US War Costs Rise to 3.5 Trillion, new report says

Sunday, November 18, 2007

  • Image by Johan Charles Van Boers/U.S. Department of Defense

    Image by Johan Charles Van Boers/U.S. Department of Defense

The price tag for the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will rise to $3.5 trillion dollars within the decade, according to a report released last week by Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee. About $1.6 trillion of that will be spent by the end of next year, twice the amount requested by the Bush administration so far.

Hidden costs such as the treatment of wounded soldiers, interest payments on foreign loans, and the higher price of oil due to production losses in Iraq bring the cost of war far above the original estimates, the report said.

White House press secretary Dana Perino rejected the report, calling it a “partisan attempt to overshadow positive developments in Iraq.”

On Saturday, the Senate voted against a bill demanding that the authorization of $50 billion of the $196 billion requested by US President Bush for the war in Iraq be tied directly to a commitment to withdraw most combat troops by December 15, 2008. Though approved by the House of Representatives, the bill needed 60 votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster. It fell short by seven.

Since they may not be able to block the funding, Democrats will likely delay the approval of the $50 billion until next year, forcing the Pentagon to dip into its operating budget in the meantime.

US defense secretary Robert Gates cautioned last week that without the $50 billion, there would not be enough money to fund the war beyond February 2008.

- www.bbc.co.uk, www.english.aljazeera.net

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