The Wages of War

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Linda Bilmes, of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, say we’re underestimating the cost of the war in Iraq in their new book The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.


Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz

Comments [47]

Barbara Ruether from Manhattan

I heard this program and almost cheered--finally someone has pulled back the curtains and exposed what our leaders and media refuse to discuss: who and how are dollars being paid for American reality of the U.S. at war (Afghanistan) along with our costly invasion and continued occupation of another nation (Iraq.
Does it not boggle the mind that it is our monies that pay for the military activities, equipment, etc and no one says so, in any forum, about why there are no monies available to pay for child health care, Medicaid monies from the feds to the states must be cut, no investments are made in infrastructure, or agencies that are supposed to protect our welfare from leaded toys and disease meat? There is NO MONEY BECAUSE OUR MONEY IS GOING TO THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, AND INTO THE POCKETS our "leaders" in the executive, and congress etc. The states must have balanced budgets by law, important services must be cut, including hospitals, clinics, food pantries, because the feds are taking our monies to pay for tax cuts and for the military industrial complex including Iraq, Afghanistan, KBR etc.
Why is this never discussed in terms of why the states and cities have to cut services to the constituents that are the commons???
Thank you for at least having the brief discussion with the authors of this book today.
I only wish that the comments above reflected the urgency of transparency in this nation.
Barbara Ruether (written without review, sorry!)

Mar. 09 2008 12:25 AM
Bruce B from NYC

Has anyone commenting here actually READ the book (I admit I haven't - yet). What gets me is not so much much its premise being challenged (debate is good - right?) but you can't just dismiss out of hand work by (in Stiglitz's case) a nobel prize winner and a former Chief Economist and SVP of the World Bank. Or Linda Bilmes, with positions as Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the US Department of Commerce, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Administration, and US Representative to a large handful of senior commisions. This doesn't make them right of course - but I think it gives a not inconsiderable weight to their arguments that require a little more response then "bulls**t".

Mar. 05 2008 04:52 PM
charles from nyc

there is money for war not for health care or education or help for the poor or funding social security please explain

Mar. 05 2008 11:54 AM
Jaime Delio (deli-o) from Queens

we forget that the cost of the war does not only involve Iraq. We are also engaged in Korea and Afghanistan. How much more do these engagements add to the bill?

Mar. 05 2008 11:47 AM
adam from brooklyn

The high price of oil, and the weak dollar both put lots of money in the friends, allies, and family of George Bush. The policies of this administration have insured that the price of oil will rise and that the value of the dollar will fall.
Why is that never made more of an issue?

Mar. 05 2008 11:45 AM
barry from manhattan

Well the bottom line is we are stating in Iraq and we are keeping Nafta.
Sorry Hillary and Obama. You are purposely misleading your supporters.

Mar. 05 2008 11:45 AM

take a breath everybody

Mar. 05 2008 11:43 AM
barry from manhattan

It was not possible to stop N Korea from doing its Atomic dance, short of invading.
Comparing that to Iraq( acountry weakened by years of Clinton sanctions) is misleading at best and fools no one.
Iraqs # was up,
The war was mismanaged. Period.
The point now is to get the oil flowing and keep working on opening Iran, Egypt, SA, ect to modernity.

Mar. 05 2008 11:42 AM
Katie from Queens

Can someone explain what is a superdelegate?

Mar. 05 2008 11:42 AM

Gee, I wonder why it is that war supporters either dismiss this analysis or impugn the motives of the authors. Instead, they should be arguing that the war is worth every penny (and life) it costs. Bwahahaha.

Mar. 05 2008 11:40 AM
barry from manhattan

Read Geldofs profile of Bush in time mag or is Bob just a drug addled hippie?

Mar. 05 2008 11:39 AM
Michael DuBick from Brooklyn, NY

Barry, how come the budget defecit has risen these past few years?

Mar. 05 2008 11:36 AM
Chris O from New York

"Incompetent" is different than "idiot", although both terms may apply to certain people.

Mar. 05 2008 11:36 AM
Chris O from New York

Yes #31 - this is a sexy blockbuster book that will make the authors big money. Clearly they wrote a book about the costs of Iraq so they could fill up their coffers. Don't you see the absurdity of your charge?!

Mar. 05 2008 11:35 AM
barry from manhattan

Cutting taxes raises tax revenue
It has been proven again and again.

Mar. 05 2008 11:35 AM
barry from manhattan

Read post # 12

Mar. 05 2008 11:34 AM
vinithehat from brooklyn

the purpose of this book is to sell books and make money. the purpose of their appearance on this show is to sell more of the books.

net profits of the book are going where?

to the bank.

Mar. 05 2008 11:33 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Barry Barry Barry

Yes spending the money fighting global warming is much better!

Yes spending the money on creating a health care system which covers all Americans in you Barry.

Yes spending the money on making our infrastructure more efficient and safer.

Yes spending the money on paying down our debt.

Just to name a FEW!

Mar. 05 2008 11:32 AM
Chris O from New York

Who called Bush an idiot? You are the only one calling people names, Barry.

Mar. 05 2008 11:32 AM
barry from manhattan

Things wear out.
What is the surprise?

Mar. 05 2008 11:32 AM
barry from manhattan

It is a BS comparison.
3 trillion over the life of the vetrans, what, 60 years>
What will our GDP be in 60 years. Care to guess.

Mar. 05 2008 11:31 AM
Michael DuBick from Brooklyn, NY

I would be interested to hear from all those who supported the war and Bush from the beginning AND who also champion tax cuts, and therefore, a diminished budget available to fight that war. Bush campained on the idea that it's the people' money. So what do the people want to spend their money on, war or SUV's?

