Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five years later...

The following was published in the Democratic Caucus's Senate Journal. 

It's a long post, but historically colossal blunders take a little while to itemize.

Maybe Laura will read it to Boy George:

The Iraq war has exacted tremendous costs on our country. The lives and livelihoods of the thousands of courageous troops who have been killed and wounded is the most tragic cost. But the war has cost us in many other ways as well, including direct and indirect economic costs which are estimated by the Joint Economic Committee to reach $1.3 trillion by the close of 2008. According to Professor Stiglitz, who testifies before the JEC today, the costs could be even higher. The costs of war also include our failure to invest in domestic priorities, the strain on our military forces which has reduced our ability to respond to other threats both abroad and at home and the cost of taking our eye off the ball and failing to confront the terrorist threat posed by Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these costs illustrate the urgent need to change course in Iraq, refocus the mission and begin to redeploy our troops.

War in Iraq has cost the lives and livelihoods of thousands of brave men and women in uniform:

3,972 U.S. Troops Have Been Killed in Iraq. According to, 3,972 American troops have been killed in Iraq as of February 25, 2008. [, 2/27/08]

29,080 American Soldiers Wounded Through January 2008. According to, 29,080 U.S. troops have been wounded in support in Iraq through January 2008. [, 2/27/08]

Iraq war has had tremendous fiscal and economic costs:

Current Cost of War in Iraq Is Almost $11 Billion Per Month. “In FY2007, DOD’s monthly obligations for contracts and pay averaged about $12.3 billion including about $10.3 billion for Iraq and $2.0 billion for Afghanistan.” [CRS Report, 2/22/08]

 That Amounts to…

  • $332,258,064 Per Day
  • $13,844,086 Per Hour
  • $230,734 Per Minute
  • $3,845 Per Second

U.S. Has Already Spent $526 Billion on War in Iraq. “This $700 billion total covers all war-related appropriations from FY2001 in supplementals, regular appropriations, and continuing resolutions including not quite half of the FY2008 request. Of that total, CRS estimates that Iraq will receive about $526 billion (75%), OEF about $140 billion (20%), and enhanced base security about $28 billion (4%), with about $5 billion that CRS cannot allocate (1%).” [CRS Report, 2/22/08]

The Bush Administration Requested $72.8 Billion for War Costs in 2009 So Far.“For FY2009, the Administration has requested about $72.8 billion for war costs including a “placeholder” DOD war request of $70 billion, $1.5 billion for State Department/USAID foreign and diplomatic operations, and $1.3 billion for VA medical care for OIF and OEF veterans. Details for DOD’s request are expected after General David Petraeus makes his recommendations about future troop levels in April. With the pending FY2008 and FY2009 requests, the total for enacted or requested war funding is about $878 billion.”  [CRS Report, 2/22/08]

Funding for Iraq War Increased 160% Between 2004 and 2008. “Annual war appropriations more than doubled from about $34 billion in FY2001/FY2002 to about $80 billion with the preparation for and invasion of Iraq in FY2003 (see Table 3). Based on passage of the FY2007 Supplemental, annual DOD funding are growing by an additional 75% between FY2004 and FY2007. If DOD’s total FY2008 request is enacted, the level in FY2008 would be 160% higher or more than one-and-one-half times larger than FY2004.”  [CRS Report, 2/22/08]

Joint Economic Committee Estimated Total Cost of the at $1.3 Trillion Through 2008 - $16,500 for a Family of Four. The Joint Economic Committee has estimated that the total budgetary and economic costs of the Iraq War from FY 2002-2008 to be $1.3 trillion. This cost amounts to $16,500 in war costs for a family of four. These economic costs include the ongoing drain on U.S. economic growth created by Iraq-related borrowing, the disruptive effects of the conflict on world oil markets, the future care of our injured veterans, repair costs for the military, and other undisclosed costs. [Joint Economic Committee, 11/07]

Joint Economic Committee Estimated Total Cost of $2.8 Trillion Through 2017, Assuming Gradual Drawdown to 55,000 Troops. The Joint Economic Committee also estimated that assuming troops are gradually drawn down to 55,000 troops by 2013 and that level remained constant through 2017, the total economic cost of the war would be $2.8 trillion, or $36,900 for a family of four. [Joint Economic Committee, 11/07]

