Remember the promises made by the Bush Administration war hawks and neocons, Paul Wolfowitz for example, who stated that the invasion of Iraq was necessary because of the threat of a “mushroom cloud.” We were also told that the war would be quick, followed by celebratory flowers, and not a drain on the US economy.
We learned early on that the war would not be quick, and there would be no flowers in the streets. Later, it became clear that we were lied to, there was no yellow cake, no WMD, and the facts were fixed around the justification for going to war. And now, we know that the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars will be a tremendous drain on the US economy for decades to come and will threaten our future national security.
Linda Bilmes, a prominent Harvard University researcher, recently released a report, “The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets,” which places the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars as high as six trillion dollars.
The report indicates that close to two trillion dollars were in direct costs related to the military campaigns in the two countries, but this is but a fraction of the total war costs. Other huge additional costs include: (1) two trillion dollars for ongoing medical care and disability benefits to war veterans, and (2) several trillion dollars more for paying for the interest on the money borrowed by the Treasury to finance the two wars.
The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are the most expensive wars in US history. Linda Bilmes concludes, “The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.”
Where is the shame…the ignominy of those who fixed the facts around the invasion of Iraq, saddled future generations with a massive war debt, unleashed immeasurable human loss and suffering, and profited from these wars of hubristic iniquity?