Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

Comments (72)
Gedge wrote:

That’s OK – we just charged it on our GWB Credit Card…..

Mar 14, 2013 11:02am EDT  --  Report as abuse
americanguy wrote:

No the liberals are going to blame GW Bush for this.
No wait, it is his fault.
Never mind.
No, even better, the right wing extremists will blame Obama.
Yea, it is Obama’s fault just like the deficit which came from Bush’s two wars and occupations.

Mar 14, 2013 11:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gregbrew56 wrote:

When Bush’s economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey in 2008 suggested the Iraq war might cost upwards of $200 billion, Bush fired him. For those that are math-challenged, that’s one-tenth of its actual cost to U.S. taxpayers. Remember, all of the oil revenue was going to pay for it.

I’d say it’s pretty clear that BOTH SIDES of the aisle are complicit in creating the economic quagmire in which we find ourselves.

Throw the bums out. ALL of them. All three branches. (Bummer about the SCOTUS being perpetual, though.)

Mar 14, 2013 11:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
UpNorthNate wrote:

You would like to think that the powers that be would learn from this tragic destruction of a society and stupid waste of resources……. but I think we all know that the people making these descisions could care less about the destruciton they bring or the justification needed to bring it, as long as they get theirs in the end. Greed is winning war and the rest of us lose.

Mar 14, 2013 11:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
RSaltyDog wrote:

Waste of men, money, and materials. As a Republican for 35 years I will never forgive GWBush and will never vote for a Bush again. Other than 9/11 attack we should have never gone into war. This war on Terror is just like the War on Drugs, etc. It sucks more from America than aids us. I would like to see a Constitutional amendment that says if America is in any Conflict that after 5 mo and 29days Congress must issue War Bonds.

Mar 14, 2013 11:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kommy wrote:

Stupid war in irrelevant country, just to earn few bucks to Dick Cheney and his friends.

Mar 14, 2013 11:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
spagester wrote:

Shallow people whine, place blame, complain and overlook the fact that the world is rid of a person who was as bad or worse than Hitler. That’s all good and the money spent has been well spent.

Hussein spent years threatening to use weapons of mass destruction and he had a history of using chemical agents on the Kurd’s and Iran. (about 25,000 killed) President Bush called his bluff and the world is a safer place.

Mar 14, 2013 12:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Concernedcitz wrote:

Responsible politicians raise taxes to pay for wars. Inept and irresponsible politicians lower taxes while conducting two simultaneous wars (one war was complety unnecessary). Inept and irresponsible politicans should not gut SS or any other social program espcially anything to do with veterans to pay for their ineptness. Those who prospered (Industrial War complex and Haliburton should be the first to cough up to pay for it).

Mar 14, 2013 12:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ConradU812 wrote:

So? We spend that much in two years on food stamps alone (Department of Agriculture’s annual “Farm Bill”. As for including the veteran benefits, most of those would be inculded during peacetime as well.

I agree that the war in Iraq was unnecessary. However, I don’t see a lot of acedemic studies on the increase of Americans on food stamps and the, now, welfare type unemployment benefits being doled out during the current administration. That’s because the acedemia are welfare recipients as well. After all, how much of their money comes from the government? All of it.

Now let’s see about the additional $5 trillion tacked onto America since 2008, which is a record for ANY president…..

Mar 14, 2013 12:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xcanada2 wrote:

Xcanada2 says:
Re: the Iraq six trillion dollar bill.

It is about time that a bunch of the perpetrators of this war are held legally accountable.

It is hard for me to believe that it was just stupidity and ignorance. It was quite obvious to a lot of people before the war actually started that there was a rush to war, regardless of WMD. WMD was just an excuse. Besides which, who is America to tell people not to have WMD when we hold the biggest stocks of mayhem in the world, and have used them. America has got to stop fooling itself, and stop letting itself be made fools of by our “leaders”. Our behavior is a travesty of rational thinking. The whole country is caught up in a mass hysteria, similarly as in Israel, and the likes of which has not been seen since Germany up to 1945.

Mar 14, 2013 12:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Gazoo wrote:

I wish Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and John Kerry had not voted to go to war in Iraq.

Mar 14, 2013 12:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
boreal wrote:

Wouldn’t it be useful if just say 10% of that $4 Trillion wasted cash would be available to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, heal the sick at home?

Mar 14, 2013 12:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

gregbrew56: What have Democrats done that remotely compares to this wasteful Iraqi boondoggle in recent decades? What did we get for that $2 trillion and the lives of the 4,500 service men and women in that grand deception? Argue what you want about Obama’s spending, but it wasn’t predicated on lies, it was spent on the American people, and we do have a recovering economy to show for it, which is no small matter. We have to get out of this mindset that if the Republicans do it, so do the Democrats, with equal carnage. It’s not always the case.

It’s important to give credit where credit is due and to place blame on those responsible in order to build a better society. I’m certainly not saying the Democrats have all the answers or have never done wrong, but if we want solutions, let’s not throw everything into the same pot. We have to be smarter and more discerning if we want to progress. We have to quit pretending that everything our government does is bad. Why? Because it’s simply not true.

