The Cost of the War-And What That Money Could Have Accomplished
November 16, 2006, 1:00am

The Iraq war has cost more in American lives and resources than the Bush Administration originally advertised. I recently read that we have now spent upwards of $340 billion dollars on this failed war, with much of the money going into the hands of private companies that were handpicked by this administration to rebuild Iraq with no bid contracts. Before the war, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsay estimated the cost of the war to be $100 to $200 billion and he was fired. The cost has vastly surpassed that estimation, and the number is still rising. This administration went into Iraq with a complete lack of foresight and realism. Not only did they assure Americans that the Iraqis would welcome Americans with open arms and the war would likely end quickly, but they persuaded much of our country that Iraq’s oil would pay for the war and finance its own reconstruction. None of these notions have turned out to be true.

Instead, the Bush Administration has slashed or completely eliminated more than 150 federal programs in order to fund the Iraq war. According to The National Priorities Project, the $340 billion plus dollars appropriated thus far for the Iraq war could have:

  • Paid for over 45 million children to attend a full year of Head Start
  • Insured over 205 million children for one year
  • Hired over 6 million additional public school teachers for one year
  • Built over 3 million additional housing units
  • Provided over 16 million students four year scholarships at public universities

By continuing to aggressively cut taxes for the wealthy during a wartime economy, Bush has paid for this war entirely by borrowing money. Many have estimated that Iraq will cost nearly a staggering $1.2 trillion dollars before all is said and done. Americans have suffered as the Bush Administration has fallen short in providing quality education, healthcare and housing for the neediest. Thank God the American voters have changed the direction of this country.