Just Read – The Three Trillion Dollar War

The book goes into the details of how much it has cost the United States to go to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The book also explores if the war was necessary; could it have been avoided; could the money invested in the war have been better invested in some other productive activity etc.

Also the author tries to explore if the main reason of the US going to war in Iraq was to get cheaper oil? And if it was the reason, then the US failed miserably.  Also its agenda of foisting its belief of democracy on the middle east has come apart.

Neither is the world any safer.  We are much more under attack from the jehadi groups. Looking at the attempts at hijacking planes, and attempted bombings of the countries, its only safe to say that there hasn’t been a worse foreign policy than what was pursued under the Presidency of George Bush.

Readers may be surprised to learn just how difficult it was for Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz and Kennedy School of Government professor Bilmes to dig up the actual and projected costs of the Iraq War for this thorough piece of accounting. Using “emergency” funds to pay for most of the war, the authors show that the White House has kept even Congress and the Comptroller General from getting a clear idea on the war’s true costs. Other expenses are simply overlooked, one of the largest of which is the $600 billion going toward current and future health care for veterans. These numbers reveal stark truths: improvements in battlefield medicine have prevented many deaths, but seven soldiers are injured for every one that dies (in WWII, this ratio was 1.6 to one). Figuring in macroeconomic costs and interest-the war has been funded with much borrowed money-the cost rises to $4.5 trillion; add Afghanistan, and the bill tops $7 trillion. This shocking expose, capped with 18 proposals for reform, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the war was financed, as well as what it means for troops on the ground and the nation’s future.

The book written by none other than Nobel prize winner for Economics, Joseph Stiglitz goes deep into how the US govt repeatedly fudged accounts, gave out wrong assumptions and projections of money to be spent on the war.  The Defense department according to Stiglitz is one of the most opaque organization in the US govt with no proper audit in place or specification of the money being spent.

According to the most conservative calculations by Stiglitz, the US govt has spent more than 3 trillion dollars on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This when then book came out last year or the year before.  Billions more have flown down the drain.  Some more estimates peg the money spent at almost 4-5 trillion dollars.  All these money could have been invested in the US economy itself and the world wouldn’t have had this economic recession.

The book gets a bit bogged down into the numbers, but is a shocking read at the policy mishaps under the Republican regime.

The Three Trillion Dollar War
Authors – Joseph E Stiglitz & Linda Blimes
Pages – 336
Publisher – WW Norton & Company

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