The staggering cost of the war

March 20, 2008 12:41:03 AM PDT
Whenever this country goes to war, we measure the cost in American blood and treasure. In Iraq, both are adding up. Nearly 4,000 U.S. troops have died there so far and as for the money that's been spent, it may be a staggering and un-expected amount.

Gunshots are the sound of war and Iraqis have been hearing it for five years. On Wednesday, in the U.S. protester's chants could be heard in cities across the country.

"Chevron, Chevron you can't hide!" San Francisco protesters chanted.

In San Francisco, there were angry protests against those perceived to be benefiting from the war, including Chevron Oil.

According to the house budget committee, the war is costing roughly $600 billion dollars. $2.2 billion for veteran care, $34.2 billion on reconstruction, and more than $541 billion for military costs and equipment. By the time the war ends, the total cost could be $1 to $2 trillion dollars.

"The war in Iraq has come at significant cost to the American economy. It has led to a spike in oil prices resulting in massive deficit spending," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D).

Even the former Administrator for the Reconstruction of Iraq, Paul Bremer, admits he and President Bush misjudged how much it would cost to rebuild that country.

"It's absolutely clear that we did not understand how devastated Iraq's economy was. I found that was my biggest surprise when I arrived," Administrator Bremer.

As fears of a recession ripple through the U.S. economy, tax payer frustration boiled over on this fifth anniversary.

In Washington D.C., dozens of people blocked the entrance to the IRS building, saying it gathers taxes used to fund the war and in San Francisco's Financial District, protestors chained themselves together in front of the Federal Reserve Bank.

"We have to ask ourselves what's the cost of, what the cost would be of doing nothing," said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.

While the White House insists, planning a war is never an exact science, the price the world would pay if Al Qaida found a safe haven in Iraq, they say, would be beyond calculation.