The Iraq War will go down in history as one of the worst chapters in US history, and it was all contrived by the Bush Administration, backed by the Republican majority in Congress, and voted for by a majority of both parties, but not before Republicans were publicly accusing Democrats who questioned the war of being “unpatriotic” and “unAmerican”.

Mar 14, 2013 12:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
brotherkenny4 wrote:

Both the GOP and DFL used WMDs as their excuse, but they really wanted the oil. I suggest a gasoline tax to pay for the wars, since that would put the cost where it really belongs. Pretending like the price of gasoling is $4 is dishonest on everyones part. The real cost is 4$ plus the wars, plus the polution, plus the political corruption.

Mar 14, 2013 12:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Revenga wrote:

My son will help pay for it. Why did we do this war? Probably to fill up the coffers of the fatcats right?

Mar 14, 2013 12:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xcanada2 wrote:

@flashrooster: Re Democrats also voted for Iraq war.

Actually, it would seem much easier for Democrats in Congress to vote against giving Bush a carte blanche for the Iraq war, then the Republican members. At least the Demos should be able to stand up a bit to the usual being branded “being “unpatriotic” and “unAmerican””, since it was also their duty to balance the Republicans and they presumably have some self-powers of discernment as compared to the Republican Congress + President group think.

I was not too surprised by the almost uniform Republican rush to war, but was much more disappointed that the Democrats showed no spine whatsoever (with a few courageous counter-examples). Chuck Hagel, as I understand was a notable Republican exception, and is still being held accountable by his unpatriotic Republicans. It is a measure of most present members of Congress, that they voted for this travesty. They all certainly should be thrown out of office.

Mar 14, 2013 12:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:

82 democrats from the House of Representatives voted for the Iraq War. 29 democrats from the United States Senate voted for the war. Man you lefties is some stupid anymore. Hillary Clinton voted for the war, as did Joe Biden. Seems the top of the democratic crap pile were just as eager for war in Iraq as the republicans were. Oh, now you’re going to say they were deceived by false intelligence, right? Maybe the republicans were just as deceived then?

Mar 14, 2013 1:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

Just use our future Social Security benefits to pay for it.

Heck, that was probably Shrub and Cheney’s plan the whole time anyway.

Mar 14, 2013 1:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MKM23 wrote:

ConradU812 wrote:
So? We spend that much in two years on food stamps alone (Department of Agriculture’s annual “Farm Bill”. As for including the veteran benefits, most of those would be inculded during peacetime as well.

Just where did you get this information from Conrad? Was this a special on Fox news?

Mar 14, 2013 1:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:

Well, looks like a bargin when you consider the entire US debt is 16 TRILLION.

Mar 14, 2013 1:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
FranktheMc wrote:

But I thought expenses for the war were going to be paid by Iraq! That’s what the Bush Administration officials said, and they wouldn’t lie to the public about something this important.

Mar 14, 2013 1:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

xcanada2: When the buildup to the Iraq invasion was taking place I knew the event was going to be whitewashed when it was all through. I knew what was going on. I made it a point to remember. I remember about six months into the war a poll being taken that showed 70% of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. It’s because they were led to believe that by the Bush Administration. I remember Democrats questioning the Bush Administration’s motives and the blowback they were getting from Republicans, who were taking advantage of America’s paranoia over the 9/11 attacks. Democrats are unpatriotic. Democrats are terrorist sympathizers. The attacks were every effective. Many Democrats lost their seats because they weren’t being hawkish enough. What Saxby Chambliss did to a genuine war hero, Max Cleland, was downright shameful. I didn’t forget, and I won’t forget.

Yes, those Democrats who voted in favor of the invasion must take responsibility for their votes. But it’s madcap irresponsible to suggest that the Democrats who reluctantly gave in to the pressure are somehow equal in responsibility to those who created the grand, horrendous scheme and rammed it down our throats. Do you think of someone who steals a loaf of bread as being as bad as a murderer? If a hospital is scamming its patients, overcharging for extra profits, is a nurse who is suspicious about some of the charges but chooses to just go along and keep her job, is she as guilty as the hospital executives who concocted the scheme in the first place, benefiting from the profits? Besides, not all the Democrats voted in favor of it.

Furthermore, the primary culprits who were serving in the Bush Administration at the time are no longer in office. You’d be punishing the soldiers for following the directives of their officers while allowing the officers off the hook. It would much better sense to prosecute those behind the deception, not those who failed to see through it.

Anyway, if we were to just throw them all out, they would just be replaced by more of the same. What we need to do is get rid of lobbying and adopt publicly funded elections.

Mar 14, 2013 1:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AdamSmith wrote:

The military-industrial complex is so utterly profitable that it can afford to control all political decisions.

The 2 trillion dollars went into the pocket of Lockheed’s largest billionaire shareholders, Boeing shareholders, Microsoft billionaire shareholders, Intel shareholders, Martin-Marietta shareholders, and countless thousands of private contracting firms so pervasive in modern commerce.

