An estimation of what the total costs of the Iraq war could end up being.  2 trillion dollars and, by some accounts, possibly more. 

A thought provoking essay on how that money could have been used on other priorities of national importance.  An eye-opening piece, no matter what your position on the war or the candidates.

If you’re skimming, start at paragraph 5.  Perhaps that will get you to read it all.

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68 Responses to $2,000,000,000,000

  1. abelvarnadore says:

    Good article but think of this. After the attacks on September 11 the Stock market lost a total of 1.2 Trillion dollars. Also the united states lost 4 multi-million dollar airplanes along with the 800 million dollars each of the Twin Towers cost. This loss was all over a week, and not to forget the 2,998 people that were lost that day, And imagine if these attacks happened more than once. Maybe something worse like the Capitol or the White house or the Treasury. Being in Iraq and the middle east is preventing something like this to ever happen again. If we had just one more attack like this theres your 2 trillion dollars and it would be in loss. The two trillion dollars spent on Iraq is being used for productive things, like avoiding attacks by staying on the offensive, saving millions of peoples lives from a dictator(check), creating a democracy in the middle east, which is going to spread and help the Terror threat in the middle east to quiet down. This article is just another article to bash Iraq and Bush, without thinking of the consequences of us not being in Iraq could be. No matter how much people disagree with Iraq and hate Bush there should be 100% support in what he does becuase he is our twice elected president, and if you don’t like that then go somewhere where they have a Monarcy or a dictator and see how you like it, but Americans are going to continue to whine and moan and make jokes about a man trying his best to be a great President, which he has been no matter how much the the left press or the stupid approval ratings say. And not to mention the troops that are losing their lives for the same people that are saying the war is stupid and give no suppport. Think about the Troops and the sacrifices their making, it’s amazing and they deserve better. As McCain would say the troops just want America to “let them win”.

  2. abel, thank you for the comment. Very well articulated argument.

  3. stephenkimsey says:

    Nice comment Abel I agree 100000000000% . I hate when people do the Bush bashing because like you said we did elected him twice so we should respect that.

  4. claytormey says:

    great comment ab, u r exactly right

  5. christinamiller123 says:

    Wow…that was really good Able. I couldn’t have said it better. People don’t realize what they have until its gone. No matter how much people hate Bush, they still elected him twice so they just have to live with it. I also think its amazing how people don’t support the men and women whom are risking their lives everyday to keep us safe. Some people are just ignorant. Either way…Good job. I agree with you 100%.

  6. bmurray13 says:

    Interesting comment Able……..I disargee with the fact that the war is saving money. I really do not feel that the U.S. is safer because of the war in Iraq. I think that they have inflamed a region and have caused more hatred towards the U.S. I believe that the war must now be continued because you can not go into an area, and leave it in a state of chaos. They must help recontruct the area, and make it stable. Until then they can not leave.

  7. mareksiwy says:

    As I said before, I agree with everything what Bush is doing. It was a hard decision to send an army to Iraq,however, what would you do? I am not american,but if I was, I would do the exactly same thing as he did as a revenge and to protect american people against other attacks.
    However ,as a European I can say that popularity of USA decreased a lot.People in Europe do not understand that it is an USA right to attack the Irag because of what Iraquian people did to them. I fully agree with that. And thinak about that- Bush has no easy job to be a president after what happened. Of course, every president in USA history had to faced up many problems, but terrorist attack on the twins which caused 3000 deaths and had a huge effect on USA economy was one of the biggest problem USA history. And problem had to be solved. Would the american rather stay in their country and do nothing? Just waiting for another attack which I think would come for sure, or do something to prevent it? I think that Bush is good,that is all i wanted to say

  8. mintzmintz says:

    It is worth it, if they spent 2 trillions, it sounds too much but to protect Americans and USA, it is worthy than spent nothing and let the country live with risks.

  9. christinae says:

    Just because the U.S. is in Iraq doesn’t mean that they are preventing USA from another attack. It jsut makes them hate the US more and increases the risks for another attack. Which will make the US loose all that money for the war, plus loosing even more money when another attack is coming. I think it is time for President Bush to think again about what is best for the safety of US citizens.

