So says a CBO report. The bulk of which is from Iraq, of course. And this from the party of fiscal responsibility. And this does not include the cost of the vastly increased oil prices that resulted from our invasion of Iraq, an absolutely huge economic price on top of the direct costs. And remember, it was Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz who declared that Eric Shinseki was “wildly off the mark” when he told Congress that the war would require hundreds of thousands of troops and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Let’s set the wayback machine for February 2003, shall we? In testimony before a Senate committee on Feb 25, 2003, Shinseki tried to warn about the difficulty of securing post-war Iraq and the need for more manpower to do the job:
GEN. SHINSEKI: I would say that what’s been mobilized to this point — something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We’re talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that’s fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground- force presence to maintain a safe and secure environment, to ensure that people are fed, that water is distributed, all the normal responsibilities that go along with administering a situation like this.
Two days later, Wolfowitz rebuked him in testimony before a House budget committee:
DEP. SEC. WOLFOWITZ: There has been a good deal of comment – some of it quite outlandish – about what our postwar requirements might be in Iraq. Some of the higher end predictions we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are wildly off the mark. It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army – hard to imagine.
Yeah, “outlandish.” Wildly off the mark. And one month later, on March 27th, Wolfowitz told another Congressional committee that the whole thing would pay for itself:
“The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but…We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.”
Tell us another story, Uncle Wolfy. Tell us the one about how we would be greeted as heroes and roses would be thrown at our feet. $2.4 trillion dollars. Worse yet, all this additional spending is taking place while increasing spending on everything else too AND cutting taxes, a recipe for fiscal disaster.
We’ve gone on a drunken orgy of spending and we’ll be handing the bill to our children and grandchildren (and to our future selves as well). And don’t forget the public and private pension funds that are vastly underfunded. We are setting ourselves up a future with twice the tax burden we have now to pay for our current stupidity. America: Land of the Shortsighted and Clueless.