Young military officers, by the tens of thousands, saw their careers accelerate upwards, something completely impossible in times of peace. They have an overwhelming vested interest in wars beginning and continuing.

And they danced with the contracting companies, whether in software engineering, robotics, ordinance design, or simply laundry or food management.

The 2 trillion dollars went into their checking accounts, week after week, month after month – billionaire shareholders and staff sergeants alike. Big money. Once in a lifetime big money.

The military-industrial complex spans across nations. They hold international conventions and arms tradeshows.

At those international trade shows and conventions, American, Saudi, Chinese, and Israeli officers and corporate reps form lifetime friendships. And immediately they commence to form even newer joint ventures to mine the vast military budgets foisted annually onto the backs of the working classes of all nations.

Globalization has caused this separation of interests:

1. A giant military-industrial complex, with American trained pilots using Chinese manufactured laptops to drop Brazilian-made, Russian-designed phosphorous bombs on Iraqi villages.

2. Civiilian populations of America, China, Brazil, Russia and Iraq, that are left footing the bill.

The military-industrial complex organizes itself well with international conventions, trade shows and venture capital. The citizen workers are completely unorganized, and in the dark.

It is the predator eating the prey.

Mar 14, 2013 1:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xcanada2 wrote:


Yes, “starve the beast” as the Repubs like to say, where the beast is us, the people, the beasts of burden. Certainly this is part of the plan. Hungry people will be more docile, to be more easily put to whatever work the 0.01% wants, whenever and wherever needed, as unconstrained capitalism dictates.

And there were other major advantages to rushing to war:

(1) Create a bonanza for the oil companies,
(2) Achieve Middle East bases for further dominance on the ME, again for oil,
(3) Show the Arabs who is in charge (feeding American hubris, red meat for the people, let the gladiators fight to the death, and cheer them on),
(4) Strengthen the military-industrial-security complex and feed money and power to the Bush-Cheney cohorts/neocons, and
(5) Fall in line with Zionist desires to dominate the ME, hate the recalcitrant Arabs, and get Zionist political contributions (or avoid Zionist damage to your career if a dissenter).

Evidently, moral weaklings run our country.

When you see so many nefarious reasons to go to war with Iraq, its hard to pretend that we didn’t know what was going on.

Mar 14, 2013 1:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

stambo2001: “Man you lefties is some stupid anymore.” Perhaps if you’re going to call someone stupid you should do so without looking stupid yourself.

Yes, the Republicans in Congress were also deceived. But it was the Republican administration that was doing the deceiving. Furthermore, you claim the two parties were equally negligent. That would be true if both parties were threatening each other over who’s not being hawkish enough. We didn’t have that dynamic. Those charges were only coming from the Republicans, directed at the Democrats. Place blame where blame is due. That’s a concept conveniently foreign to Republicans because Republicans are so often the root cause of much of our problems, so they like to spread the blame whenever possible. I realize you hate being confronted with that fact, but it’s true nevertheless.

If the Republican administration never concocted the argument for going to war in the first place, neither party would have voted in favor of going. War would have been avoided and we’d have an additional $2 trillion dollars somewhere in our economy, not to mention 4,500 US soldiers who would still be alive. Also, if the Republicans in Congress had done their jobs and questioned Bush’s motivations, arguments, and the faulty intelligence, then it’s unlikely a majority of Democrats would have gone along. Most Democrats had doubts, but expressed those doubts only at the risk of losing their seats. So the Dems were guilty of giving in to the pressure. It showed a bad lack of backbone and responsibility. The Republicans were, likewise, guilty of giving in to the pressure, showing their lack of backbone and responsibility. But they’re also accomplices in that they immediately jumped on the political bandwagon, failed to question anything the President presented, and used some shamefully ugly tactics to jackboot the Democrats into backing this stupid war. They, too, lied to the American people. And, of course, the Republican Administration is the root cause of it all. There would have been on war had Al Gore won the election instead of Bush. Bush and the Republicans deceived us into a very costly and disgraceful war. You can spin it anyway you choose, but that’s all true. And, yes, Bush and the Republicans were able to trick and pressure a majority of Democrats into voting to allow Bush to invade Iraq and squander 4,500 lives and $2 trillion.

Mar 14, 2013 1:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
go2goal wrote:

We all know this is Obama’s fault…he’s the one that got us into two unbelievably stupid and dumb wars and gave 2 rounds of totally unfunded tax cuts for those who don’t serve (the rich) at the same.

If Bush was a Roman Emperor, there would have been an empire. The worst Governor and worst President in history! What a piece of you know what.

Mar 14, 2013 2:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Yowser wrote:

They forgot the famous warning given by President Dwight Eisenhower at the end of his presidency: Beware the military-industrial complex. They never heard of the observation of the great philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, published in 1651: There is no honour Military but by warre.

Mar 14, 2013 2:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:

Look at history.
Most of the wars the US has been involved in were started by the left or liberal party, were presided over by the left, escalated by the left etc.
Truman got America in the Vietnam War
John Kennedy sent money and advisors to South Vietnam
Lyndon Johnson sent more American troops into Vietnam
Woodrow Wilson got America invloved in World War 1
Franklin Roosevelt got America involved in World War 2
Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs
No, the right are not ‘doves’ and have much to answer for but please get your history right.

