November 13th, 2007
08:45 PM ET
11 years ago

The true cost of the war on terror

Watch Jessica Yellin's report on a new report by Congressional Democrats.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic leaders in Congress released a report Tuesday where they estimated the total costs of the country's military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The report estimates the total cost of the war on terror– including what Democrats call the war's "hidden costs" - at $1.6 trillion. 

This is twice what President Bush has requested from Congress to fund  operations in Iraq and Afghanistan but far less than the $50 billion the Bush administration initially estimated for the Iraq war in 2003.

Related video: Watch Ed Henry's report on the President's budget battle with Congress 

Related: Bush to Congress: Cut the pork

Related: Panel estimates war costs at $1.6 trillion by 2009

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Filed under: Congress • Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Frank Honolulu Hawaii

    What a horrible situation the Bush Administration has got us into. Why did he veto a children's health bill for 5 billion over 5 years and then spend 1 trillion dollars for a war that kills children?

    November 14, 2007 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  2. Antonio, Tempe AZ

    Yeah, but the report overlooks all the good things going on in Iraq.

    One royal screw up in Iraq: $1.6T

    Watching GW serve our soldiers a fake turkey: priceless.

    November 14, 2007 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  3. Eric, New York

    This is the third comment I've left on this story. The other two were deleted. You have the obvious right to do that...but at least correct the glaring math mistake in this story! Its embarrassing! 1.3 trillion is NOT less than 50 billion! Numbers go in this ascending order: Thousands, Millions, Billions, Trillions. 1.3 trillion is far more than 50 billion, not less. Seriously CNN, you need to change this.

    November 14, 2007 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Since most of the Democrats marched in goose-step behind Bush in 2003, they have zip credibility with me now when they condemn it.

    November 14, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  5. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    I understand that everything in this world has a cost, including our freedom.

    However, the cost will be far greater if we do NOT effectively respond to the threat of terrorism: our very lives.

    You cannot negotiate with people who believe God or "Allah" wants them to murder you and your family.

    As a registered Republican, this is why I am supporting Rudolph Guliani; he fully understand the threat that terrorism poses to America and the civilized world.

    America should NEVER seek approval from the United Nations nor the European Union to protect itself.

    November 14, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. Joel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    But expanding SCHIP was too expensive.


    November 14, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. Jim Topeka, KS

    My guess is that thesesare as close to good numbers as we are going to see, to date the President refuses to include the cost of the war in his budget that he sends to Congress and insists in funding it through emergency spending bills. Or at least that has been his past strategy.

    If you recall, after getting rid of Saddam, destroying all of Saddam's WMD, the net cost of the war was suppose to be zero, because it was gpiing to paid for with Iraqi oil dollars. To date, lets see, oh thats right major oil reserves and they have gasoline shortages in Iraq still, what 5 years after, go figure.

    November 14, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  8. A Kansas Vet, Kansas

    As a registered Republican, this is why I am supporting Rudolph Guliani; he fully understand the threat that terrorism poses to America and the civilized world.

    America should NEVER seek approval from the United Nations nor the European Union to protect itself.

    Posted By Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL : November 14, 2007 9:18 am

    And as a registered Republican knowning that freedom is not free how many yeras of military service do you have anyway.

    But naturally, you are fully aware that Iraq was not a terroist state prior to the Invasion, and are fully aware that terrorist groups were not welcome in Iraq under Saddam.

    I know that you are aware that muslims are wary of dealings with individuals that attack their religion just as christains are and they are deeply concerned when individuals stan before cameras and declare a holy "crusade" against terrorist with all of the historical meanings of the word in muslim/christain relatintion.

    And I am also sure that you are aware that terroist groups don't care who they hurt or for that matter if they hurt anyone at all, as long as they instill fear and terror at those that think they are in danger.

    Since the United Nations and the European Union stood behind us fully in our actions against those responsible for 9-11 I do not beleive we need worry about support in protecting ourselves.

    As a registered Republican and an American I do wish you have a nice day in the service of your nation.

    November 14, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. spinstopper

    When is their report on the benefits of an Iraq democracy due out?

    November 14, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. RealityKing

    The Congressional Research Service, which has compiled war casualty statistics from the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts, reports that 4,699 members of the U.S. military died in 1981 and '82. A time period when the U.S. had only limited troop deployments. That's 20% more than the 3,800 deaths from '05 to '06 when we were fully committed to large military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan...