Mar. 05 2008 11:31 AM
brett from NYC

Ha Ha

I have a feeling this 'cost' is not going to really cost us too much. The dollar is going to keep tanking and inflation will go up here and soon we'll all be earning $1,000,000,000 or more a year and our debts are going to look like peanuts!

The people we owe money to are the ones who are going to bear the cost.

That is the path we're on here.

Mar. 05 2008 11:30 AM
barry from manhattan

Bob Geldolf wrote an article about Bush. you should read it.
"Diary from the Road" in Time Mag

[Insult removed from this comment. Please be nice.]

Mar. 05 2008 11:29 AM
Chris O from New York

The purpose of the book is to inform people of the cost of the Iraq war. The result of this information is scary.

Mar. 05 2008 11:28 AM
bassman from Harlem

who cares about security?..give me the $3 trillion and i will secure myself sheesh

Mar. 05 2008 11:25 AM
George Showman from Red Hook, Brooklyn

Was there not a time when military service was considered to be an important part of the 'forming' (i.e. education) of a citizen? i.e. when did we switch from the military being a positive contribution to a young person's life, to it being as destructive as it currently seems?

Also, could we compare to a state like Israel where military service is required, and yet where all the people I've met who came out of the mandatory military service seemed to be improved by it?

Mar. 05 2008 11:24 AM
barry from manhattan

The purpose of your book is to scare people.

Mar. 05 2008 11:22 AM
barry from manhattan

Afghanistan has not been forgotten.

Mar. 05 2008 11:22 AM
barry from manhattan

There was a connection between Iraq and terrorism!
And they are there now.

[Name-calling removed. Please be nicer to each other.]

Mar. 05 2008 11:21 AM
markbnj from www.markbnj/ or

The point that they HAVEN't MADE yet is that:

besides the COST (in lives/dignity/support costs)
or loss to the economy of injured troops:

Despite what our politicians say:

WE WILL BE In IRAQ for the next 50 years MINIMUM.

We will have as many people there (50,000) as we have in korea.

It will be more expensive then KOREA and VIETNAM combined.

Mar. 05 2008 11:21 AM
barry from manhattan

How does estimating the cost of the war dignify the sacrifice of the military?
What a crock.

Mar. 05 2008 11:21 AM
norman from NYC

$3 trillion / 300 million people in the U.S. = $10,000 per capita.

Mar. 05 2008 11:20 AM
barry from manhattan

Would you rather spend the money on fighting global warming?

Mar. 05 2008 11:20 AM

Just to clarify the record: "The veterans fought for our country." Absolutely not. The military is fighting for W's ego and for oil corp profits. But all taxpayers must pay for the war, despite the fact that they are worse off as a consequence.

Mar. 05 2008 11:19 AM
Chris O from New York

Bush - plundering the budget, spending all of this on a war for oil and a message of our badassed-ness, transferring the money to his buddies in the military industrial complex (KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater etc). And it has been quite a folly of an exercise, exposing the limits of military power, leading to a humiliating experience for US might. And the incompetent continues cutting taxes and increasing spending at home. What a horribly incompetent man.

But on the bright side, I oppose US imperialism and Bush's ineffective imposition of it has been a great blow to that effort and a boon to all those who oppose it.

Mar. 05 2008 11:19 AM
barry from manhattan

Want to know one good thing about the war?
The US Military has changed its view of 5th gen warfare.
Next time they will be better prepared.
you see during the Clinton years the militarry was left "home alone" and built(invested) in one army while fighting conflicts with another.
That is being corrected.
And that is a very good thing.

Mar. 05 2008 11:18 AM

Re: your solutions --

McCain, Clinton or Obama?

Mar. 05 2008 11:18 AM

so you are speaking as economists.

would you "economically" approve of this war if it were much less expensive/paid for by arabs like the last one/made gasoline cheaper rather than more expensive?

Mar. 05 2008 11:18 AM
barry from manhattan

In comparative dollars this war is cost more than Korea?
I doubt it.

Mar. 05 2008 11:16 AM
barry from manhattan

3 trillion over what, the next 60, 70 years?
This book is meaningless.
How about comparing it to the GDP?

Mar. 05 2008 11:14 AM

We GET it. EXPENSIVE. Terrible.


Mar. 05 2008 11:12 AM
Matt from Manhattan (at the moment)

How much is the Embassy alone in Iraq costing?

Mar. 05 2008 11:10 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Can you name one positive thing that's come from the invasion.

What about the nearly 1 million Iraqis who've been killed due to the invasion?

Were they given the choice to give up their life for Sadam to be removed?

What about the US tax payer were they given the choice to pay a Trillion dollars for this invasion?

I'm sure if given the choice it would be NO.

Mar. 05 2008 10:42 AM

curious if the guests will say what you have michael.

Mar. 05 2008 10:28 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Of course this cost is BAD. (#1)

It's going to cost this country for decades.

The cost to the tax payer.

The cost to our foreign policy and making the world more dangerous.

There has not been an upside to this invasion.

Bush has also made us indentured servants to China since they are holding so much of our debt.

Not to mention Bush stated as fact that the Iraqi oil reserves would pay the US back for the invasion. This has been a blatant LIE.

The whole invasion for that matter has been a LIE.

Mar. 05 2008 09:24 AM

Are you suggesting that this cost is inherently bad?

If so -- solutions? I.e. recommendations for:

US Citizens;
Our Democratic Congress;
President (this and next);
U.S. Council of Economic Advisors;

Mar. 05 2008 08:46 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.