2004 December 16 Thursday
War Funding Cost May Hit $100 Billion In 2005

The burn rate in Iraq looks set to rise substantially.

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration plans to ask for between $80 billion and $100 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, rather than the $70 billion to $75 billion the White House privately told members of Congress before the election, according to Pentagon and White House officials.


In total, $152.6 billion in military funding for Iraq has been provided through the end of this year.

Those statistics do not include emergency money to support the 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan, which brings the total bill to $162.3 billion.

Note that the total to date for Afghanistan is about $10 billion or less than 10%. Given that Afghanistan is a small sideshow the cost for Iraq may be close to $100 billion. In fact, the article quotes John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org saying that the burn rate in Iraq may soon rise to $2 billion a week. At the end of 2005 with $100 billion spent, more lives lost, and more injured and will the insurgency be bigger or smaller than it is now? Can $100 billion kill insurgents faster than new insurgents can join up? We are going to find out.

The article also comments on the Bush Administration's practice of keeping the Iraq war costs out of the regular budget in order to try to reduce the visibility of the war costs. Plus, the article mentions additional costs that will come in order to retool the US military for other duties when the US withdraws from Iraq. There is also the additional cost of medical care for the many injured soldiers who will have lifetime higher costs of medical care and, in some cases, nursing care as a result of injuries suffered in Iraq. I have yet to come across a good estimate of what that cost will total to but I'm guessing it might be in the tens of billions of dollars.

One of the many places the money is going is toward airlift in order to avoid dangerous roads.

Responding to the threat of roadside bombings and ambushes of American ground convoys in Iraq, the Air Force is sharply expanding its airlift of equipment and supplies to bases inside the country to reduce the amount of military cargo hauled over land routes, Air Force officials said on Tuesday.

Dozens of Air Force C-130 and C-17 transports, as well as contracted commercial aircraft, are now ferrying about 450 tons of cargo a day, including spare parts, food, water, medical supplies and other materiel that normally moves by truck or trailers, a 30 percent increase in the past month.

Humvees are being carried from Kuwait to Baghdad in C-130 transports, two to a transport. Think about that. The US military can't even maintain a secure ground supply line up from Kuwait to Baghdad.

Another place the money is going is $4 billion to be spent on better vehicle armor.

Defense officials declined to say how much has already been spent. But they said that in the next six to eight months, they will have spent $4.1 billion to try to make sure that vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan are those already manufactured with full armor or have had armor added to them. The vast majority are in Iraq.

Update: The National Guard says it needs $20 billion dollars.

Worn down by the war in Iraq and security demands in the United States, the National Guard announced yesterday that it needs $20 billion in new weapons and equipment over the next three years to continue to meet all its overseas and homeland commitments.

Without the money to "reset" itself, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, the head of the Guard, warned that the reserve force "will be broken and not ready the next time it's needed, either at home or for war."

Guard units are leaving Iraq without their gear so that incoming Guard units have enough to use. Also, the Guard is now understaffed by 10,000 soldiers as active duty soldiers no longer want to join upon leaving active duty. After all, at this point joining the Guard is so likely to cause one to be called it that it like going on active duty but with worse equipment.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 December 16 01:29 AM  Mideast Iraq Costs

gcochran said at December 17, 2004 1:09 AM:

My favorite argument is that if we didn't blow $100 billion on Iraq, we'd jsut spend on something else useless - i.e. nothing really costs anything. Y'all should be proud of me - I refrained from smacking the silly bitch who said that to me. Wasn't easy.

Lurker said at December 17, 2004 6:44 AM:

We could have used the money to send someone to Mars to plant flags and play golf on the red planet. I think it would have been a better value ).

T. J. Madison said at December 17, 2004 8:59 AM:

Sad to say, I'm afraid the silly bitch had a point. The USG seems to be able to spend money as fast as it can tax and borrow. Of course, this doesn't make this particular $100 billion sinkhole any less stupid.

Invisible Scientist said at December 17, 2004 10:54 AM:

In ancient Greece, the Cynics were a cult of philosophers who used to see the world as it is,
but not necessarily as it should be... But in any case, at least the $500 billion per year defense
budget is mostly spent for the salaries of soldiers, as well as the American defense company fees.
This means that the stocks of the major defense companies are going up, and their dividends are being
increased. In this sense, at least, there is something positive about it.

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