  10. tylercurrence says:

    I think a lot of people are quick to criticize and slow to try to understand others’ perspectives. I think a lot of people only see the negatives of what Bush has done rather than trying to understand it through his perspective. I understand that a lot of money has been put toward the Iraq cause, but I also believe we are safer because of it. Imagine what it would be like in Iraq right now if the US had never entered it. It would be utter chaos and there would be many more suicide attacks. In short, I agree with the first post by Abel.

  11. jmorse09 says:

    The cost of our war has reached a ridiculous level and our country will have to cope because we have a democracy that holds our freedom. We put who we believed would do what was right for our country and he is doing his best, our country has stayed just as strong, if not stronger, through this time and if that is how much it costs then that is what must be done.

  12. mastronardi says:

    I think they’ve spent a lot of money there which is helping many and protecting. But I think they need to spend more of there money in the country, they have a lot more issues here in the united states.

  13. patrickwaugh says:

    2 trillion dollars is a lot of money spent in the Iraq War. The cost is only going to keep gettin higher and higher. Also who is going to pay all this. In about twenty years or so our kids are going to have to pay for this war. Taxes are going to go up also. I think they need to pull some troops out. Thousands of people are being killed from this war.

  14. ambry242 says:

    i think that that is too much money to spend in the Iraq War. and now it is only going to rise and rise which is not good. the big question is who is going to pay for all of this? i think a good decision is to take some of the troops out. a lot of people are dying?

  15. luis9050 says:

    I think that actually all that money could be spend in other things, in things that can make the US a better country, trying to help people that really need it and solve the problems of importance, the problem is that Bush is not going to take the troops out. The big question is going to be how much more money is it going to be spend? what is the next president going to do, because if you keep the troops in Irak the money is going to continue going up and up so the amount is going to be amazing.

  16. isaline says:

    I think it would be interesting to see how much money the US gains by the oil they take…, and i am sure the numbers will be way higher than the money the spend in Iraq. i doubt a president would spend that much money just for the democracy of a country in the middle east, or to prevent terrorism…, after all, with no oil there is no country. However I agree that we should support the people who are giving up their lifes for the US, even though I do not agree tehy should be there!!

  17. mikulik says:

    I think that it is worth to spend those kind of money and if we need we should spent even more, but those money should help us to make the situtation better. If those money don´t make any difference we should really think what to do next. I dont think that anybody knows what to do. But it is true that is better to try and spend those huge money, that not doing anything and waiting for what is going to happen.

  18. miaaa says:

    Trying to protect the country is a good thing but I don’t think that risking thousand of peoples lives in a war is a good idea. spending this much for a war is no joke. i think they should pull out the troops as soon as possible because a lot of people are dying.

  19. peturfreyr says:

    2 Trillion dollars, I can not even imagine that amount… That money can be spent on more important things!! and I think that the U.S. should pull out the troops.

  20. anthonysasso says:

    I think that amount of money could have been spent in other stuff and that maybe too much is being spent in the war

  21. andrewg23 says:

    well i couldn’t really say much more than Abel did, i agree with her 100%. we can’t really hate on bush because we elected him as we thought he would be the best and it proved to be wrong. accept mistakes and move on, next time we won’t make the same mistake. But way to much is being spent on the war, and that is the cause for higher taxes and a crash in the market, well thats my opinion anyway

  22. carlossan717 says:

    I agree with anthony beacuse i mean 2 trillon dollars……. they could have done a lot more thigs that just spend them in war.

  23. aronj says:

    2 trillion dollars .. thats so much money just wasted in crap.. I mean what have they gotten out of this war. That so much money.. I mean u can feet almost all the children in the world that need food and live on rice, America could have given them two Mc’Donalds meals per day with that money. Thats alot better!

  24. maxmusician says:

    I think that 2 trillion dollars is too much for this war. This money could go on donation for sick people all over the world.

