Their View: Costs will grow until American's decide that's enough
When it comes to casualties in the war in Iraq, no one can put a price on human life. But the cost in taxpayer dollars of U.S. military operations there continues to rise to gargantuan proportions.
According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress already has appropriated $437 billion for war, not including $70 billion approved by the Senate as part of next year's record-breaking Pentagon budget. That's half a trillion dollars - about three-quarters of it for Iraq, 20 percent for Afghanistan and 5 percent for increased security against terrorism at other foreign bases.
The fighting in Afghanistan, home of the Taliban and training ground of the 9/11 terrorists, is one thing. But an increasing number of Americans see Iraq as a war we can no longer afford. Either way, the fiscal burden will be felt for generations because the cost is being applied daily to the nation's budget deficit.
More than 2,700 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some 20,000 others have been wounded. We would not presume to trivialize their sacrifice by placing a dollar value on the mayhem, but how many more lives may be put in jeopardy when the growing cost of the Iraq war crowds out spending for, say, a new cancer drug?
These are the real costs that will multiply under an administration that has the nation stuck in an open-ended commitment, with no thought to the long-range consequences. And these costs will continue to grow until the American people decide they've had enough.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette