Bush’s $1 Trillion war on terror: even costlier than expected
I don’t know why that should come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed this Administration’s handling of the WOT. If anything I think the figure is more than that!! From the very first days after September 11,2001 the Bush Administration has been playing fast and loose with the facts and figures they used to convince the American people of the need to fight this war. From the civilain Pentagon’s wish to keep American forces to a bare minimum, even in the face of senior military officers who told them it wouldn’t work, to the administration of Iraq first with the CPA and its adjuncts to the existing Iraqi government, the public was always given a rosier picture than the Administration knew it could deliver in order to gain the support of the American people.
Shortly before the Iraq war began, White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey earned a rebuke from within the Administration when he said the war could cost as much as $200 billion. “It’s not knowable what a war or conflict like that would cost,” Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld said. “You don’t know if it’s going to last two days or two weeks or two months. It certainly isn’t going to last two years.”
That was Rumsfeld then, but the reality is much more different. Now, it’s finally reaching back to bite us in the rear.
A trio of recent reports – none by the Bush Administration – suggests that sometime early in the Obama presidency, spending on the wars started since 9/11 will pass the trillion-dollar mark. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s four times more than America spent fighting World War I, and more than 10 times the cost of 1991’s Persian Gulf War (90 percent of which was paid for by U.S. allies). The war on terror looks set to surpass the cost the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, to be topped only by World War II‘s price tag of $3.5 trillion.
According to the CSBA study, the Administration has fudged the war’s true costs in two ways: Borrowing money to fund the wars is one way of conducting it on the cheap, at least in the short term. But just as pernicious has been the Administration’s novel way of budgeting for them. Previous wars were funded through the annual appropriations process, with emergency spending – which gets far less congressional scrutiny – only used for the initial stages of a conflict. But the Bush Administration relied on such supplemental appropriations to fund the wars until 2008, seven years after invading Afghanistan and five years after storming Iraq.
This boondoggle coupled with the economic bailout means one’s great grandchildren will be paying for the misadventures of George Bush….and that will be his legacy!