Iraq: Counting the Costs

U.S. Military Officers often complain privately that the American people don't fully appreciate the costs—human or economic—of the Iraq war. A new paper by Harvard budget expert Linda Bilmes and Nobel-prizewinning Columbia economist Joseph Stiglitz may help address that. It claims that the final cost to the U.S. could be $2 trillion—10 times as high as the worst-case scenario of $200 billion suggested by a White House official before the war.

The discrepancy is in part because of Bilmes and Stiglitz's holistic accounting methods.

Their tally goes far beyond the traditional budget lines of the Pentagon, which says $173 billion was...

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