The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict

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The true cost of the Iraq War is $3 trillion—and counting—rather than the $50 billion projected by the White House.
Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at ...

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The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict

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Overview

The true cost of the Iraq War is $3 trillion—and counting—rather than the $50 billion projected by the White House.
Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times the peacetime rate) but also the cost of caring for thousands of wounded veterans—for the rest of their lives. Shifting to a global focus, the authors investigate the cost in lives and economic damage within Iraq and the region. Finally, with the chilling precision of an actuary, the authors measure what the U.S. taxpayer's money would have produced if instead it had been invested in the further growth of the U.S. economy. Written in language as simple as the details are disturbing, this book will forever change the way we think about the war.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393067019
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/2/2008
  • Pages: 311
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda J. Bilmes, of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, is an expert in government finance. She is a former assistant secretary and chief financial officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize-winning economist and the best-selling author of The Price of Inequality, Freefall, and Globalization and Its Discontents. He is a columnist for the New York Times and Project Syndicate and has written for Vanity Fair, Politico, The Atlantic, and Harper's. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    Useful estimates of the real costs of Bush's wars

    Joseph Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001, and Linda Bilmes, a lecturer at Harvard, have produced an estimate of the real cost of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, 4,000 US troops have been killed, 58,000 wounded, and 100,000 have returned home with serious mental disorders. Stiglitz and Bilmes estimate that the USA¿s total lifetime medical, disability and social security costs for the two wars will be $717 billion through to 2017. They estimate that the war against Iraq will cost the USA a total of $2.65 trillion through to 2017. The war on Afghanistan will cost another $850 billion through to 2017. The total is $3.5 trillion. 'Bush misunderestimated it would be $50 billion, wrong by a factor of seventy.' This works out at $25,000 for every US household. The costs of the two wars to the rest of the world are another $3 trillion, largely because the invasion has driven up oil prices from $25 a barrel to $120. This has cost the world $800 billion so far, and will have cost an estimated $1.6 trillion by 2015. It has cost us in Britain £24 billion so far, and will have cost an estimated £50 billion by 2015. The wars¿ direct military costs to us in Britain so far are £8.7 billion the estimated future costs till 2015 are another £7 billion. Veterans¿ disability and medical costs are £2.3 billion. The social costs of deaths and disabilities are another £2 billion. The total is £20 billion, £800 per household. The First World War cost the USA $577 billion, the war on Korea $295 billion, the war on Vietnam $670 billion and the Gulf War $94 billion. The total cost of these four wars was $1.64 trillion, which is just half the cost of the two current wars.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Essential Reading for Citizenship

    We engaged Iraq in battle at what cost? This is the simple question for which Nobel economist Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University and Linda J. Bilmes of the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government assess. They do this in depth. The enormous financial and human toll of this venture in power comes clear in this accounting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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