Mar 14, 2013 2:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:

This is all deceitful deflection away from what is happening HERE AND NOW! And what is happening HERE AND NOW is obama has driven up the deficit and national debt faster and deeper than any president EVER with no end in sight. And by the way libs according to your king there is no debit/deficit problem anyway so why are you fixing blame at all. Also your king owns over 4 years (ALL of his presidency) of one costing us a lot more all be told, could have and still won’t end it. Idiotic hypocrites.

Mar 14, 2013 2:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xcanada2 wrote:


Yes, I agree with much of what you have said. I just find it difficult to believe that our Democratic congress is made up of such stupid dupes, that they really believed BushCo. It appears that BushCo were the perpetrators of the Iraq war, but how long before Bush-Jr was this plan going on? Under Clinton? Moreover, what happened to the concept of the “loyal opposition”, loyal to the people?

It is those congress members, Democrats and Republicans who supported the Iraq war, such a colossal mistake, who should all be thrown out of office. Hopefully, then, new members of Congress would remember that damaging the American people has some costs. Simply make a list of all who voted for the Iraq war powers, publish is widely until the worker voters of America can’t avoid seeing the list, and hopefully they will choose somebody else.

We could also look in to sedition charges against the primary actors who carried out this Iraq war plan, individuals who used our country for their own nefarious purposes and against the interests of the country.

Yes, I well-remember the build up to the Iraq war, I was truly shocked that the US government was not bluffing, I not being able to believe they could commit such a stupid, shameful act. Getting rid of lobbying and instituting publicly funded elections would help, but perhaps the key is to have an informed public. At the moment, they seem to be easily under the control of Madison Avenue, the advertisers, mainstream media, and Hollywood, and base calls to our exceptionalism. I’m afraid the public will have to get mad, before they get smart. In the meantime, our security state is pushing the bar much higher.

The New York Times is another culprit in the build up to the Iraq war. They had special powers and responsibilities, as the so-called “national newspaper of record”. Instead, it seems they use their stored up credibility to push the country in Zionist/military-industrial directions at critical moments in history. They appear very dangerous, because of the trust that is placed in them.

@AdamSmith: Excellent!
Of course, once the predators have done eating their prey, they also collapse. I am hoping against hope that we people are sufficiently intelligent to avoid this ultimate fate.

Mar 14, 2013 2:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PaulBogdanich wrote:

“Supporters of the war argued that intelligence available at the time concluded Iraq held the banned weapons and noted that even some countries that opposed the invasion agreed with the assessment.”

This is an oft repeated lie and the way propaganda works. If you want to keep your job as a journalist certain things can’t be mentioned. One is the details of the Pentagon Papers and another is the Downing Street Memos which show that the Iraq war intelligence was being crafted to suit the policy and everyone knew that Iraq did not have any material WMD capability at the time.

Mar 14, 2013 2:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

yeah, tell me again how it’s the folks on social security and ssi/disability causing the U.S, financial problems…if the occupation of Iraq cost us this much imagine what the total tab will be when all the bills are tabulated for Afghanistan…

Mar 14, 2013 3:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

Donald Rumsfeld said, in effect, that the war would pay for itself: “The bulk of the funds for Iraq’s reconstruction will come from Iraqis – from oil revenues, recovered assets, international trade, direct foreign investment….”

Thank you Dubya and your team.

Mar 14, 2013 4:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Mott wrote:

Both Bush era wars and Reagan era pro-corporate trade/tax de-regulations for over two decades, will be remembered perhaps, as the most moronic and corrupt actions that emptied competitiveness on multiple fronts and left the nation addicted to living on perpetual debt.

The current pace of self-correction needs to persist for a couple of decades to restore the prosperity for the next generation.

Mar 14, 2013 4:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
USAPragmatist wrote:

@ConradU812, Thank you again for being a glaring example of what is wrong with the factually challenged right. to quote you ‘So? We spend that much in two years on food stamps alone (Department of Agriculture’s annual “Farm Bill”. As for including the veteran benefits, most of those would be inculded during peacetime as well.’, Well here is the facts directly from the USDA’s website ….

Total Costs (In millions):
2011: 75,717.39
2012: 78,422.77

Add these two together and you get roughly 150 Billion. So still less then 1/10 of 2 Trillion. So basically you are off exponentially with your claim.

Mar 14, 2013 4:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MrScott wrote:

OK, so the wars cost 4 Trillion. The current debt is 16 Trillion. That leaves 12, so where was this money spent? Very few politicians have been working on getting this debt paid down. And while I’m at it the current president does not seem willing to curtail his spending but also to raise taxes and that is not going to help the fragile economy.

Mar 14, 2013 4:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
USAPragmatist wrote:

And factor in the over 4000 American lives that will never come back for this needless war, very sad. And even sadder about 47-48% of the country wanted to elect a guy, Romney, who had the same neo-con advisers as the guy that caused this mess.

