October 12, 2004
The War in Iraq Really Has Cost $200 Billion
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
In recent weeks, John Edwards and John Kerry have stated that the cost of the Iraq War is $200 Billion. This figure has been criticized by third party observers and by the Bush campaign as too high. Critics have pointed to "official numbers" from the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, which suggest that the cost of the war is under $120 billion so far and won't reach $200 billion until sometime in 2005. 
Is the Kerry campaign stretching the truth? Not really. The "official numbers" are based on monies appropriated by congress for 2003 and 2004. They do not take into account the stockpiles of weapons accumulated over years that were used up during the war. This includes missiles, ammo, destroyed helicopters, planes, tanks, and humvees. Just because the replenishment of all the stockpiles won't take place for a couple years (FY 2005-6 budgets) does not mean it can't be counted now.
In fact, standard business and nonprofit rules dictate that such costs be considered. If you were sitting on $150 billion in inventory and it went down to $75 billion, what would your balance sheet show? It should show that you lost $75 billion in inventory. A reduction of assets is considered an expense, even if the assets are not cash. The DOD budgets for 1995-2002 were paid for by taxpayers, and certainly included weapons that were used up in Iraq. 
Beyond the hardware there are other aspects of the $379.9 billion DOD budget (FY2004) , like the cost of the command, control, and communications and intelligence infrastructure (C3I) needed to wage war in Iraq, that the "official numbers" do not show. This includes the cost of building US military facilities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Factoring in all of these costs, the cost of the Iraq war is almost certainly over $200 billion already. So the Kerry and Edwards campaign should be able to continue citing that figure.
The Factcheck.org web site was created with an endowment from a Republican, Walter Annenberg, who made a fortune by creating the magazines TV Guide and Seventeen. Annenberg was also publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years and served as ambassador to Great Britain during the Nixon administration.
According to an obituary of Annenburg (he died in 2002): " He was identified as one of the wealthy Republicans who funneled money to Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President in 1972, just" before the campaign-disclosure law went into effect. Mr. Annenberg's gift was reported as $254,000. He continued to support Nixon through the Watergate years, lashing out at the media and at students for hounding the President." http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/4189273.htm
 For more details on the cost of creating the weapons stockpiled used up in the Iraq, see the DOD's own figures:
 See www.cdi.org for details on the military budget.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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