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October 25th, 2007 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Oct. 25th, 2007

10:43 am - CBO estimates Iraq war to cost $2.4 trillion

Back in 2002, Bush’s chief economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay was fired for publicly suggesting that the Iraq war would cost 1-2% of GNP, or about $100-$200 billion. Rumsfeld and other top administration officials endorsed a cost estimate between $50-$60 billion.

According to today’s Yahoo:

The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion by 2017 (emphasis added) when counting the huge interest costs because combat is being financed with borrowed money, according to a study released on Wednesday.

That’s $8,000 for every man, woman, and child now living in the U.S.

The CBO estimates that ongoing annual costs of continued occupation to be between $25 and $30 billion.

Okay, but are we getting $8000 (and up) worth of “security” out of this war? Maybe it’s worth it.

How would we know? It’s a very difficult question to answer, since the people with the best information have very strong incentives to distort it, to either make themselves look good (if they support the war), or to attack their political opponents (if they don’t).

According to the Iraq War and U.S. Global War on Terror:

“…London’s conservative International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in 2004 that the occupation of Iraq had become “a potent global recruitment pretext” for jihadists and that the invasion “galvanised” al-Qaeda and “perversely inspired insurgent violence” there. The U.S. National Intelligence Council concluded in a January 2005 report that the war in Iraq had become a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists; David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, indicated that the report concluded that the war in Iraq provided terrorists with “a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills… There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries….”

Some among al-Qaeda also seem to think the war is good for recruiting:

A letter thought to be from al-Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman found in Iraq among the rubble where al-Zarqawi was killed and released by the U.S. military in October 2006, indicated that al-Qaeda perceived the war as beneficial to its goals: “The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness … indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest.”

Personally, I think my risks of terrorist attack have gone up, not down. And even if they have gone down, I don’t think that they’ve gone down enough to justify the enormous costs.

More from the Yahoo article:

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Original: craschworks - comments

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