How much has the Iraq war cost? (by year)

I tried to look this up myself, but all I can find is numbers from anti-war pages. They don’t even come close to agreeing with each other!

Can someone provide a legitimate source that gives at least the total cost to date, and hopefully breaks down the costs by year?

How can you accurately calculate? It all depends on what you want to figure into the calculation. That’s why estimates will vary. Do you want:

Just the cost of arms, logistics and soldiers salaries?

Are you including all costs of maintaining troops in the area for an undetermined time who wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Don’t forget the cost of maintaining bases.

Do you want to include the cost of private contractors?

Are you including infrastructure rebuilding costs?

Will you include eventual veterans benefits, including the care of the injured, rehabilitation and death benefits?

Will you include the economic costs to families of the National Guard that have been called up and lost some of the most productive years of their income earning careers?

Don’t forget diplomatic costs incurred by the State Dept. outside of the Department of Defense.

This is a very fluid equations. Suffice it to say that it is probably at the level of multiple trillions of dollars.

I want whatever costs people mean mean when they complain about how much the war costs. I assume this to exclude future expenses and the personal ones you list in the last two points.

Why exclude them? That’s like asking how much it costs to operate your business while excluding taxes, benefits and pensions. It’s all a cost.

The auto industry, and others, are in deep shit because the underestimated the future costs of expenditures they agreed to. Is the cost of a house with a mortgage the agreed to selling price or the amount that the buyer will actually pay before the have clear ownership? I think the later.

If you know, do you have a figure that would include all of the above plus whatever else was spent of the war. In other words, how much money has been spent on the war in totto as opposed to if we had never gone to war at all.
It’s like a guy in business figures out exactly (or close) the cost for him to “open the door everyday”.

Stiglitz and Bilme’s The Three Trillion Dollar War might have some of the information you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for the direct costs to the US taxpayer for military operations, you’re looking at $752 billion through September 2008. This includes funds for pay of military personnel, operations and maintenance, fixing or replacing broken equipment, ammunition, building bases, and similar DOD-only costs. It does not include reconstruction funds or additional medical care provided by the VA.

The costs are as follows:

2001-2002: $32 billion
2003: $76
2004: $74
2005: $101
2006: $116
2007: $165
2008 (est): $188

From the Congressional Budget Office.

And do you also want to subtract from the expense the benefit of the economic stimulus of spending so much money? Without the injection of that much money into our economy, how much worse off would we be, and how do you calculate that?

In the end, the most you can say is that it was a ridiculous waste of a lot of money(not to mention lives) for a stupid cause. But the notion that, for instance, had we not spent the money there, it would be available somewhere else is not correct either, particularly in the current climate of borrowing in the name of “economic stimulus.”

If you want to go there then you have to establish a cost/benefit ratio to spending the money on a war in a foreign land or spending it on infrastructure in the homeland?

Eisenhower warned against the “military industrial complex”. Maybe the American public, and the Presidents that followed him should have listened. What if the costs of the Vietnam War and the 2nd Iraq war had been invested in the US infrastructure and education? (The 1st Gulf War was largely financed by the Saudis and the Kuwaitis.) Maybe then we wouldn’t need the current economic stimulus.

Thank you. This is within a few billion of what I suspected the pricetag was.