  25. M^_-rc says:

    Two trillion dollars is a ridiculous amount of money to spend. That money is now going to affect the population in future taxes and such for generations. The money cold have been used for something such as improving healthcare, reducing crime rates, creating jobs for unemployed people and much more.

  26. rfrankenberg says:

    I think that the cost of protecting American life is greater than that of $2 trillion. However, we are losing the life of many Americans because of this war effort. So, we are stuck in a lose-lose situation, which makes it very difficult for the president to pick either of these. It is just unfortunate that we are going to be losing lives in either situation.

  27. ethan104 says:

    2 trillion dollars is a lot of money, to much money to spend on a war. even though i think it was a bad idea to go to war in the first place, its not like we can just pull out now. so this 2 trillion dollars will probably in the long run turn out to be a lot more.

  28. eaoki says:

    2 trillion dollars is a lot but – if the people have a bright future ahead of them by using all this money I guess no one would really care once this country is in good condition. But if this does no good but make the conditions worse – they better start doing something else – which I don’t know + people would be furious

  29. xoxospartaxoxo says:

    This is an absurd amount of money to spend on a war in which we should never have been involved. Unfortunately, we all know that had the money not been spent on the war, it would never have been spent on all the other worthy programs. The media was not informing the public about the catastrophic costs of the war in the same way that they weren’t giving fair election coverage to Ron Paul. Mark my words, this is only the beginning. Vote for Ron Paul: Hope for America!

  30. xoxospartaxoxo says:

    And for you Abe, whoever you may be, I completely disagree with your argument. Bush is not trying his best to help the American people. He is trying to fill his pockets with money at the expense of the American people. And shame on the American people for voting him into office twice while knowing well his personal interests in the oil industry. And as far as the soldiers are concerned, young men and women who should have been enjoying their youth, they are released into the Middle East as no more than sacrificial lambs.

  31. jczinski says:

    I have to agree that 2 trillion dollars is an extremely high number and to think about all that money going into one thing is pretty ridiculous. I however agree with the war and feel that Bush is doing the right thing. I feel that the decision to fight in the Iraq war is a good decision because we are fighting terrorist who are a great threat to this country. Fighting terrorists over there is better than having them attack us over here. War is not cheap and if that money is used to protect this country than I support it.

  32. jnguonly says:

    Very interesting article, the numbers are pretty staggering.

  33. josesierra says:

    I read abel’s article and i think the same way. Good post abel.

  34. josesierra says:

    abel’s comment*

  35. xoxospartaxoxo says:


  36. csmlakar09 says:

    The article really puts into perspective the significant amount of money needed to support our war on terror. Although statements such as the “money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children for a year” are mind-blowing and blatantly suggest alternative ways in which the US could utilize national income, we need to finish what we started. If $2,000,000,000 is what is needed to stand for what our founding father’s believed in, freedom, the amount is inevitable.

  37. stephenkimsey says:

    xoxospartaxoxo………I do not know who you are but how is President Bush ignorant? Or are you just saying what you have heard other people saying….

  38. kanhai330 says:

    Abel comment was really good. Putting all the money into one thing sucha s the War is pretty stupid. With so much money we can help decrease poverty, increase health care and overall make the world a better place.

  39. rachelwilliams says:

    I think putting the money into the war is smart because it lowers the chances of having another large attack a lot. If we had another large attack it would probably cost more and take more time to recover.

  40. dirkr says:

    I personally agree with the world famous “Abel’s Comment”. He has some very good points about the use of this money and what the government is doing.

  41. melh716 says:

    Wow so I think that this is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a war that we should not be in. But since we are in it, we might as well spend as much as we need to so we can get out of the Middle East as quickly as possible. Also, this may help in preventing another attack which is a lot worse than spending that much money.

  42. xoxospartaxoxo says:

    Stephen, obviously you don’t know me. If you did, you would know that I march to my own drummer. Do you not recall the Downing Street Memo of 2002? How about the Guantanamo Bay abuses? How about Halliburton’s contract to construct a new jail in Guantanamo? How about the human rights violations in Abu Ghraib? And, adding insult to injury, how about Bush’s administration’s cuts in the budget that directly impact veterans’ benefits? Who’s ignorant now?

