War is hell; it's also really, really expensive

Another year, another big increase in war spending.


Tim Grieve
April 20, 2006 5:10PM (UTC)

In November 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assured the American public that a war in Iraq might take "five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that." Three years and a month into that war, the United States has spent well over $200 billion on the enterprise, and both the amount and the rate of spending continue to increase dramatically. As the Washington Post reports today, the United States spent $48 billion on the war in 2003, $59 billion in 2004 and $81 billion in 2005. The expected 2006 bill: $94 billion.

The new problem, the Post says, is that tanks and personnel carriers and helicopters that might have come back bright and shiny from a five-week or five-month war are getting blown up or worn out in Iraq instead. "The equipment is wearing out five times faster than [in] normal operations," Jeremiah Gertler, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells the Post. Those costs might have been anticipated, Gertler said, but the Bush administration and Congress failed to account for them early on in order to lowball the price of war.

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Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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