Mar 14, 2013 4:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

xcanada2: And I, too, am in agreement with you. I just think the distinction between the Republicans’ culpability in the Iraq War and the Democrats’ culpability is an important one. I just see too much false equivalency being thrown around out of political expedience, though I don’t think that was the case with you after reading your other posts. I just often see people on the right switch from trying to defend the indefensible Iraq War to the false equivalency of all the politicians (i.e., both parties) were equally at fault. That’s simply not true, and as I stated, the distinction is important. I wish more Democrats had stood their ground, but unfortunately the political climate at the time, on the heels of 9/11, would only have resulted in more Republicans running our country, and we’d still have gone into Iraq. I’d have admired their principle, but lamented the result, not unlike Ralph Nader’s run for the Presidency in 2000. I felt that once he saw that he hadn’t a chance, he should have thrown his support behind Al Gore. Was it worth it for Nader to stick it out to the election’s conclusion? I don’t think so. Too many deaths and too much harm to our country.

cbj: Before going there, you might want to reread my first post a little more carefully. I choose my words carefully: “What have Democrats done that remotely compares to this wasteful Iraqi boondoggle IN RECENT DECADES? Furthermore, I personally believe there’s such thing as a just war, as with WWII, but that’s beside the point. I’m talking about today’s political parties. What they were doing a century ago has no bearing on how they use national defense for political expedience today.

Not only are today’s Republicans much more hawkish than the Democrats, but they use the issue in a way that poisons the minds of the American public so that large numbers of us are led to believe that if we’re not ready and willing to go to war at the drop of the hat, then that can only mean we’re weak on national security and are somehow less American. The result? Idiotic boondoggles like the invasion of Iraq are undertaken with little resistance, because any politician who stands in sane opposition is punished politically.

It also hurts our nation when it comes to budgeting decisions. We spend too much on national defense. But any politician, especially a President, who cuts defense spending is attacked for being weak on national defense. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal if it wasn’t effective, but it is. The GOP has gotten a lot of traction using that. I clearly remember a lot of people on the right charging Clinton with decimating our military simply for reducing the rate of growth on defense spending. Manipulation of the public is really hurting this country. I just wish we weren’t so easily manipulated.

Mar 14, 2013 4:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
poggy wrote:

Who cares about wasting $trillions on a needless war and killing thousands of innocent people? We still don’t know why the talking points for Benghazi were changed.

Mar 14, 2013 4:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:

Look, do you people read anything beside the blogs that support your party agenda?

Federal Spending Fiscal Year 2012
CBO Historical tables
Social Security 22%
Medicare/Medicaid 23%
Discreitonary 17%
Other Manditory 13%
Interest 6%
ENTIRE Defense budget (not just the war)19%

You can argue whether or not you want to spend the money for the various programs but you CANNOT make 19% greater than 45%

The fact is that if the money that was spent on Denense was diverted it would still not solve any budget issues. The government would simply find other programs to spend it on.
We do not need to increase taxes . . . we need to increase PRODUCTION of goods and services to sell to the rest of the world.
Those countries that have made economic strides did not do so because of welfare entitlements but did so (and continue to do so)because they increased production of goods and or services. They built call centers (as annoying as they are . . . it does make them money) they made factories (Indonesia, Singapore even Vietnam did so).

Remember that 2 trillion is over 10 plus years. Hint-the government spends over 2 trillion each year and Defense is only a part of that and not the largest part at that. The Defense budget also includes Veterans programs, Homeland security, portions of the Energy Department, FBI counter terrorism etc.
(Incidently Nixon and Ford, both Republicans cut defense spending by 37%. Eisenhower, also a Republican cut Defense by 28% and Bush Sr. cut it by 14%, so all of you who want to moan about profligate Republican denense spending need to study a bit more)

To keep harping on the cost of Defense as being the reason for the debt is more than disingenuous . . . it’s stupid.

Mar 14, 2013 4:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kehenalife wrote:

next time our STUPID politicians want to play world cop send THEM instead of the armed forces.

Mar 14, 2013 4:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kehenalife wrote:

2 trillion for a TOTAL FAILURE! TAKE IT OUT OF CONGRESSES PAYCHECK!whO hired these complete incompetents? OH HELL, WE DID!

Mar 14, 2013 5:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vuenbelvue wrote:

Is the US State Department still servicing the $1 plus billion dollar Connie Rice Embassy in Baghdad? Some commenter called me Sh&t for brains this morning for not being positive on a US invasion of North Korea. I said my father fought in Korea in the early 1950′s, I fought in Vietnam in 1969 and we need to let the Asian’s fight their own wars.
That means Afghanistan’s cost will be $2 trillion too.

Mar 14, 2013 5:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
majkmushrm wrote:

Bucci is an idiot. Al-Qaeda didn’t even exist in Iraq before we attacked. Close to zero good came out of our attack. Furthermore, idiots like Bucci were warned that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as cheap or easy as they thought – before the attack. The reality is that they didn’t want to listen, just attack. Now we’re all going to pay the price.