  43. sallywatson says:

    I liked Ben’s comment. The war has caused chaos in fragile region and has caused more hatred to America making it even less safe than it was before. People in the Middle East have been at war for centuries, different tribes against different tribes-you can’t just go in there and expect them to adopt the American lifestyle or anything close to it-it’s just not their way of life!

  44. sadie011 says:

    2 trillion dollars is more money than we should of spent on a war. This war is putting a huge debt in our nations dept. I think we need to get out of the war really fast, and by staying in this war we are just wasting our money and putting America in debt.

  45. maxxx13 says:

    I believe that the war in Iraq, althought it is horrible and costs lots of money and lives, i believe that it is necessary. I do not think that there is any other way that this problem can be solved due to the fact that the opposite side is unable to agree on reasonable terms. The 2 trillion dollars that are being spent on the war are necessary for the resolution of the problem. To sum up, although 2 trillion could have been spent on other things and could have been used to help problems in America, the war is unfortunately necessary and thus so is the 2 trillion!

  46. frizzibschorer says:

    I agree with maxxx13. I think that the U.S. has to go through the war now. The U.S. could not just get out of the war after they started it. I am not sure whether it was right to start it, but no problem (not even the money) would be solved by stopping the war now. The entire American industry is probably focused on weapon production, and what are they going to do if the war suddenly stopps?

  47. shaaz says:

    I would like to disagree with some points which were brought up in Abel’s article.He mentioned that the U.S. was helping lessen the chances of another terror attack by staying on the offensive in Iraq. As i believe, not one of the hijacking terrorists was actually from Iraq. As far as i am concerned, they are taking advantage of Iraq’s military frailties as they have not once attacked Saudi Arabia despite 15 of the 19 terrorists being Saudi. Secondly, i think the war has made the U.S.A even more vulnerable to attack from fundamentalist groups. These groups are not rooted to one nation and the Iraq war has definitely not made them feel kindly towards U.S.A. Thus, i believe the lives and money that have been lost during this war have not been rightfully sacrificed.

  48. jjthornhill says:

    I totally agree with Shaz and Sparta. The President’s scetchy agreement with Halliburton and his relations with oil are his way to get more money. The 2 trillion dollars spent on the war can be spent on more better things….And thankyou Shaz for pointing out the fact that 15 out of the 19 hijackers are from saudi….yet the news says that we think Al queda is in Iraq. Blah blah blah. We need to get out while we are behind!!!

  49. luisthiele says:

    Hi guys first of all nice comment Abel. And i totaly agre with everybody 2 trilion dollars is too much for something stupid like this war that is justing killing people and is not doing anuthing for both nations. I also think that Bush should spend this money with education,homeless peole but not with because violence just generetes violence.

  50. jackdaru33 says:

    Two trillion dollars is alot of money to be spent on any war. I believe that Bush should have brought the troops home and spent the money on different problems here in the U.S. It seems that the progress we have made in Iraq is not worth the amount of deaths that have taken place.

  51. joanap says:

    The war in Iraq has caused a lot of damage, and chaos in such a small country, and in a war that we are not supposed to be involved in. The war has generated more hatred towards the US and has made it an even less safe country that what it was. The countries of the Middle East have been fight forever, and the US or an other country can just go there and invade it and expect for them to adopt all the Americans ways or stop any of the fighting. Also 2 trillions dollars is more than enough money that was spent. This war is putting a huge debt in the US. And also all of the money that is now going towards the war, could be used otherwise such as donated, used to solve other issue. And I bet most of the money that is being collected is not even being used for the war.

  52. burcekurkan says:

    even though I know so less about american politics, ı can’t understand that why americans still support bush, like choosing him 2 times… so they also should think about that they chose him and should be respectful to that.

  53. jordanrizzo90 says:

    Bush is smart for putting money into defending our country from terrorism but he did it in the wrong place. Iraq was never a major threat to the United States as far as terrorism is concerned if he was going to sink that much money into something I think it should be for finding Osama Bin Laden who is the major conspirator in many recent attacks against the US. There is no possible way Bush will invade Saudi Arabia because they are one of our major oil importers and clearly Bush cares more about his oil than the lives of Americans. This country was founded on the concept that the government was chosen for the people and by the people, where did that go let the american public decide, I think the people who voted for Bush are smarter than Bush himself.

