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The Three Trillion Dollar War


Fri, Apr 11th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

A new book, by Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes, a public policy professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, called The Three Trillion Dollar War - the true cost of the Iraq conflict challenges the Bush administration's accounting of the costs of the Iraq War.

On the eve of the war, Larry Lindsey, President Bush's economic adviser, estimated that the cost of carrying out the war in Iraq might cost $200 billion.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called this estimate "baloney" and suggested that the costs would be in the $50 to $60 billion range. Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz further suggested that post-war reconstruction would pay for itself in increased oil revenues.

But Stiglitz and Blimes, who both worked in the Clinton Administration, argue that it is not just the money spent to date that needs to be counted, but the long-term commitments the government has taken on in its involvement in the war. This includes interest payments, future disability payments to veterans, the cost of replacing equipment and munitions to pre-war levels, as well as lost opportunity costs.

The Costs of the War

• Costs of combat operations to date: $526 billion; accumulating at $435 million per day.

• Future costs of disability benefits and health care for Iraq war veterans: $590 billion.

• Costs of interest on money borrowed to pay for the war: $615 billion.

• Costs of replacing equipment and restoring U.S. military to pre-war strength: $280 billion.

• Costs of increased oil prices related to the Iraq war: $274 billion (from $25 per barrel in 2003 to more than $100 per barrel in 2008).

• Estimated costs of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq for a ten year period ending in 2017: $1.2 to $1.7 trillion.

• Cost of lost earning potential of 4000 dead servicemen killed in Iraq: $28 billion.

"The figure we arrive at is more than $3 trillion. Our calculations are based on conservative assumptions," Stiglitz wrote in the Times of London recently.

According to Stiglitz and Blimes, the costs of the Iraq War are projected to be 10 times the cost of the first Gulf War and almost a third more than the cost of the Vietnam War, which lasted twelve years. The only war that has been more costly is World War II, which, adjusted for 2007 dollars, was $5 trillion.

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According to a report by the U.S. Institute for .....
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Looking back five years later

Fri, Mar 28th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Now that we've come to the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War, it's time to look back and see what we have obtained by prematurely abandoning the search for Osama bin Laden to invade Iraq. At least we should see how the predictions of great minds that ..... 
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Water, water, everywhere?

Fri, Mar 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Recent newspaper and television stories have reported scientific concerns with the appearance of medications, both human and animal in our water supplies. These are only a tiny drop in the enormous bucket of the problem. I believe that in the future, ..... 
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And We Prayed

Fri, Mar 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Many of us, of certain age and blessed or handicapped as long time Minnesotans, know religious diversity as Lutheran vs: Catholic. What the Lutherans had in numbers the Catholics battled with fully uniformed nuns and movies starring Bing Crosby. Eve ..... 
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Them that serve

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It must be difficult to be an elected government official. They must be responsive and accountable to various constituencies including themselves. These include the people whom they represent, which also includes people from their state or district ..... 
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Death by a thousand catastrophes

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

One day in the not so distant future, the Discovery Channel will air a documentary detailing the life and death of the Conservative Movement, that all-white tribe of bible-thumping, war-mongering, rich folk, who, for a brief period in American histo ..... 
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My forbidden fruits (and vegetables)

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Rushford, Minn. - If you've stood in line at a farmers' market recently, you know that the local food movement is thriving, to the point that small farmers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.

But consumers who would like to b ..... 
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Speaking out: The Muni is a win for all of us

Fri, Feb 29th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It is a fact that a resolution to rebuild the Rushford Municipal Liquor Store (the Muni) with both on and off sale has been brought up for vote before and after change of council members and passed both times. There remains a small group (mostly bus ..... 
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What happened to the R word?

Fri, Feb 29th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

What happened to the R word? You know, that old fashioned word called Regulation. Government regulation to be specific. With the sub-prime mortgage crisis and it's shady lenders about to put us into a recession for the second time in 20 years, isn't ..... 
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