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The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict Paperback – September 17, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Compelling alternative uses for the money are numerous. For example, we could have put Social Security on sound financial footing for a fraction of that cost, and avoided the nearly 4,000 American deaths (plus $500,000/death benefits) and 100,000 estimated Iraqi deaths - plus an untold number of seriously wounded and their long-term disability and health costs. (Stiglitz found that 40% of Gulf War troops were declared disabled, and that was only a one month war; he sees Pentagon estimates of Gulf War II wounded and disabled as grossly understated, and documents that conclusion. Another key point - peak disability expenditures for WWII veterans did not occur until 1993; thus this war will affect spending decades into the future.) Alternatively, America's trillion dollar+ infrastructure needs could be met with only half that expense.
Other costs include skyrocketing re-enlistment bonuses (up to $150,000 - their alternative is personal safety or much higher-paid private security work), the extra costs of using reserve and guard troops, up to $1,222/day for private security guards to replace servicemen paid less than one-sixth that, lost billions to reconstruct Iraq and spent in non-competitive bidding, and massive equipment replacement costs.Read more ›
It is a down-to-earth, capably documented indictment of the Bush-Cheney Administration's malicious or delusional--take your pick--march to war on false premises.
As a policy "speaking truth to power" book; as an economic treatise, as an academic contribution to the public debate, and as a civic duty, this book is extraordinary.
Highlights that sparked my enthusiasm:
1) Does what no one else has done, properly calculates and projects the core cost of war--and the core neglect of the Bush-Cheney Administration in justifying, excusing, and concealing the true cost of war: it fully examines the costs of caring for returning veterans (which some may recall, return at a rate of 16 to 1 instead of the older 6 to 1 ratio of surviving wounded to dead on the battlefield).
2) Opens with a superb concise overview of the trade-off costs--what the cost of war could have bought in terms of education, infrastructure, housing, waging peace, etcetera. I am particularly taken with the authors' observation that the cost of 10 days of this war, $5 billion, is what we give to the entire continent of Africa in a year of assistance.
3) Fully examines how costs exploded--personnel costs, fuel costs, and costs of replacing equipment. The authors do NOT address two important factors:
+ Military Construction under this Administration has boomed. Every Command and base has received scores of new buildings, a complete face lift, EXCEPT for the WWII-era huts where those on the way to Iraq and Afghanistan are made to suffer for three months before they actually go to war.Read more ›
The numbers presented are mind boggling and numbing. How do you account for such huge numbers, and why haven't we known before that the numbers were this big? The answer lies, primarily, in accounting tricks used by the government to hide certain expenses of to put them off onto other budgets so that the true cost could never be accurately accounted for. It's quite a statement that the DOD flunked its last 7 audits; a trick that would send private company executives to prison.
If you really want to know what the war will cost, where each of those costs is hidden and what those costs consist of, then this book is well worth the money. Every American should read this book now, before the election, to truly understand how we have been hoodwinked.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is so much in here I wish the wider public would read but they don't. Good analysis, reasonable projection of fiscal impacts into the future and a whole lot of useful insight... Read morePublished 15 months ago by rob532
Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have being doing their sums with regard to the total cost of the War in Iraq to the United States. Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by S Wood
Stiglitz spells out in detail what the illegal Iraq war has really cost America -- and the world. This book has the facts the bushies don't want made public. Read morePublished on June 4, 2013 by Wikileaker
I'll be brief. Too much opinion, too much partisanship, all presented too early on. I can listen to the media and get all the out-front liberal and conservative bias I can handle. Read morePublished on May 15, 2013 by Fred Longworth
As the war costs increase, the initial study is more and more relevant. Linda Bilmes has now estimated the cost at $4 to $6 trillion, based on the same "categories" of costs... Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by JB Chalfont
Joseph Stiglitz (2001 Nobel Prize in Economics) presents a conservative estimate of the costs of the Middle East Wars to Taxpayers, Participants and their Families. Read morePublished on December 28, 2011 by Wilfred J. Braithwaite
I bought this book yesterday and finished it in 24 hours, as I could not put it down.
Stiglitz is not only a skilled economist, but also a great scribe who speaks the... Read more
When I was in high school, I was strongly considering joining the US Marine Corps. Instead, I went to college, and I am now a doctoral student of engineering. Read morePublished on August 31, 2011 by clustro