Mar 14, 2013 5:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sjfella wrote:

This is why nothing will ever change for the better in this country. The politicians have you fighting with each other while they ram whatever they want down your throats. And you can bet the farm the overwhelming majority will continue being re-elected every election. Pitiful what this once-great country has become.

Mar 14, 2013 6:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
amsterdamaged wrote:

@ConradU812 Nice straw man you have there.

Mar 14, 2013 6:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
KyuuAL wrote:

Two trillion dollars for what? Nothing!

Mar 14, 2013 6:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Lowell_Thinks wrote:

Why don’t we make them pay it all back plus interest? We can appropriate a few oil fields until paid in full.

Mar 14, 2013 6:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Lowell_Thinks wrote:

@American guy.

Please provide your provenance that the deficit was caused by Bush’s two wars and occupations. Or is that just another leftist 101 unsubstantiated barb?

Mar 14, 2013 6:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

“Weeks, not months.” -Dick Cheney, 2003

Mar 14, 2013 6:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

cbj: Take SS off the table. That’s currently paid for. Our two biggest expenses are defense and healthcare. Republicans not only are unwilling to cut defense spending, but want to increase it. And we spend more on defense than the next 10 countries combined. Also, Republicans are unwilling to do anything to lower the cost of doing healthcare in the US, leaving lawmakers with the choice of either just cutting people’s healthcare altogether–which then people simply go to emergency rooms when they have health issues, costing everyone that much more in healthcare costs–or doing nothing, continuing to cost Americans increasingly more in healthcare costs. Neither way solves the problem.

These are the 2 biggest budgetary problems we have and yet the Republicans not only fail to offer any solutions, but will fight tooth and nail to prevent Democrats from doing anything about it. Yet Republicans like to pretend that they’re the party of fiscal responsibility. It’s gotten absurd, and unless we do something to override Republican obstructionism on these issues, we will go broke. Are you aware that Republicans included a rider on Bush’s Medicare Prescription Drug legislation that forbids Medicare officials from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug costs? In other words, they put it into law that we must pay higher drug prices than anyone else. They’re supposed to be saving us money, not legislating a guaranteed financial hole for tax payers to waste money and a guaranteed bonanza for drug companies.

Mar 14, 2013 6:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
suzeranda wrote:

Wisdom is the most expensive thing in the world. I hope we learned our lesson.

Mar 14, 2013 7:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
suzeranda wrote:

Wisdom is the most expensive thing in the world. The question is whether we have learned our lesson.

Mar 14, 2013 7:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Anklejive wrote:

Can we file war crimes charges against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith now???

Mar 14, 2013 7:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ToshiroMifune wrote:

If you think Operation Fool Me Once was a great success you’re going to love Operation Fool Me Twice later this year or next.

Mar 14, 2013 7:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xcanada2 wrote:


Yes, fixing health care costs in the US could provide substantially more funds to offset the budget deficit than even defense costs. I refer to total money spend by Americans on health care, not just the Medicare/Medicaid part.

Given the well accepted fact that we spend twice the amount per capita for health as other advanced countries, then how much savings is possible?

Answer: 1.3 trillion per year (13 trillion over 10 years), enough to readily solve the deficit problem and make substantial headway towards reducing the national debt.

This number is simply one half of the total annual medical costs, $2.6T in 2010, (over 10x the $256B in 1980)

Even the Council of Foreign Relations comes up with at $2T per year figure:

And still at $2.6T/year, the 50 million uninsured probably get pretty poor service:

It also concerns me that Americans may be more sickly that other nations, due to abuses in the food industry such as pesticides, sugar, and so on.

Fixing health care plus reducing military-security apparatus could give us hundreds of billions per year to improve our infrastructure, and our education, and give us a more competitive chance in the world. Probably our security would greatly increase, as we would not be so strongly provoking people of the world to hate us.

Mar 14, 2013 8:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BrightPenny wrote:

Thank you George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Here in Oklahoma, Bush is still invited and paid to speak!

Mar 14, 2013 8:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Canela wrote:

Yep let’s face it, Bush never sent a decent budget for the war to Congress and we borrowed trillions. Now we know. $2 Trillion of our debt is sitting in the desert of Iraq. And the shia in Iraq are supporting Assad and the Iranian mullahs. Bush was so smart.

Mar 14, 2013 8:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
burrito wrote:

before iraq war, attack against americans civilians happens daily after the iraq war how often attack against americans civilians….if it costs $2 trillion dollars to stop TERRORIST attacking american civilian overseas then every penny is worth it

Mar 14, 2013 8:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xcanada2 wrote:

@burrito: Care to give references for this claim?

Mar 14, 2013 9:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
lawbider wrote:

I suspect that all the funds indirectly attributed to the Iraq war are not included in those figures. When will our politicians learn that Social Security and Medicare are not the problem!!!!!

Mar 14, 2013 9:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Daviel wrote:

Well, George W. did avenge the assassination attempt on his dad.

Mar 14, 2013 9:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

It will take 16 years to recover from 8 years of W. And that may be optimistic. An epic debacle.

