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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recently said that the U. S. is in Iraq for oil, and he would like to see our leaders stand up and admit it. Evidently, we are also in Iraq to spend money.
When President Bush’s economic advisors said that the Iraq war would cost $200 billion, Secretary Rumsfeld said “baloney”, and the estimate was lowered to $50 - $60 billion. The sad truth is that we have already spent a trillion dollars in direct operating costs such as fuel, ammunition, salaries, etc. Add to the direct costs the interest on the money borrowed to fight the war, the cost to replace all the destroyed equipment, medical and disability expense, lost opportunity costs to society for all the disabled veterans, and you have a total cost of three trillion dollars or more for the Iraq war.
But this all assumes that we have won the war, with a scheduled drawdown of our troops, and have set a definite end date. The end of the Iraq war, however, is illusory. We still have approximately 100,000 troops in Iraq, and the Pentagon plans to keep 50,000 there for who knows how long.
Add to that the 60,000 troops we are committing to control the oil and gas pipelines in Afghanistan, and one wonders how long we can afford war after war.