[DEBATE] : US wars 'to cost $3.5 trillion'
Riaz K. Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Wed Nov 14 16:49:29 GMT 2007
US wars 'to cost $3.5 trillion'
US Democrats say the high costs of the wars are unacceptable [AFP]
Hidden costs will boost the price of the US' wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan to $3.5 trillion within the next decade, according to a new
About $1.6 trillion will have been spent by the end of next year -
double the $800bn so far requested by the Bush administration, a report
by Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee said on Tuesday.
Treating wounded troops, the extra cost of oil due to a fall in
production in Iraq and interest on foreign loans used to fund the wars
were the additional figures taken into account in the report, entitled
'War at Any Price'.
Chuck Schumer, a Democratic senator, said: "What this report makes
crystal clear is that the cost to our country in lives lost and dollars
spent is tragically unacceptable.
"The backbreaking costs of this war to American families, the federal
budget and the entire economy are beyond measure in many ways."
Kimberly Halkett, Al Jazeera's Washington correspondent, said: "The
report says the wars have so far cost the average American family nearly
"The Democrats say that by 2017 that price will rise, costing a family
more than $46,000."
The report's $3.5 trillion figure is $1.1 trillion higher than a
non-partisan estimate by the congressional budget office last month.
The cost of the conflict in Iraq alone accounts for $1.3 trillion of the
$3.5 figure, according to the report.
"We simply cannot buy victory in Iraq," Harry Reid, the Senate
Democratic majority leader, said.
The White House has rejected the JEC report.
"This committee is known for being partisan and political. They did not
consult or co-operate with the Republicans on the committee," Dana
Perino, White House press secretary, said.
She called the report a "partisan attempt to overshadow positive
developments in Iraq".
Jack Burkman, a Republican strategist, argues the figure released in
Tuesday's report is deceptively high.
He said: "Our military, much more so than others throughout the world,
is outsourced, so if you want to talk money and finance, it's just not
as bad as people think."
The JEC estimate assumes the number of US troops in Iraq will reduce
over time but a large-scale US force will be retained there.
The committee also estimated the cost of repair and refitting military
equipment, the money needed to keep soldiers in the ranks and the costs
to the US domestic economy of deploying US army reserve units.
The house of representatives will vote this week on another effort by
Democrats to set a deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq,
making it a condition for providing another $50bn for the war.
The proposal would require the withdrawal or re-deployment of most
troops in Iraq to begin immediately, with a goal of ending combat
operations within a year.
George Bush, the US president, has repeatedly resisted attempts to force
him to accept timelines for pulling troops out of Iraq.
If Bush vetoes the bill, "then the president won't get his $50bn", Reid
said. Source: Agencies
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