Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/523/3855
$3 trillion Iraq war
A NEW book, The Three Trillion Dollar War, co-authored by Nobel prize-winning economist and former Clinton adviser, Joseph Stiglitz, shows the true economic cost of the war in Iraq. It also shows the effects on everyone from Iraqi civilians to US and British consumers and people in Africa for years into the future.
The book by Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes in their words conservatively estimates 'the real economic cost to the US as $3 trillion'. The rest of the world, including Britain, will probably account for about the same amount again.
Daily military operations have already cost more in five years than they did in 12 years in Vietnam. Bush's government is spending $16 billion a month on running costs alone in Iraq and Afghanistan; that is the entire annual budget of the UN.
Stiglitz and Bilmes list what $1 trillion could have paid for: eight million housing units, or 15 million school teachers, or health care for 530 million children for a year, or scholarships to university for 43 million students. America, says Stiglitz, is currently spending $5 billion a year in Africa, and worrying about being outflanked by China there: "Five billion is roughly 10 days' fighting."
The rest of the world but particularly Iraq, has suffered much in human and economic terms. There are the Iraqi dead, the smashed Iraqi economy, the price to neighbouring countries of absorbing millions of refugees, the coalition dead and wounded. The book also shows that the cost to oil-importing industrial countries in Europe and the Far East of the rising cost of oil is now about $1.1 trillion.
The Three Trillion Dollar War by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, published by WW Norton, £20.
In The Socialist 4 March 2008:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International Women's Day
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis