26 October 2007

Iraq and Afghanistan to Cost US $2.4 Trillion

Wow, was I ever wrong! Back in early 2003 when I was with Jane’s Defence Weekly, I estimated that the cost of a war with Iraq would cost $200 billion-$220 billion over five years. At the time the Bush administration was saying it would cost $50 billion in total. I got a lot of grief from some Bush apparatchiks for my estimate. Turns out I low-balled the number by quite a bit. So far Afghanistan and Iraq have cost $604 billion and the non-partisan US Congressional Budget Office estimates that the total cost through 2017 to be $2.4 trillion. So the Bush administration’s initial estimate was off by a factor of 48. That's right, the Bushies' war cost estimate was 2.1% of the real estimated cost.

For that same amount of money we could have put a colony on Mars! Not only would that have had the effect of unifying people with a new frontier, but the spin-off technologies would have probably led to whole new industries and an economic boom.

The downside would have been that Halliburton wouldn’t have gone from being the number 17th largest contractor to the US Department of Defense to the 7th and Cheney’s stock options wouldn’t be worth as much.

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