Mar 14, 2013 10:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

So over ten years, a war that liberated millions cost about twice as much as Obama’s ‘Stimulus’ package – which did nothing – cost in one.

Get some perspective.

Mar 14, 2013 11:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Statistician wrote:

History has more subtlety than simplistic lists, such as @cbj gave above, about who got us into various wars. The sad fact appears to be that it isn’t an easy call that GWB ALONE got us into this war. The Congress gave power (perhaps, badly drafted) to the Admin and they used it.

At the time, it seemed like most Americans I knew were enthusiastic about taking this action. I argued with co-workers who used examples such as, “when you see a perp on the street, you don’t wait for them to act before you take them down” or similar silly views. Even now, one poster compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler…to me, that is quite a stretch: the global scale, the military power, etc. were vastly different. I attended a dinner the night of the Colin Powell UN speech…everyone was sold. (I spent a lot of time keeping silent in those months.) We forget how voters punished the politicians who did vote against the war at that time. (Think of Saxby Chambkliss’ campaign ad merging Max Cleland’s face with Saddam Hussein) Once it started, “shock and awe” became a catchphrase.

In sum, Americans may have been lied to (and the GWB Admin deserves opprobrium for doing this), but they had no interest in a healthy skepticism that might have slowed or prevented this mistake. We bought the whole “patriotic” scam. We were promised cheap and easy victory…a sure sucker’s sell. We took it. How many here were all for the war in 2003? Our selective memories will save us from our conscience and we will rewrite history to salve our own egos.

Or, as JFK said when he took responsibility for the Bay of Pigs, “Success has a hunderd fathers, failure is an orphan.”

Mar 15, 2013 9:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
PHP87 wrote:

As Obama bumbles thru his 5th year in office spending money like a drunken sailor in a bordello, the media goes back 10 years and blames GWB for Obama’s outrageous spending, his inability to create jobs, grow the GDP, lower insanely high gas prices and his Trillion dollar deficits.

GWB was 1000x better than that glorified community organizer will ever be.

Obama, along with his fat-ass wife are nothing but a pair of Kardashians thinking they are in a reality show and they get to spend as much money as they want for doing nothing other than running our country into the ground.

Yeah, things were so terrible under GWB – 5% Unemployment, 48+ months of 2.5% GDP growth or higher, $2.00 a gallon gas, annual deficits of 250 Billion.

Under Obama, we have had 8% unemployment for 4+ years, 48+ months of flat GDP, $4.00 a gallon gas and annual deficits of 1.x Trillion dollars with nothing to show for it except Obama making excuses and the media fawning over him and his fat ass wife.

Things were far better under GWB, but the media wanted a “hip, cool brother” in the WH.

Well, be careful what you wish for, as our country is circling the drain while Obama golfs, much like when Nero fiddled as Rome burned.

And 4 years from now when the US economy is in a full Depression and there are food riots and crime skyrockets in “progressive” cities, the media will still blame Bush and give Obama a free pass.

They will probably call for a repeal of the 22nd Amendment so we can have the Great Pretender as POTUS for life.

Mar 15, 2013 2:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:

Several point and I don’t even know where to start.
How can you take SS off the table? If it’s already paid for why do they keep collecting the SSI tax? The funds MUST be accounted for even if they are stuffed in a mattress?
As to your ‘Republicans are unwilling to cut defense spending’? How can this be when it has been in the news (WSJ, NYTimes, Fiscal Times etc) to the contrary? Not only that but wasn’t Mr. Obama, the leader of the Democratic party, on record stating how horrible to defense workers the sequester would be?
All you have is spin and it won’t wash.
My point is and was not whether or not the US was lied to, whether or not the war was just or even who started it and why but simply that the 2 trillion dollars that the war cost OVER 10 plus years is less significant than what the entire Federal government spends in a year.
Entitlement spending as a whole is over half of the entire spending (save the histrionics and subterfuge-I clearly state spending not collecting).
That is all I’ve pointed out and you seem to have a hard time with the facts.
The largest budgetary problem is the inability for people to understand the exponential function. That is to say that roughly an annual 7% growth equates to a doubling every ten years.
The fact remains that the population demographics is shifting towards the aged. This segment costs more and contributes less (this has nothing to do with their value as people, it’s just a fact). The birth rate per couple is in decline (for a stable population you need 2.1 births per couple-we have 1.9). This means that more people are entering retirement than are growing up, taking jobs and paying into the system. It’s simple math and it’s true regardless of why we fought the war or who started it.
Now, we have science and doctors who seem intent on extending life (not that they shouldn’t but a consequence of that is finding a way to support them at the end of life) so the retirement age keeps getting pushed further out. All well and good for the ‘white colllar’ jobs but really? A seventy year old roofer? Do we really need that?
The bottom line is that there is a cost to these things that no amount of health care reform can solve. (Hint-Europe has been cutting into entitlement spending for years as their population demographics have been shifting earlier than the US and has been trying to cut/reduce entitlement spending since before the millenium).
I stand by my point that defense spending is less than entitlement spending and that entitlement spending will only increase but will not be able to keep up with the demographics regardless of any new ‘peace dividend’.