    November 14, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. J Houston, TX

    This is the most BS document ever produced. First, they claim the war is for oil and Haliburton. Then they claim the war makes oil more expensive and increases the cost of the war. Wake up people, you can't have it both ways. 20 years from now, we'll be glad to have a Democratic ally in the Middle East with a large oil supply. People just can't look that far forward.

    November 14, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. spinstopper

    True cost of war? The death-to-wounded ratio has dramically improved since our last conflict. Nearly 8 people are wounded for every one who dies in Operation Iraqi Freedom versus the 1 death to 1.7 wound ratio found during World War II.

    Did our partisan liberals in Congress also account for the benefits of these lives saved or do our numbers look better if these brave volunteers had just died??

    November 14, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, PEACE AT ANY PRICE, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life."
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks Teddy.

    November 14, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    To Thomas of St. Petersburg:

    Understand that the current spending in Iraq and Afghanistan is no longer about protecting us from terrorists and staying free. Nor is it about avenging 9/11. It is now about maintaining Bush's failed war policy in that region. Understand too, that the best and ONLY way to really protect ourselves and maintain peace is to stop bullying others into accepting our idea of freedom, our idea of governing, and our idea of religion. Weren't you a kid once who was bullied in the playground? How'd that feel?

    November 14, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. Steve in SC

    Anybody care what the cost is if we lose this war? Can you say Sharia law? Just a little something to think about!

    November 14, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    Since CNN's moderator often censors my commentary, I'd like to help him out a bit.

    When did $50 billion become "far less" than $1.6 trillion?

    Read the ticker article.

    November 14, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Hank, Fort Myers, FL

    To Mary who said: "Since most of the Democrats marched in goose-step behind Bush in 2003, they have zip credibility with me now when they condemn it"
    Check your facts. The only sanctions he received was from the Senate/Congress–and most of them left him like he was on fire once thay realized much of the evidence for weapons of mass destruction was erroneous, previously thrown out, or pulled from thin air. Maybe you should do a little reading–check your local newspaper for editorials from concerned citizens, you'll find most of us Democrats weren't "goose stepping"...but trying very hard from stopping this "turkey of a war". Now we're there and nobody wants us there: the Iraq'is, most of the middle, a majority of the US population. What to do? Well, one thing for sure–only the RNC and their energy backers places more value on the oil reserves in Iraq than the blood of armed forces men and women who cannot speak up due to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice–and their oath to support the Commander-In-Chief, even if he/she is a moron. So no matter what–elect no Republican.

    November 14, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Hank, Fort Myers, Fl

    We've already lost in every way that is credible and important–the second the decision to invade was made. Who really cares if Iraq has Sharia law–let them come to the US or another free nation.

    November 14, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. trent porter, tx

    ... and as my tax dollars continue to fund the disaster in iraq, i still hit the same pothole everyday down the street from my house.

    it's absolutely disgusting that our tax dollars are being funneled to another country and to these money hungry contractors. disgusting.

    November 14, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Ken Tanblume

    Would be a lot less if the previous president hadn't been so soft on Al-Qaeda.

    Posted By David Branch, Waco, Texas : November 13, 2007 11:12 pm

    dear David: you are wrong. Al-Qaeda is not connected to Iraq, and Iraq is not connected to 9/11. You have been lied to, so I can't blame you for not understanding.

    November 14, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. bob/ cincinnati/ohio

    I guess that for the 30% that still like Bush(idiot by the way) there is nothing that can change their views, that as long as we have a lilly white nazi in there, thats OK. You folks shoudn't be allowed to stay in this great country. I say no more compromise for these creeps, vote them into submission and yes we do outnumber you.

    November 14, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. James, Phoenix AZ

    DEMOCRAT report... uh huh... not a bi-partisan panel or an independent study... but a DEMOCRAT report.

    Gee... if only those fiscal conservative DEMOCRATS would focus on the high cost of earmarks or the high cost of all their proposed entitlement programs.

    Nahhhh – doesn't fit their political agenda.

    November 14, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. r schier norwalk,ct

    "Anybody care what the cost is if we lose this war? Can you say Sharia law? Just a little something to think about!"

    Posted By Steve in SC

    The only thing I think about with drivel like this, is another sucker has fallen for the propagandized fear sell....tisk tisk.....

    November 14, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. Jerry, Newark, DE

    1.6 trillion is less than 50 billion? What is up CNN's sleeve this time?

    November 14, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. aj, Los Angeles CA

    From its onset, the Bush Administration can be summed up in two words: "NO WISDOM".

    Imagine what $1.6 trillion could have done if applied to renewable energy (among other non-war-related possibilities).

    November 14, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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