Saturday, April 29, 2006

Cost of Bush's Wars May Hit $811 Billion

Just the financial cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are staggering as we read in this Knight Ridder story from the San Jose Mercury News:
The impact of the war on the military's preparedness is a growing point of concern. A report issued this week by two policy research groups in Washington, the Center for American Progress and the Lexington Institute, warned that wear and tear from the Iraq war might affect the military's ability to respond to a crisis.

"We found that much of the Army's arsenal of combat systems was old when the war began and is wearing down at such a rate that there are real questions about the nation's future and military preparedness," said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute.

Questions of preparedness will linger even after combat ends in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army is requesting $13.5 billion this year to repair, replace or upgrade equipment lost or damaged in the war. And officials estimate that the Army will need $12 billion to $13 billion a year for these purposes until at least two years after most troops have left Iraq and Afghanistan.

The cost of replacing equipment is one of the factors likely to make Iraq one of the costliest military engagements in U.S. history.

If Congress passes the emergency spending request that's before the Senate, the cost of military operations since the 9-11 terrorist attacks will top $439 billion, with $320 billion of that for the Iraq war alone, according to a report this week by the Congressional Research Service.

Even with a significant reduction in U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next several years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that total war spending could top $811 billion by 2016.

I wonder if the $811 billion includes the rising price of oil? Iraq's poor post-war oil production is considered by many to be a factor in the prices at the pump. Bush Administration officials and their friends in the right wing media promised that the Iraq War would lead to lower prices. After awhile, one runs out of adjectives to describe the Bush era.

And there are reports that Bush is still considering an attack on Iran. Unbelievable.

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