Cost of the Iraq War

April 25, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 16
Are economic woes a casualty of unexpectedly high costs?
By Peter Katel

Introduction

U.S. soldiers patrol in Radwaniyah, south of Baghdad, on Feb. 25, 2008. Critics link U.S. economic woes to the five-year Iraq War, but President Bush argues it has created jobs at home and represents only a small fraction of overall U.S. spending.  (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
U.S. soldiers patrol in Radwaniyah, south of Baghdad, on Feb. 25, 2008. Critics link U.S. economic woes to the five-year Iraq War, but President Bush argues it has created jobs at home and represents only a small fraction of overall U.S. spending. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The fifth anniversary of the Iraq War hit just as the subprime mortgage crisis and rising unemployment in the United States were turning the economic situation bleak. Against this backdrop, a Nobel laureate economist and a federal budget expert linked the economic downturn to the war and calculated its eventual total financial cost at $3 trillion and possibly even more, plus the tens of thousands of Americans and Iraqis killed or wounded. President George W. Bush dismisses the linkage argument, contending the war creates job opportunities at home and that military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan amounts to only a "modest fraction" of the U.S. economy. But even Republican lawmakers have been asking why taxpayers are funding much of the rebuilding of oil-rich Iraq while it reaps billions in profits thanks to record-high oil prices. For its part, the administration says Iraq is now starting to bear more of the reconstruction costs.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Iraq
Mar. 01, 2013  The Iraq War: 10 Years Later
Apr. 25, 2008  Cost of the Iraq War
Feb. 23, 2007  New Strategy in Iraq
Oct. 21, 2005  War in Iraq
Jul. 25, 2003  Rebuilding Iraq
Oct. 04, 2002  Confronting Iraq
Mar. 15, 1991  Calculating the Cost of the Gulf War
Nov. 16, 1990  Iraq and Beyond: Post-Cold War Military Choices
Aug. 22, 1980  Iraq's New Image
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Defense Budget
Middle East Conflicts
U.S. at War: Iraq
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