While pouring money into Iraq, we have failed to invest in domestic priorites here at home:

No Child Left Behind Has Been Underfunded By $71 Billion Since 2002. Since 2002 when it was enacted, the No Child Left Behind Act has been underfunded by $71 billion. This cumulative funding gap is comprised of the difference between funding authorized by the bill and the actual annual appropriations from FY 2002 through FY 2008. [NEA, 2/25/08]

American Society of Civil Engineers Estimated U.S. Must Invest $1.6 Trillion Over 5 Years to Bring the Nation's Infrastructure to Good Condition. In 2005, the Americans Society of Civil Engineers estimated that $1.6 trillion is needed over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. [American Society of Civil Engineers, Action Plan for the 110th Congress]

The Cost of 4 months in Iraq Could Modernize and Ensure Interoperable Communications for America’s 2.5 Million First Responders. The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that it would cost $40 billion to modernize communications for the 2.5 million first responders in the United States. [Department of Homeland Security, 3/17/04]

The Cost of 3 Months in Iraq Could Secure All Weapons-Usable Materials in Russia, to Prevent This Material From Falling Into the Hands of Terrorists.  In the countries of the former Soviet Union there is currently enough unsecured radioactive material to build 40,000 nuclear weapons.  In 2001, the bipartisan Baker-Cutler Commission stated that the “most urgent unmet national security threat to the United States today, is the danger that weapons of mass-destruction or weapons-usable material in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nation states and used against American troops abroad or citizens at home.  The Commission reported that it would cost $30 billion over eight to ten years to secure all weapons-usable material in Russia. [Campaign for America’s Future, A Report Card on the Department of Energy’s Nonproliferation Programs with Russia, 1/10/01]

The Cost of 22 Days in Iraq Could Safeguard Our Nation’s Ports from Attack.  The Coast Guard has estimated that $7.5 billion over ten years would be necessary to implement the requirements of the 2002 Maritime Transportation Safety Act, which would protect U.S. ports and waterways from terrorist threats. [Center for American Progress, 7/1/04 

The Cost of 18 Hours in Iraq Could Secure U.S. Chemical Plants.  According to the CBO, it would cost $255 million over five years to fully fund the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.  [CBO, 6/26/06]   

War in Iraq has strained our ability to respond to other threats:

Pentagon Said Iraq Is Straining the Military and Limiting Readiness. “A classified Pentagon assessment concludes that long battlefield tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with persistent terrorist activity and other threats, have prevented the U.S. military from improving its ability to respond to any new crisis, The Associated Press has learned. Despite security gains in Iraq, there is still a "significant" risk that the strained U.S. military cannot quickly and fully respond to another outbreak elsewhere in the world, according to the report.” [Associated Press, 2/9/08]

General Casey Fears Lack of Trained Forces for Missions Outside of Iraq.  “‘The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply,’ the Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, said last week. ‘Right now we have in place deployment and mobilization policies that allow us to meet the current demands. If the demands don't go down over time, it will become increasingly difficult for us to provide the trained and ready forces’ for other missions.”  [Associated Press8/20/07]

 Admiral Fallon and Admiral Mullen Worried About Having Enough Forces to Confront Threats Outside Iraq and Afghanistan. “Admiral Fallon was said by some officers to believe that only by giving the Iraqi government a clearer sense that the American troop commitment was limited would the Iraqis take steps aimed at achieving reconciliation. He also worries about having enough forces in reserve to handle contingencies outside Iraq and in Afghanistan. Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the current chief of naval operations, who takes over as chairman of the Joint Chiefs next month, has also raised concerns about force levels, though he also cautions against a withdrawal before the current strategy is allowed to work.” [New York Times, 9/14/07]

Army Suffering Shortage of Young Officers Due to Extended Deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan – Forced to Offer Huge Bonuses to Try to Retain Them.“The Army is offering cash bonuses of up to $35,000 to retain young officers serving in key specialties -- including military intelligence, infantry and aviation -- in an unprecedented bid to forestall a critical shortage of officer ranks that have been hit hard by frequent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials said that lengthy and repeated war-zone tours -- the top reason younger officers leave the service -- plus the need for thousands of new officers as the Army moves forward with expansion plans have contributed to a projected shortfall of about 3,000 captains and majors for every year through 2013.” [Washington Post10/11/07]

