Costs of the Iraq War


This is a new representation of an idea that's made the rounds before. The Iraq War costs the United States USD$720MM per day. What could we be doing with that money instead? Any ideas? Here are some statistics. YouTube.

How much of that money is directly or indirectly being recycled back to the USA?

There might be industries in the US that are profiting as a result of wartime materials production.

Would there be less taxes if there was not a war or would that money actually be used for something else?

Would many of those volunteer American Soldiers actually HAVE jobs in the USA or be unemployed?

As long as they keep volunteering, the US has less incentive to stop.

Sadly, some may have few career alternatives, which may have motivated them to volunteer to serve.

What is a war was declared and no one came to fight - but instead invited the leaders to settle the dispute with their own lives and the lives of their families?!
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Shame on you Alex! You can't put a cost on fighting the terrorists and the war on terror! We didn't start this, "they" did, and the safety of our future generations has no price tag!

(sarcasm)
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You could invest in renewable energy sources and end the dependence on oil (foreign or otherwise). You could still have paid soldiers... but they could focus on things like disaster relief (which will probably be needed in the years to come, if there are more hurricanes and floods). You could invest in a medical insurance plan to ensure that every man, woman, and child in America is taken care of. You could invest in agriculture for food and make it possible for lower-income families to afford better nutrition (thus helping to tackle the obesity epidemic).
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I can't remember where I read this but apparently with the money spent on the war we could have colonized Mars with 500 astronauts. Maybe the Martians wouldn't have minded being occupied as much?
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I wonder where the cost chart video is for the attacks on US citizens and on our soil and how much that costs...

Even if the 9/11 attacks and Saddam cannot be directly related, these is a correlation due to it all being part the war against Islamic Fundamentalism and terrorists...

What did 9/11 coat us? Can you add that to the chart?

C'mon, Adam - if you can post this then we should able to see another viewpoint.
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I read that over $500,000,000,000 has been spent on the war so far. The government could have given each of its citizens a video game console of their choice with extra cash leftover. Then we can play war games as many times as we want. I'll have a pswii360.
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Iraq didn't start anything, there's no terrorists in Iraq... Geekazoid you should check the facts and not Fox News, why do you think that the USA is basically alone in Iraq, because there was no real reason to go there in the first place. So all this money and more importantly all the lives lost there were for nothing.
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There's nothing inherently political about discussing the cost of the war and exploring what we could, perhaps have purchased for the same amount of money.

If you're angry at me for posting this, you're really angry at transparency. If you're angry at transparency around the cost (and opportunity costs) with regard to the war, then you probably realize deep down that you're wrong.

Transparency is almost always a good thing. It is certainly a good thing in the face of a 5+ year, terribly unpopular multi-trillian dollar war of choice.
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Adam,

To answer your question: We could be spending $720M burying 720,000 Americans each day due to terrorist bombs and attacks here at home and abroad. Personally I'm more than happy to have us spend that money to fight the terrorists rather than bury my loved ones. How about you?

Oh, and just out of curiosity, how much have we spent on the "war on poverty"? Care to guess? And when is the "withdrawal" date for that war? Perhaps you would like to talk about the "war on drugs" instead? I can think of lots of things we _could_ have spent THAT money on instead - like, oh I don't know, building more oil refineries and nuclear power plants back in the '80s and '90s?

Understand this Adam: Those of us who take you to task for posting such thoughtless drivel are neither angry nor wrong; We are simply grow tired of mindless drones constantly repeating the same non sequitur liberal arguments against fighting those who have publically declared war on us.
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720,000 Americans killed by terrorists every day?

What universe is that possible in?

Transparency about the war is "thoughtless drivel?" Aren't free speech and government accountability two of the core principals upon which our nation was founded?

Frankly, it sounds genuinely "un-American" to promote secrecy surrounding the war effort.

And boy, you sure do *sound* angry.
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So 720,000 Americans would die for every dictator we didn't depose? Iraq can't be said to contribute to terrorism, or be called a fundamentalist Islamic country. Iraq was a SECULAR dictatorship. Saddam and Bin Laden didn't get along. Their beliefs directly contradicted each other's. Saddam believed that fundamentalist Islam was holding back the middle east and without discarding it, they would never make it into the 21st century.

