The cost of the war in Iraq just keeps climbing.

First, a brief bit of history. Cure spooky flashback sequence sound effects:

What would war with Iraq cost? – CNN.com, January 2nd, 2003

WASHINGTON (CNN)—The White House is downplaying published reports of an estimated $50 billion to $60 billion price tag for a war with Iraq, saying it is “impossible” to estimate the cost at this time.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday that such a conflict could cost $50 billion to $60 billion—the price tag of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

But Trent Duffy, an OMB spokesman, said Daniels did not intend to imply in the Times interview that $50 billion to $60 billion was a hard White House estimate.

“He said it could—could—be $60 billion,” Duffy said. “It is impossible to know what any military campaign would ultimately cost. The only cost estimate we know of in this arena is the Persian Gulf War, and that was a $60 billion event.”

Remember those days? Remember when the estimate was only $50 to $60 billion dollars and the White House, worried that people would think that was too expensive, tried to downplay the estimate and then refused to give an estimate of their own because they felt there were too many variables to make an educated guess? Looking back it was a smart move on the White House’s part to refuse to give an estimate on the cost because it turns out that we’re already 40 times over what Mitch Daniels guessed as the cost and it’s growing bigger every day: 

U.S. war costs in Iraq up: report – Yahoo! News

“Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007,” the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday.

War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.

“It keeps going up, up and away,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said of the money spent in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded in 2003.

“We’re seeing the war costs continue to spiral upward. It is the additional troops plus additional costs per troop plus the over-reliance on private contractors, which also explodes the costs,” said Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat who opposed the war.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Congress has written checks for $691 billion to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and such related activities as Iraq reconstruction, the CBO said.

This is Bush’s legacy. This is the mess the next President will inherit. What have we got to show for it? Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. Not a single weapon of mass destruction was ever found in Iraq. The vast majority of people in Iraq are worse off than they were under Saddam.

Good job, Bushie.

6 thoughts on “The cost of the war in Iraq just keeps climbing.

  1. Don’t feel like registering, is The Lancet still publishing articles with extremely large differences between the high and low estimates, then averaging out the two (well, somewhere between 25,000 and 225,000, so let’s just call it 125,000)?

  2. That would be a use a poor statistics, or just not using statistics at all. A basic understanding of statistical theory tells you that’s a big no no. As far as I know the Lancet isn’t doing that, nor have I read anything to that effect. Last I heard they run a credible journal with a good reputation.

  3. That Slate article couldn’t be anymore wrong in their analysis of the Lancet study in question. Here is what Slate said:

    The report’s authors derive this figure by estimating how many Iraqis died in a 14-month period before the U.S. invasion, conducting surveys on how many died in a similar period after the invasion began (more on those surveys later), and subtracting the difference.

    While they are correct in that the Lancet did do some post and present surveying on the deaths, they did not subtract the difference to get their estimate. What they did is survey households to figure out mortality rates. Here is a link to the original Lancet Study (PDF).

    If you look at that PDF you have a “Methods” section and a “Findings” section. In the former we read they are surveying households in Iraq and using that data to calculate mortality rates. In the latter we read that they are estimating from the pre and present numbers. In other words, they came up with their 100,000+ Iraqi number from the cluster survey. They further present us with the data, when comparing the pre and present numbers, their findings are justified as the mortality rates show an increase in months after the war started.

    So Slate and many others ran with this info as “OH MY GOD that’s how they calculated their 100,000 number!” When actually that’s not what the Lancet study did at all. I don’t really fault Slate, few journalists actually have an understand of math and Graduate level statistics, let alone basic statistics.

    The numbers in the Lancet study are about as accurate as you’re gonna get besides doing the impossible and being everywhere at once and seeing everyone of them die.

  4. Hmmm- where are all the conservatives who supported Bush and the war, to explain to us how spending 691 G$ and making such a mess is a good thing?  I’m curious.

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