Equipment shortages and frequent deployments to Iraq have hurt national guard's ability to respond to threats at home:

Report Concluded Military Lacks Equipment and Trained, Ready National Guard and Reserve Forces to Respond to Chemical, Biological or Nuclear Incident At Home. “The commission's 400-page report concludes that the nation ‘does not have sufficient trained, ready forces available’ to respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear weapons incident, ‘an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk.’ ‘Right now we don't have the forces we need, we don't have them trained, we don't have the equipment,’ commission Chairman Arnold Punaro said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘Even though there is a lot going on in this area, we need to do a lot more. ... There's a lot of things in the pipeline, but in the world we live in — you're either ready or you're not.’” [Associated Press, 1/31/08]

Guard and Reserve Facing $48 Billion Equipment Shortfall. “The lack of readiness at home, according to the just-released report of a congressionally appointed commission, stems from the pressures put on National Guard and Reserve units who more and more have carried the burden in the Middle East fighting. These units are now facing equipment shortfalls estimated at $48 billion and depleted personnel strengths that have lowered their efficiency to a dangerous level.” [San Jose Mercury News,2/8/08]

General Blum Said National Guard’s Ability to Respond to Natural Disasters and Terrorist Attacks at Home Has Been Put At Risk By Being Under-Equipped. “We are now in a degraded state back here at home… The ability for the National Guard to respond to natural disasters and to perhaps terrorist weapons-of-mass-destruction events that may come to our homeland is at risk because we are significantly under-equipped.” [Detroit News, 3/31/07]

While U.S. armed forces are bogged down in Iraq, Afghanistan, Al-Qaedea and terrorism continue to threaten America's national security:

Intelligence Chief Testified Al Qaeda Has Expanded and Remains Greatest Threat. “Nonetheless, Al Qaida remains the preeminent terror threat against the United States, both here at home and abroad. Despite our successes over the years, the group has retained or regenerated key elements of its capability, including its top leadership, operational lieutenants, and a de facto safe haven, as was mentioned by the chairman, in the Pakistani border area with Afghanistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA.” [Testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 2/5/08]

Iraq War Distracted U.S. Efforts and Allowed Al-Qaeda to Regenerate in Pakistan.“After Saddam’s fall, Iraq became a new headquarters of sorts for jihadists. Meanwhile, with the Bush administration’s attention elsewhere, Al Qaeda took the opportunity to reassert itself along the Afghan- Pakistan border. And jihadists began to travel between the two regions, worsening the situation in both. As Art Keller, a CIA officer stationed in the tribal areas of Pakistan in 2006, told me, ‘People are going from the Afghan-Pakistan border to Iraq to learn the tactics and then come back. Seems like the reverse of the way the war on terror was supposed to work.’” [New America Foundation10/22/07]

Secretary Gates Said Al-Qaeda Is Using Pakistani Safe Haven to Plan Attacks on U.S. “I think that Admiral McConnell is correct in saying that Al Qaida is taking advantage of the safe havens on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border to expand and train for attacks. Much of what we hear concerns attacks in Europe, to be frank about it, but there's no doubt that they have the intent of attacking the United States. And, frankly, I think that's one of the reasons why you're seeing a major push for equipment over the next 24 months.” [Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, 2/6/08]

Iraq war has contributed to declining opinion of U.S. around the wold, making us less safe:

Poll of Residents in 25 Countries Found 29 Percent Believe U.S. Exerts a Mainly Positive Influence in the World, Down from 36 Percent in 2006 and 40 Percent in 2005. “George Bush, the US president, is facing mounting disapproval of his policies abroad, according to a poll carried out for the BBC World Service, published today. The poll of 26,000 people in 25 countries showed just 29 percent now feel the United States exerts a mainly positive influence on the world, compared with 36 per cent a year ago and 40 percent two years ago.” [The Scotsman (UK)1/23/07]

  • 49 Percent of World Believes U.S. Exerts a Mainly Negative Role Internationally. “And 49 per cent now believe the US plays a mainly negative role internationally.” [The Scotsman (UK)1/23/07]


Anonymous said...

...and when Laura is done reading it to Boy George maybe she could read it to the Democrats.


JohnnyRussia said...

She'd better bring flash cards, too.