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$3 Trillion to Topple Saddam

Posted on January 8, 2015

The costs of the 2003-2010 Iraq War are often contested, as academics and critics have unearthed many hidden costs not represented in official estimates.

The most recent major report on these costs come from Brown University in the form of the Costs of War, which totaled just over $1.1 trillion. The Department of Defense’s direct spending on Iraq totaled at least $757.8 billion.

Those figures are dramatically higher than typical estimates published just prior to the start of the Iraq War, many of which were based on a shorter term of involvement. For example, in a March 16, 2003 Meet the Press interview of Vice President Dick Cheney, held less than a week before the Iraq War began, host Tim Russert reported that “every analysis said this war itself would cost about $80 billion, recovery of Baghdad, perhaps of Iraq, about $10 billion per year. We should expect as American citizens that this would cost at least $100 billion for a two-year involvement.”

Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and Linda Bilmes of Harvard University, have stated the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be three trillion dollars in a moderate scenario, described in their book The Three Trillion Dollar War and possibly more in the most recent published study, published in March 2008.

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