Just how much does the Iraq war cost? If you go by current accounts it's about $12-billion a month. In reality it's much, much more.
Today's Washington Post reports that the actual costs of the Iraq war are estimated at $720-million dollars a day. The estimates were produced by the anti-war, American Friends Service Committee:
The war is costing $720 million a day or $500,000 a minute, according to the group's analysis of the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes.
The estimates made by the group, which opposes the conflict, include not only the immediate costs of war but also ongoing factors such as long-term health care for veterans, interest on debt and replacement of military hardware.
"The wounded are coming home, and many of them have severe brain and spinal injuries, which will require round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives," said Michael McConnell, Great Lakes regional director of the AFSC, a peace group affiliated with the Quaker church.
The $720 million figure breaks down into $280 million a day from Iraq war supplementary funding bills passed by Congress, plus $440 million daily in incurred, but unpaid, long-term costs.
And just what could America do with that kind of money? According to the AFSC, the money spent on one day of the Iraq war could buy homes for almost 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children, or could outfit 1.27 million homes with renewable electricity.
As for the neo-cons, they don't care:
"Either you think the war in Iraq supports America's national security, or not," said Frederick W. Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "If you think national security won't be harmed by withdrawing from Iraq, of course you would want to see that money spent elsewhere. I myself think that belief, on a certain level, is absurd, so the question of focusing on how much money we are spending there is irrelevant."