We can definitively say now that Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11. None of the hijackers were Iraqi. On the other hand 14 of the 19 were Saudis. Most of the money came from Saudi Arabia.

We can also definitively say that Iraq was not a threat. I'm talking to you, SoftwareSamurai. Weapons inspectors were on the ground, with full access to everything they needed to determine that no weapons were there. When we told Saddam to disarm... HE DID! When we told him disarm again (the same weapons) he started destroying his Al Samoud missiles just to ensure we didn't attack him. He complied with everything Bush asked of him. So then Bush asked him to take his sons and leave the country, knowing he wouldn't do it, because he had complied with every demand we made up until then. The man didn't want war with us -- he did everything short of exiling himself to avoid a US invasion.

I'm sorry to throw facts at you like that, but you seem to not have any of your own.
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Dear Adam: as I am only one of the two detracting commenters, I'll respond as if your response was directed at me.

First, I am not angry at you. As I and several others have said before, the problem with your posts is that they dilute the neat-ness that is Neatorama, a blog which I immensely enjoy. The only response I hear from you is "but, I am right about this", which is neither here nor there.

Second, its quite presumptuous of you to assert that anyone who doesn't applaud you is "angry at transparency". That's akin to Bill O'Reilly shouting at a critic of airport security procedures that they are "angry at America".

Saying that "there's nothing inherently political about discussing the cost of the war and exploring what we could, perhaps have purchased for the same amount of money" is at best naive but more likely dishonest. Choices in public spending are by their very essence political, and deep down, you know this. You may be completely right that the war is a financial boondoggle, but be upfront and sincere when you are attempting to influence people. Don't sink to the cheap rhetoric of "I'm only stating the facts" when you are clearly making the argument that the war was a waste of money.

There really is a time and place for everything. Whenever I meet someone who is pushy with their views, and cannot help injecting politics into every moment and situation, every objection to this behavior is met with "but I'm right!! you're wrong!! Don't you see??". There's more to life, Adam, than you being right and others being wrong.
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I happen to think that a cleverly presented graphic representation of the opportunity costs associated with an expenditure of $720MM daily for the war is quite "neat." It's not about me needing to be right. We've just started the 6th year of this war... I daresay that this is the first post ever on this site exploring that specific issue.

If banging the anti-war drum is my modus operandi, I'm certainly not doing it here, nor is anyone else. I think all of us naturally avoid posting about heavily political topics for this very reason - hence the death of such posts here.

Seriously, there's no end to entertaining anti-Bush, anti-Republican and anti-war material out there with which we could stuff this blog to the gills. It simply has not, does not and will not happen.

In fact, the level of anger and emotion of some of the responses to these very rare, very mild posts exploring some of these ideas is shocking to me. You'd think that after two years of posting with scores of posts that I could post this without incurring liberal-hating wrath, but sure enough, SoftwareSamurai blows a gasket. I'd like to suggest that if uncontrollable anger and rage is one's response to a particular post, then they should try to exercise some restraint in their response.

If all of a sudden the other posters and I turn this site into all "Bush Sucks," all of the time, feel free to call us our on our editorial style. In the meantime, breath deep and try to relax a bit. It'll be a lot healthier and a lot more fun for all of us.
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Adam: you say

"If banging the anti-war drum is my modus operandi, I’m certainly not doing it here, nor is anyone else. I think all of us naturally avoid posting about heavily political topics for this very reason - hence the death of such posts here."

You aren't doing it here?? A good proportion of your posts are either anti-war, anti-Bush, pro-Obama or otherwise political. It is really only you who posts purely political stuff. Alex posted something earlier about Curveball, which is certainly connected to political goings-on but having some sort of human interest at the same time. Was it really the "cleverly presented graphic" aspect that made you want to post this? C'mon now, really??

SoftwareSamurai's post didn't quite seem like "uncontrollable rage" to me. I don't like his vituperative tone, but its no better or worse than the many who have spoken in agreement / defense of you in the past(which didn't seem to be a problem).

