BUSH'S WARS: MORE EXPENSIVE THAN VIETNAM. Now here's a way Dems can argue against a possible war with Iran. Not long ago, during this site's informal debate about how Dems should handle the Iran question, Ezra rightly suggested that Dems level with Americans about the cost -- human and monetary -- of Iraq and potentially of Iran. Now we have new info that helps us make that case -- on the financial end, anyway -- in a devastatingly simple and convincing way.
When factoring in costs of the war in Afghanistan, the $811 billion total for both wars would have far exceeded the inflation-adjusted $549 billion cost of the Vietnam War. (Emphasis added.)
Bush is set to spend more on his wars than the cost of the entire Vietnam War. Yes, yes, I know, adjusted for inflation. Still, that was clearly the news in the CRS report. The Post buried the lede. Here's how the Independent, which analyzed the report slightly differently, presented the report -- its headline read, "Iraq war set to be more expensive than Vietnam."
In a sane world, this would be an absolutely devastating story. It evokes the desperation, the bottomless futility, and the unconscionable squandering of resources associated with America's last major foreign policy disaster -- and reminds us that Bush has brought us his own, potentially more wasteful misadventure. Now he's preparing for yet another one. I know that the "Bush is the wrong guy to launch another war" message is flawed in that it suggests that the executioner of the likely Iran war is the problem, rather than the idea itself. Nonetheless, the fact that Bush's wars are on track to cost more than Vietnam is an extraordinarily vivid illustration of the devastation that the commander in chief has wrought. When the White House starts seriously beating the drums on Iran, it's a reality that Americans deserve to be reminded of as often as possible.