With so many dead and dying in Iraq, it seems crass to complain about the financial cost of the war. But the price tag is enormous, and will burden us for decades to come. Here's Nick Kristof (Times $elect):
For every additional second we stay in Iraq, we taxpayers will end up paying an additional $6,300.
"The total costs of the war, including the budgetary, social and macroeconomic costs, are likely to exceed $2 trillion," Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-winning economist at Columbia, writes in an updated new study with Linda Bilmes, a public finance specialist at Harvard.
Just to put that $2 trillion in perspective, it is four times the additional cost needed to provide health insurance for all uninsured Americans for the next decade. It is 1,600 times Mr. Bush's financing for his vaunted hydrogen energy project.
As you are alluding to by mentioning other things that could have been done with the money, lost money translates into lost lives. Whether it be by less medical care, or less money for the poor etc. This loss is usually a lot larger (but distributed and non traceable) than the direct los of life of a war.