"Liberal-hating wrath" is not my modus operandi, and I hope you understand that there are more than two sides to any political issue, but I get the impression that you assume anyone who is not delighted by your posts is a backwards right-wing zealot. I have been very vocal in my criticism (probably wasting my time), but its only a small percentage who take the time to write - usually the most angry. Those who are simply put-off or bored move along, as you have suggested they do. But that's taking the low road. But as always, its your blog, your choice.
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Neat-o-rama should stay out of politics all together.

This blog should be more about presenting Quilts with Pacman on them, or a guy's collection of pens. Neat-o-rama is a nerd blog filled with the unusual. The sad thing is that when you entertain religious, political, and psuedoscientific disscussion you open a can of foul smelling worms making your blog look like it is exclusive.

I ask that you don't do this. Doing so destroys the spirit of neat-o-rama and if you were to read the comments here, you would see that. Just for the sake of stroking your ego so that you will stop I will simply say that I agree with you about "transparency", but I think that you are shoveling shight on neat-o-rama making it less attractive to fans of nerdyness, strange, and the weird neat things that make western society such a joy be a part of. So Please...

NO MORE POLITCAL, RELIGIOUS, Or Psuedoscience (Global Warming, Green living, Eco-freindly BS) on neat-o-rama. PLEASE!!! MORE PAC-MAN QUILTS AND NEAT THINGS THAT ONLY OFFEND PEOPLE WHO ARE ORDINARY.

And don't be like a jackass by responding to every post that disagrees with you, it makes you look week and lonely.
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Hm...If the result of this war was a stable and free Iraq -- a democracy in the heart of the overwhelmingly fascist and cruel middle east -- that would act as a catalyst for political reform, liberty for women and other repressed minorities, and an end to the human rights ATROCITIES we currently tolerate in the region, then I'd say this is best money we could possibly spend.

I know, crazy, right?

But, wait, it looks like the tide has turned in Iraq. Yesterday's NYTimes:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/21/world/middleeast/21security.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

By the way, I don't watch Fox News and have never voted for George Bush. Can we please start to see this issue beyond partisanship? No? How sad.
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It is a bogus argument from the outset. You can fantasize on how else to spend the money, but you can't make congress agree with you.

Congress voted to spend every dime of that money. Congress voted to go to war. Congress hasn't voted to colonize Mars. And I doubt they would with or without the war in Iraq.

Often times, these arguments are trotted out as though all your streets would be paved and your every one gets a free video game. And I'm not talking about anti-war arguments. I'm talking about, "But for this cause we could spend this money on..." Pick your utopian fantasy to fill in the blank.

Well, it's not the federal governments responsibility to pave your roads or pass out wiis. Or provide free health care.

And BTW...It is not the soldier's responsibility to provide disaster relief at home either. That's what the national guard is for. Or your local fire & rescue. Your local and state taxes pay that bill.

Soldiers are for war. Offense and defense. Not flood control or hurricane relocation.

Besides all that, I agree with ANON, roger, et al.

I have green blogs and political blogs I can go to for serious stuff.

Neatorama is my stop of light and fun stuff.

Your propaganda is neither light nor fun.

Lunacy
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Adam, I can always tell your posts before I even read them. The only person you're fooling about not having a political agenda is yourself.
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I'm sorry, but I had to return.

The comment about secrecy during war...

You're kidding, right?

You can't imagine any rationale for "non-transparency"?

During war?

When our citizen soldiers are in harms way?

Or when there are, in fact, people out there who would do use harm?

And newsflash for the nopassword poster. Poor people do get access to nutrition. It's called an EBT card. If they choose not to use it for nutritious food than I don't know what to say. Maybe we can spend billions of dollars creating a "I will decide what you eat Department" and another "I WILL make you eat it Department".

And another thing...

Did any of you see Sean Penn in his pirogue cruising through Iowa, relocating people who are flooded out?

I didn't either.
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I'm willing to bet my last dollar that if Neatorama posted topics that were undeniably pro war, pro Bush, or the like, that the same people complaining about things like 'Costs of the Iraq War' and bitching about leaving politics out would then change their tune and be all happy and lovey dovey. And notice how these same people that complain about politics here have no qualms about injecting their two cents worth when it comes to topics that deal with things like Islam or Middle Eastern countries?