Mar 15, 2013 3:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Decatur wrote:

Responding to several false claims made in comments:

“Obama is driving up the defict, spending freely, etc.”
NO, the annual deficit has decreased three years in a row. Yes it’s still a deficit. It is SMALLER each year.

“The GOP, Tea Party, many posters here care about the deficit/debt”. Seems false to me, since (Revenue – Spending) = (Surplus/deficit), if you are passionate about eliminating deficit then quit cutting revenue. Cutting taxes when rates are historically low is lopsided stand on principal or appeal to greed.

Taxes are less than half what they were 60 years ago. The “entitled” class today are not the 47% paying sales, gas, income, social security taxes and all kinds of fees, the “entitled” class are truly the top few percent or fraction of one percent who’ve seen their taxes slashed and lobby for even more tax cuts. If they ever read Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” they must have forgotten the parts about the importance of giving for the common good and only remember the parts about accumulating.

You want to cut the deficit? Dial the tax rate knob from today’s setting of “4″ back to “5 or 6″; under Truman/Eisenhower/Kennedy the USA tax rate knob was on a Scandianavia-like “10″ or even “11″ on a scale of 1-10, that was back when we had consistently smaller deficits or balanced budgets, and we used specific tax increases and war bonds to pay for wars.

Keep in mind that not only were the Iraq/Afghanistan wars 1) not funded by new taxes for the new costs, most of which were not in the budget (I’ll concede that some, not all, of the VA costs would have been in budget regardless of Iraq/Afghanistan) they were 2) accompanied by tax cuts! The new debt from the wars isn’t just the war cost, it’s also the multi-hundred-billion annual tax cut deficit piling up year after year.

The 2004 tax cuts added a structural deficit above and beyond the war cost, they, along with uncompetitive Medicare D driving up spending, add an increment of annual deficit that helps push debt up every year on top of the war costs…

Mar 15, 2013 6:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
westonal wrote:

“If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in,” Bucci said.

Well they are not to smart because I sure knew it was dumb. You are not going to just attack any Country that has not attacked you and have it be quick and not cost a lot of lives and pain.

Mar 15, 2013 7:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:

Be that as it may, defense spending was still 19% of the 2012 budget. The two trillion that the war cost is a ten year cost so in reality we are looking at 19% of 10% of two trillion.
In all fairness should this not be set against ten years worth of entitlement spending to have a clearer understanding?
Again, I am not arguing about the morality of the war or how or why we got into it anymore than I am arguing about the immorality of the redistribution of wealth via the entitlement system. That is a whole other subject.
As to going to war based on the cost or the chances of success? That sounds a bit too pragmatic. One should go to war in spite of the chance of success and regardless of cost. One should go to war because the alternative is impossible to live with.
What were the chances of success for the colonies and what did it cost?
Again, not stating that the Iraq/Afghanistan war was moral or just or anything remotely necessary. Just stating that to only go to war when it has a low cost or are guaranteed quick success removes any moral obligation. One goes to war not because it is easy or quick or cheap but because one must.

Mar 18, 2013 10:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
dfcain44 wrote:

Directed at Spagestar: I am so tired of reading opinions such as yours calling anybody who was against the war as being “shallow”. You also claim that Saddam was worse than Hitler? What kind of foolish remark is that? Saddam was a brutal dictator for sure but to say he was worse than Hitler? You need to study your history a lot closer instead of just unthinkingly repeating the neocons’ party line that the war was good. No, it was not good. Hundreds of thousands were killed, thousands were maimed, over a million people displaced, trillions of dollars lost, and over what? Non-existant WMDs, that’s what. What we really need is for those who lied us into this ungodly war is for them to appear before The Hague as international war criminals like we did with Hitler’s henchmen. That would be justice and just might bring back a sense of decency to how the international community views us; that the US is not just a hypocritical, bullying superpower.

Mar 18, 2013 3:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:

You do realize that
1. WMD includes Chemical weapons, right?
2. Saddam used Chemical weapons on the Kurds as well as on Iran, right?
3. Saddam (for reasons he took to his grave) was intent on claiming to have stockpiles of such weapons as well as maintaining a fiction of nuclear materials, right?
4. You do also realize that the UN inspectors were only able to visit sites that Saddam allowed and that there was no such thing as a surprize inspection, right?

Just google “Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel: Clinton Would Have Gone Into Iraq, Too”

The fact is that Saddam did his best to convince the world he had such arms and the world was more than willing to believe such.
Now, all of that aside, here are some other facts.
Total US dead in Afghanistan and Iraq (since 2001) 6,650 Dead
The Battle for Iwo Jima (39 days) 6,821 Dead
Current cost of Traq war $2,000,000,000,000.00
US cost of WWII $4,401,000,000,000.00 in todays dollars.

Again, not stating that I support the war (or not), that the war was just (or not) or that we should have fought the war at all (or not).
Just pointing out the facts.

Mar 19, 2013 1:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.