The Bush Administration said in 2003 that the Iraq war would cost about $50 billion. Five years later, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent -- about $12 billion every month.Â Nobel winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes say that even those estimates don't take in to account the ongoing costs of the war, including money to help veterans in the future and to rebuild the military.
Stiglitz and Bilmes are out with a new book, "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict," which they spoke about recently at the Commonwealth Club of California. That speech is featured on Word for Word.
During the conversation, Stiglitz offered a question for the country to consider:
"Is it worth the $900 billion it will cost us to stay another three years, another $1.2 trillion dollars if we we stay another four years? This is the kind of analysis that economists use all the time - marginal analysis - what is the benefit and what is the cost, and we ought not to shirk away from doing this hard kind of analysis that was not done when we went into the war in the first place."
What do you think of their math? Does considering what the war actually costs shape your ideas about the war? What is your cost/benefit analysis? Should we even be concerned with whether or not we can afford to fight the war in Iraq?