|Iraq War Costs May Top Vietnam
The Capital Times (Madison, WI); 7/27/2005
Byline: Dave Zweifel
"Osama bin Laden doesn't have to win; he will just bleed us to death."
That was the prediction last week of Michael Scheuer, a former counterterrorism official
at the CIA who was in charge of the pursuit of bin Laden before retiring last year.
Scheuer's remarks were made to a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle
who last week added up what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost
the American taxpayers so far.
The total now stands at $314 billion and if things continue, costs will amount
to another $450 billion over the next 10 years. That would make what the Bush
administration calls the "war on terror" the most expensive U.S. military effort in
the last 60 years, according to the Chronicle's report.
In today's dollars, the Korean War cost about $430 billion while Vietnam cost the
United States $600 billion. The cost of Iraq will probably hit $700 billion.
But that's only part of the story. Already the Department of Defense is making noises
about needing more money for pay and incentives just to keep the military strength
where it needs to be.
If the White House doesn't increase military spending, James Jay Carafano of the Heritage
Foundation told the Chronicle, the United States could end up with both a looming disaster
in Iraq and a weaker military.
That's the mess this administration has got us in.
Few would dispute that we did the right thing going after bin Laden and his gang of terrorists
in Afghanistan following the devastating attack on the World Trade Center towers.
But, instead of keeping our eye on the ball to hunt down bin Laden, George Bush's gang
in the White House and the Pentagon decided we needed to go after Saddam Hussein.
Nothing was going to stop them, even if they had to lie about it.
So here we are. We're pumping endless amounts of money into what is looking more and more
like a bottomless pit. We don't have money to help states take care of poor folks on Medicaid,
we have no money to solve our Social Security problem, we fund only about a third of the
money we promised school districts to take care of special education kids, yet we're going
deeper and deeper in debt to fight yet another ill-advised war.
* It makes you feel sorry for our kids, who one day will have to clean up this mess.
Dave Zweifel is editor of The Capital Times.