  54. rebeccagraff says:

    I think that 2 trillion dollars is a lot of money, and it could have been spent on other things. But I think that the US can not just get out of the war, when they started it. On the same time the money is probably worth to spend, to get us one step closer to an end of the horrible war.

  55. Leo Gomez says:

    That is a big amount of money to be spent in a war that is considered, by many, unecessary. I think this war should not be happening, but as we have seen in many american history classes, it is a very complicated situation. The only way this war can end is by an agreement by both sides, what seems to be far away from happening. Not only the money spent will be a big loss but also the lives of soldiers, inocent people…

  56. rebeccagraff says:

    I think that it is a lot of meny to be spend in the war. But on the same time if that is what is takes to take us one step closer to a solution, I think it is worth it.

  57. stephieritchey says:

    Wow I had no idea that it involved so much money. I can only imagine all that could be done in the US with that money. Its pretty sad. Good article though.

  58. rebeccagraff says:

    That is a lot of money involved, but if that is what it takes to take the war one step closer to a solution I think it is worth it.

  59. rebeccagraff says:


  60. filippopoma says:

    WOW i cant believe how much money that is and all spent with this…….could off odne alot of help if it wasnt spent in war ! nice article !

  61. filippopoma says:

    I dont think that many people are aware of how much the war is taking,,,, as Stephie said it could have done so much help, but thinking that its all to the war it is pretty sad.

  62. filippopoma says:

    Wow i dont think that many people know how much money is beeing spent on the war, and this article explains that….. like stephie said it is sad that it wasnt for something good.

  63. jjthornhill says:

    Abel, I am sorry to say this but President Bush was not supposed to win the 2000 election. The voting miscount caused for uncounted votes, as well as the republican based U.S. supreme court to reverse the decision to recount the votes in Florida. So basically, we did not vote for Mr. President for two consecutive elections; it was a mistake. Second, the war in Iraq should not even be going on in the first place. Bush said that there MIGHT be “weapons of mass destruction” for Osama in Iraq and the U.S. got the information from a German spy who even the German’s themselves did not trust. Then, he sends Halliburton to do a job they are not even prepared to do, all because Cheney and the Bush family have huge investments in Halliburton. So overall, he is involved in a “War to protect our selves from terrorists” that does not even exist…..all to grab a few extra bucks….or may I say trillions of bucks?

  64. xoxospartaxoxo says:

    Well said, John. Bravo!

  65. lexare24 says:

    I’m planning on commenting again on this post once I have some time, because I feel like right now I can’t put my actual thoughts into it. I have no time right now and honestly I’m pretty much blogging just so that I can get the credit. HOWEVER, I personally don’t agree with the war at all, so ANY amount of money that we spend on it, let alone, trillions of dollars, is ridiculous in my mind. The intentions that we have for being over in Iraq are not valid ones, and it doesn’t seem like we have a solid plan. I mean seriously, do we think that we can eliminate terrorism AND create complete democracy in a country that has been based on the extreme opposite for so long? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be helping out over there, I just think that it should be in more productive ways and I think that a lot of that money should be spent on things that we can improve here in our own lives in the US.

  66. samkoonce says:

    I think 2 trillion dollars a ridiculous amount however it is enough. We should not spend any more on the war. I think we have done our job in Iraq and they are ready to start over. We have been there long enough, supplied their government with enough knowledge on how to run a country and they are ready. So pull out of Iraq and don’t spend another cent.

  67. stephenkimsey says:

    Sparta, obviously you if you think this is the first time the government or President has done stuff like this in times of war and crisis. But yea I mean its no big deal just letting these guys roam around planning more attacks to kill people around the world.
    So were all the votes that were “not counted” for Gore?

  68. we’ll continue the debate in class….

    COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED. Thanks for sharing your opinions everyone.

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