What I find ultimately sad is that people are so hell bent on political labels and ideology that they can't discuss anything without thinking that their way of thinking is right and everyone else is wrong or anti American or whatever else they come up with. Calculating the cost of something as monumental and that has affected so many lives around the world like the Iraq War is something anyone of any political stripe should discuss without the assumption that it's an attack on any political ideology.
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What is up with this political stuff. Many of my favorite sites are being destroyed by it, cant we just have links to fun and amazing things on neatorama? I use this site as an escape from the serious things in the world and to see political videos here depresses me..
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Well, Geekazoid, since I am obviously one "bitching" about leaving politics out, I'd be happy to take up your bet. Its simple because I'm not pro Bush to begin with, and as I have made abundantly clear with regard to my complaints about Adam's posting, I'd prefer to see the site either depoliticized altogether, or at least seeing "neato" angles on politics and not run-of-the mill, cliched links that can be found at any number of other political sites.

What I find ultimately sad is that people are so hell bent on political labels and ideology that they can't discuss anything without thinking that their way of thinking is right and everyone else is wrong or "pro war" or whatever else they come up with.
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Let's get back to the non-political postings - Lunacy, Anon and others have aptly pointed out that there are many other sources for the anti-Bush 43 screeds and anti-military issues. I have nothing against transparency on the general funding of military spending - not on the black budget items, though. It costs a lot to have a war - if you're going to look at military spending, look at all of the unclassified costs...

And Adam, even your fellow posters here imply you're political...
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That may be true for you Roger, but my views still stand for the others.

I would say that quite a few of the topics on Neatorama can be considered political. It doesn't have to be about Iraq or Bush to be political. How about posts about the cultures and religions of other countries. Should we leave those out too for fear of upsetting people? If people don't like it here they don't have to come, sounds rude but it's simple as that. It seems that people keep complaining about the same things yet they continue to visit Neatorama. I don't agree with or like everything posted on here, but overall it's cool and, well, it's neat.
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Lunacy: "Congress voted to spend every dime of that money. Congress voted to go to war."

Yes and no. Congress spends the money, yes. They did not vote for war, they voted for use of force, and war on the condition that Bush went back to the UN for a vote. We knew that Russia, China, France and Germany were going to veto the resolution, so we just didn't ask, and have been operating on a fallacious authorization ever since.
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I'd rather read 100 of these articles then see one more video featuring a cat. I HATE cats and neatorama is infested with them!
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If Adam were smart he would start his own political blog fight site.
He clearly wants conflict and baits you all into a political argument.
Adam, please stop trying to turn neatorama into a worthless Yahoo fight chat room. Grow up.
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Geekazoid, you say:

"That may be true for you Roger, but my views still stand for the others. "

Others may may be rude, but this is exactly why I don't like the type of political posts Adam favors. They seem to bring out either me-too sycophancy or fire and brimstone anger in people.

"How about posts about the cultures and religions of other countries. Should we leave those out too for fear of upsetting people?"

I don't think the posts about cultures and religions raised many ugly controversies here. Moreover, and this is The Point, they were Neat! Advertisements for Obama, I hate Bush stuff, and cliched anti-war talking points are not.

Also, Adam adds smarmy insults which chill good-natured exchange from the outset. Case in point: the post following this one by Stanhope about Al-Jazeera where he says:

"...claiming that al-Jazeera is anti-American and anti-Israeli and is engaged in “cultural Jihad” against the United States. Yes - people like this really do exist."

So he starts out with a jab in the eye. And he knows not of what he speaks - Al-Jazeera makes no bones about being anti-Israeli; only Stanhope assumes that this is some kooky right-wing allegation. (or take his comment above "..you're really angry at transparency", another either-you-agree-with-me-or-you-are-a-right-wing-nutter statement from him)

So my SUGGESTION for a better way with political posts is a) try to be neat b) get the facts straight c) show respect for the possibility of dissenting views, even though you *know* they are wrong.

"If people don’t like it here they don’t have to come, sounds rude but it’s simple as that" That's true. Neatorama pays for the bandwidth, not I. I'm giving what I consider to be constructive feedback.
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Ayy, I thought the video was interesting. Not just the content, but how it was presented as well (the graphics, the ominous beeping sound, etc.). Thanks Adam!
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