Iraq War Costs
Aug. 22, 2011
The War in Iraq began officially on March 20, 2003. Since then, 4,477 American service members have lost their lives1 and the federal government has spent $797 billion2. Another way of considering the cost of the war is its “opportunity costs;” that is, what government activities or programs could otherwise have been funded if $797 billion had not been allocated for the war. The following charts offer spending comparisons.
The $797 billion allocated to fighting the war in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 could have paid for the entirety of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, otherwise known as the economic stimulus package3. The Economic Policy Institute credits stimulus spending with saving 3-4 million jobs and slowing the contraction of the economy from 6% to 0.7%4.
This year’s spending on the Iraq War ($47.4 billion), after the withdrawal of combat troops, would pay for all public disaster funding that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disbursed from Fiscal Year 1999 through Fiscal Year 20105. This includes federal funding to remove debris after a disaster, emergency relief programs, and repair public buildings.
Department of Defense Casualty Status. Retrieved 10 Aug 2011.
This and other war spending numbers are available at CostofWar.com.
Totals and overview of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act spending are available at Recovery.gov. Retrieved 10 Aug 2011.
“An investment that worked: The Recovery Act two years later”. Ethan Pollack and Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved 10 Aug 2011.
Data retrieved from Data.gov on 10 Aug 2011.