? Iraq War.

Here’s some details from Stiglitz’ comment to a London think tank:

The former World Bank vice-president said the war had, so far, cost the US something like $3 trillion compared with the $50-$60-billion predicted in 2003.

Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.

The war was now the second-most expensive in US history after World War II and the second-longest after Vietnam, he said. …

Professor Stiglitz, an academic at the Columbia Business School and a former economic adviser to president Bill Clinton, said a further $500 billion was going to be spent on the fighting in the next two years and that could have been used more effectively to improve the security and quality of life of Americans and the rest of the world. …

“When the Bush administration went to war in Iraq it obviously didn't focus very much on the cost. Larry Lindsey, the chief economic adviser, said the cost was going to be between &100 billion and $200 billion - and for that slight moment of quasi-honesty he was fired.

“(Then defence secretary Donald) Rumsfeld responded and said ‘baloney,’ and the number the administration came up with was $50 to $60 billion. We have calculated that the cost was more like $3 trillion.

“Three trillion is a very conservative number, the true costs are likely to be much larger than that.” …

Professor Stiglitz attributed to the Iraq war $5-$10 of the almost $80-a-barrel increase in oil prices since the start of the war, adding that it would have been reasonable to attribute more than $35 of that rise to the war.

Stiglitz added that BushCo figures were off so much in large part due to its massive underestimating of long-term post-battle medical costs.