So what exactly is the war's impact on the USA?
Is the U.S. spending only $6 billion a month on Iraq war?
To date, expenditures have totaled an estimated $320 billion
, a supplemental bill now working its way through Congress, according to a report by Steven Kosiak, a budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
A study by the Congressional Budget Office forecast an additional $225 billion
in spending over the next 10 years, assuming troop levels fall to 50,000 in a few years. "Taken together, it is quite possible that the United States will ultimately spend more on U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan than it did on the Korean War ($455 billion
) or the Vietnam War ($650 billion
)," Kosiak wrote.Or is the U.S. spending much more than that ?
But a study by Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, war critic, and former Clinton administration official, estimated the total cost of the war in the range of $750 billion
to $1.2 trillion
. Some part of that, he says, is the continuing cost of health-care for the more than 17,000 soldiers wounded in the Iraq conflict.
A lot of difficulty in assessing the impact of the war comes from what researchers call "counterfactuals" -- trying to decide what would have happened if the United States had never invaded Iraq!
In that scenario, some economists would say the government would have simply spent the money on something else
-- or in tax cuts.