Informal estimates made by congressional staff and Washington think tanks place the costs of an invasion of Iraq and a postwar occupation of the country between $100 billion to $200 billion.
If the fighting is protracted, and President Saddam Hussein blows up his country's oil fields, most economists believe the indirect costs of the war could be even greater, reverberating through the American economy for years, according to the Washington Post.
"If we can plan a war, we should also be planning a way to pay for the war," John M. Spratt Jr., the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee said. "Last time, we were able to slough the costs off on other countries. This time, we will have to absorb most of these costs ourselves. Someone ought to be asking questions about the impact on the budget."
In its Sunday edition, the Post added that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and staff for the Democrat minority on the House Budget Committee have concluded that a short, decisive war involving the deployment of 250,000 US troops could cost between $44 billion and $60 billion. This is substantially less than the cost of the war of 1991, which came to nearly $80 billion dollars in 2002 dollars.
The direct military costs of a new war will probably be less than in 1991, however the postwar occupation costs will be considerably greater, according to experts.
A White House official, requesting anonymity said it would be premature to talk about the costs of a war with Baghdad because President Bush has not decided on the use of military force. (Albawaba.com)
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