$2.4 trillion for Iraq and Afghanistan?

It's "a ton of speculation," the White House says.

Published October 24, 2007 8:46PM (EDT)

In cost estimates presented to the House Budget Committee today, the Congressional Budget Office says the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- together with the interest on the debt that's financing them -- could end up costing Americans $2.4 trillion.

CBO officials were asked this afternoon whether the $2.4 trillion figure represents their "worst-case" scenario. No, they said: It represents only the worst of two different scenarios the CBO priced out. The real costs could actually be higher.

At the White House today -- where they underestimated this year's costs for the wars by more than 30 percent just eight months ago -- Dana Perino said the CBO projections were "just a ton of speculation."

Anyway, she said, money's no object.

"I'm not worried about the number," Perino said."What I'm worried about is making sure that the president gets what he needs in order to provide the safety and security for the country."

By Tim Grieve

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

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