In his new book, The Three Trillion Dollar War, which Stiglitz co-authored with Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, they both argue that the cost of the two wars has been immensely underestimated.
When the US troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration said that the war would be self-financing and rebuilding the nation would cost less than $2 billion.
Both Stiglitz and Bilmes believe that when factors such as interest on debt, future borrowing for war expenses, continued military presence in Iraq, lifetime healthcare and counseling for veterans are added, the wars could range from $5 trillion to $7 trillion.
However, Stiglitz, whose book and its estimates were the subject of a hearing by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress on Thursday, was severely criticized by the White House Spokesman Tony Fratto saying, "People like Joe Stiglitz lack the courage to consider the cost of doing nothing and the cost of failure. One can't even begin to put a price tag on the cost to this nation of the attacks of 9/11."
"It is also an investment in the future safety and security of Americans and our vital national interests. ... What price does Joe Stiglitz put on attacks on the homeland that have already been prevented? Or doesn't his slide rule work that way?"
Meanwhile Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a decorated Marine Corps colonel and Vietnam veteran, praised the efforts by both Stiglitz and Bilmes to quantify the ways in which the wars will cost taxpayers and noted, "It's astounding that here we are about to mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and this administration still refuses to acknowledge the long-term costs of the war in Iraq."
Last Mod: 03 Mart 2008, 11:48