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From : patmanusa

Q: an excellent article by upi. just the facts maam. i washington aug. 4 upi -- the cost in human lives of the continuing conflict in iraq occupies headlines on a daily basis. as it rightly should. the hallmark of americas military operations throughout our history has always been a higher concern for the human rather than the dollar cost of war. yet as a nation facing pressing budgetary problems and priorities sooner or later it would be irresponsible not to consider the financial cost of this operation. gen. george washington faced financial hardships every bit as dire as those dished out by the redcoats armed might in the bitter snows of valley forge. economic constraints played every bit as much a role in the defeat of lees army of virginia as did the strategic brilliance of ulysses s. grant. by any reasonable measure the current and expected cost of the occupation of iraq is staggering. just how staggering was hinted at in recent testimony by the secretary of defense and the outgoing military commander gen. tommy franks in a day of testimony before a senate committee. yet even the figures pulled from the lips of the secretary do not reveal the full extent of this drain on the u.s. taxpayer. according to u.s. defense secretary donald rumsfeld the continuing military occupation of iraq is currently costing $4.0 billion per month -- and thats just the military cost not the costs associated with the social economic and political rebuilding of this arab nation. while the general and the secretary may rather cavalierly speculate that this high level of american military involvement might continue for perhaps four years or more the fact of the matter is that a drain on the treasury of this magnitude is neither cavalier nor necessarily wise. the concerns raised by the administrations testimony are magnified when one considers that maintaining hundreds of u.s. civilian workers is costing additional hundreds of million of dollars monthly. concern gives way to great anxiety when it is realized that to arrive at an approximation of the true cost of the iraqi occupation one must also factor in such incidental costs as up to $5 billion for oilfield restoration $10 billion for emergency infrastructure repairs and billions more in direct input to help the iraqi economy. pretty soon as former senator c. everett dirksen r-ill. famously noted youre talking about real money. real money indeed. dirksen who made his famous quip in the 1960s would be apoplectic if confronted with costs of the magnitude of those being presented to the congress today for the occupation of iraq. these figures are even more sobering when considered in the context of $450 billion or more in red ink now being faced by federal budgeters annually. for those who attempt a cheery countenance by pointing to contributions from other allied nations the fact that thus far a total of only $1.7 billion has been raised from nongovernmental and international organizations to help defray the massive cost we are incurring is a slap of cold water. weve fought other wars and the cost of rebuilding in the wake of earlier conflicts is certainly relevant when seeking to put this latest reconstruction effort in perspective. unfortunately when stacked up against other major post-war efforts the cost of pax iraqi fares no better. even if we focus just on the admitted military cost of the iraqi occupation of some $4 billion per month it alone adds up to a yearly cost of nearly $50 billion and if extended over two decades a logical time period as estimated by yale economics professor william nordhaus the bill rises to an incomprehensible $1 trillion. in contrast the berlin airlift a marvel of coordinated reconstruction of a civilian population devastated by wwii and held hostage by a soviet blockade lasted 15 months and cost the u.s. some $345 million close to $3 billion in todays dollars. a real bargain when compared to the situation in iraq. while the marshall plan cost $13.3 billion then akin to $450 billion today it must be kept in mind its scope was far greater than that faced by american planners in baghdad today. the marshall plan took on and succeeded in the rebuilding of the economies of the nations comprising the entire region of western europe. in more recent times the cost weve incurred as a result of our involvement in bosnia is only $12 to $14 billion for the entire past decade. peanuts compared to the cost of iraqi reconstruction. what else could we be getting for our investment of nearly $50 billion per year for the military occupation of iraq oh not much; just the combined 2003 budgets for the departments of justice and state the entire legislative and judicial branch budgets and the budget for the environmental protection agency thrown in for good measure. certainly important national security policy decisions should not be looked at only in terms of the