FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How Much is the War in Iraq Costing?

by WINSLOW T. WHEELER

The Congressional Research Service has just released a new report on the past and possible future costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pending Congress’ action on the new emergency supplemental, which should complete fiscal year 2006 expenses, the costs will be up to $439 billion by the end of this year. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; details follow. The full report is available at www.cdi.org/smrp.

If Congress approves the $71 billion emergency supplemental to pay for the ongoing cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the new total for the war expenses will be $439 billion, according to a new report released on April 24 by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). For the war in Iraq, $320 billion will have been spent; $89 billion for Afghanistan, and $26 billion will have gone toward enhanced security, including combat air patrols, in and over the United Sates.

The Department of Defense (DOD) estimates its “burn rate” of monthly expenses at $6.4 billion in Iraq and $1.3 billion in Afghanistan. CRS points out that DOD did not include the cost of replacing worn out equipment and upgrades to facilities in theater. Adding those and a few other costs calculates to a monthly “burn rate” of $8.1 billion in Iraq; $1.6 billion in Afghanistan, and a total burn rate of $9.9 billion per month.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has made projections for possible future costs. That agency projects total additional costs of $371 billion for the years 2007 to 2016, making a grand total of $811 billion. (This CBO estimate assumes an almost immediate downturn in annual war costs; however, it is questionable whether we have crossed that peak.)

DOD’s accounting methods continue to be problematic. The $7.1 billion that CRS reported earlier it could “not track” continues to go untracked. It appears that CRS found another $4 billion that it could “not track” .

Furthermore, DOD’s reports on war costs are incomplete and “understate expenses by over $20 billion because DOD’s financial system for tracking war costs has excluded certain types of expenses”.

DOD also refuses to provide any comprehensive estimate for the costs to replace and repair all worn out equipment.

There has been discussion of an “in-house” Army estimate of its “reset” costs at $36 billion; the Marine Corps has estimated $11.7 billion for themselves. However, these estimates do not appear to be comprehensive.

Public estimates of the number of troops deployed for Iraq do not always include those performing support in Kuwait and elsewhere in the region. CRS estimates total troop deployments for Operation Iraqi Freedom in September 2005 to be 260,000.

Average per troop costs for Iraq are between $355,000 and $360,000 per individual, per year; this dollar amount has been increasing since 2003.

WINSLOW T. WHEELER is the author of The Wastrels of Defense.

 

 

 

 

 

Winslow T. Wheeler is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight.  He spent 31 years working for the Government Accountability Office and both Republican and Democratic Senators on national security issues.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail