Iraq occupation is costing the United States a whopping $5.54m an hour

May 6, 2008

President George W. Bush last week asked Congress to approve $ 70 billion in funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the U.S. fiscal year 2009, which begins on October 1, 2008. The Iraq war has already cost U.S. taxpayers more than $ 500 billion dollars, and there is still no end in sight to the U.S.’s utterly illegal occupation of Iraq. According to congressional analysts, the eventual total cost of the Iraq war and the occupation could be as high as $ 1.5 trillion – that’s $ 1,500 billion.

This cost does not include the cost of rebuilding Iraq’s shattered infrastructure, which has been destroyed by a massive U.S. bombing campaign and other military action. Once an oil-rich country with the best educational and medical infrastructure in the Middle East, Iraq has now been reduced to little more than an economic basket case. Even Baghdad, the capital, still gets only a few hours of electricity a day.
Thousands of Iraqis continue to die each month as a result of the war and U.S. occupation. According to a survey carried out by Britain’s Opinion Research Business, since the beginning of the war in March 2003 up to the end of September 2007, over 1.2 million Iraqis have died violent deaths as a result of the conflict.
The total number of American soldiers killed is about 4,500 up to the end of last month. That’s a death ratio of one American per 266 Iraqis. It is anybody’s guess as to how many more Iraqis will be killed before the U.S. occupation ends – if ever it does.
The occupation phase of the Iraq war is costing the United States $1,538 a second, or $92,333 a minute, or $5,540,000 an hour. That works out to $133 million a day, or $3.99 billion a month. Let’s round it off at $4 billion a month. This figure was confirmed back in July 2003 in congressional testimony by then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
In a press briefing on April 16, 2003, Department of Defense Comptroller Dov Zakheim said the DoD was estimating the cost of the occupation – the period following the end of major military operations announced by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003 in a speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln – at about $2 billion a month.
But the Congressional Budget Office subsequently suggested a $4 billion a month figure and Rumsfeld’s testimony in July 2003 showed that the DoD has doubled its earlier estimate.
Original DoD estimates put the cost of preparations for the conflict at between $ 10-12 billion to deploy and maintain the force used in the invasion of Iraq, plus about $ 9 billion over the month of actual fighting for the cost of fighting. Zakheim also estimated $ 5-7 billion for returning and reequipping the troops home at the end of the conflict, something that does not appear to be imminent.
That put the down payment for the conflict at between $24-28 billion, after $8 billion in foreign aid to supporters of the war was included. That money was included in the supplemental budget bill passed by the U.S. Congress to fund the war.
“If Donald Rumsfeld were here, I’d ask for his resignation,” one disgruntled soldier said back then on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show. Asked by a reporter what his message would be for Rumsfeld, another said: “I would ask him why we are still here. I don’t have any clue as to why we are still in Iraq.”
That same question can be asked today, five years later. No one in the Bush administration could give a plausible answer to that question in 2003, and no one in the Bush administration can give a plausible answer to that question today, in May 2008.
A U.S. Senate fact-finding mission headed by Republican Senator Richard Lugar that visited Iraq in June 2003 concluded that American forces might have to stay in Iraq for up to five years. Those five years are no up but there is still no sign of when the US troops will leave.
Meanwhile, Quite the occupation of Iraq is costing U.S. taxpayers about $ 4 billion a month.
According to Newsweek magazine, however, this $ 4 billion a month figure is just the beginning. “It doesn’t include the cost of running Iraq’s government and rebuilding it, which could be an additional billion a month, according to rough UN estimates made before the war,” Newsweek noted. “Then there’s the matter of Iraq’s enormous debts…Estimates of the total external debt, including war reparations to Kuwait, run well over $ 100 billion.
How will the reconstruction be funded? For the administration it’s an especially painful question, in part because it comes at a time when the U.S. economy is in the doldrums, when budget deficits are ballooning and when tax cuts are the preferred method of getting business churning again.”
The White House forecast last week that the U.S. budget deficit would be about $455 billion in the current fiscal year. The Bush administration said that the deficit had been exacerbated by a weak U.S. economy, the Iraq war and tax cuts.
But whose fault is the weak U.S. economy, the Iraq war and tax cuts? The answer, of course, is that it is the Bush administration’s own fault.
(Source: The News)