The Three Trillion Dollar War
NEW YORK – With March 20 marking the fifth anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq, it’s time to take stock of what has happened. In our new book The Three Trillion Dollar War , Harvard’s Linda Bilmes and I conservatively estimate the economic cost of the war to the US to be $3 trillion, and the costs to the rest of the world to be another $3 trillion – far higher than the Bush administration’s estimates before the war. The Bush team not only misled the world about the war’s possible costs, but has also sought to obscure the costs as the war has gone on.
This is not surprising. After all, the Bush administration lied about everything else, from Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction to his supposed link with al-Qaeda. Indeed, only after the US-led invasion did Iraq become a breeding ground for terrorists.
The Bush administration said the war would cost $50 billion. The US now spends that amount in Iraq every three months. To put that number in context: for one-sixth of the cost of the war, the US could put its social security system on a sound footing for more than a half-century, without cutting benefits or raising contributions.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one to read two commentaries for free? Log in