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Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times the peacetime rate) but also the cost of caring for thousands of wounded veterans—for the rest of their lives. Shifting to a global focus, the authors investigate the cost in lives and economic damage within Iraq and the region. Finally, with the chilling precision of an actuary, the authors measure what the U.S. taxpayer's money would have produced if instead it had been invested in the further growth of the U.S. economy. Written in language as simple as the details are disturbing, this book will forever change the way we think about the war.


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Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times the peacetime rate) but also the cost of caring for thousands of wounded veterans—for the rest of their lives. Shifting to a global focus, the authors investigate the cost in lives and economic damage within Iraq and the region. Finally, with the chilling precision of an actuary, the authors measure what the U.S. taxpayer's money would have produced if instead it had been invested in the further growth of the U.S. economy. Written in language as simple as the details are disturbing, this book will forever change the way we think about the war.

30 review for The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict

  1. 5 out of 5

    Aliya

    I bought this book yesterday and finished it in 24 hours, as I could not put it down. Stiglitz is not only a skilled economist, but also a great scribe who speaks the truth. The book begins with an eye opening preface, written with the American reader in mind. For the average arm chair American, who has no clue about the rest of the world and who imagines middle eastern nations as deserts where camels abound, this book very skillfully builds upon the media propaganda to present an enlightened view I bought this book yesterday and finished it in 24 hours, as I could not put it down. Stiglitz is not only a skilled economist, but also a great scribe who speaks the truth. The book begins with an eye opening preface, written with the American reader in mind. For the average arm chair American, who has no clue about the rest of the world and who imagines middle eastern nations as deserts where camels abound, this book very skillfully builds upon the media propaganda to present an enlightened view of the whole situation. Stiglitz and Bilmes build up their case beginning with the actual cost of the war for the taxpayer-who happens to be the reader. This is the best way to engage the reader who may otherwise not be critical of the war. They then make a case for the veterans for whom the average American would feel a moral obligation. Finally, they go on to explain the hidden costs on the budget and the economy overall. Once the picture for America is complete, and the average reader finds shocking facts about the war, they then move on to the bigger or global picture. The authors then explain the war's astounding devastation for Iraq and Iraqis and how it was morally, economically and militarily wrong. The candid and courageous writing, boldly opposes the war, making very good arguments about better alternatives which would have been productive. They also make a clear case of moral equivalence when referring to Iraqi and American deaths. Finally they explain how this war has adversely affected the entire world and how it has hurt American prestige and standing the world over. In my opinion the writing very skillfully prepares the average American to fully understand the complete picture of the far reaching consequences of this unjust war.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leonard

    Only one thing need be said about this informative and important book. No matter how bad you thought the Bush Administration was, reading this book and Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side" about the use of torture, one right after the other as I did, will convince you that that W was much worse than anyone realized and may have done irreparable damage to our country. Only one thing need be said about this informative and important book. No matter how bad you thought the Bush Administration was, reading this book and Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side" about the use of torture, one right after the other as I did, will convince you that that W was much worse than anyone realized and may have done irreparable damage to our country.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    No matter what figure people give me for the cost of the Iraq War, I always say, It must be more than that. Even now, with this dramatic total by a Nobel Prize economist, I say, It must be more than that. And we will be paying approaching forever.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    Joseph Stiglitz, co-author of this book, has street cred, since he is a Nobel laureate. That said, I suspect that there will be predictable responses to this book. Those who oppose the war will love it; those who support the Iraq War will be displeased. That is unfortunate in that, even though Stiglitz and co-author Linda Bilmes are clearly anti-war and anti-Bush, there are still many useful contributions of this book, as it addresses its purpose (Page xvii): "Our goal was simple: to determine t Joseph Stiglitz, co-author of this book, has street cred, since he is a Nobel laureate. That said, I suspect that there will be predictable responses to this book. Those who oppose the war will love it; those who support the Iraq War will be displeased. That is unfortunate in that, even though Stiglitz and co-author Linda Bilmes are clearly anti-war and anti-Bush, there are still many useful contributions of this book, as it addresses its purpose (Page xvii): "Our goal was simple: to determine the true cost of the war. regardless of whether one supported or opposed U.S. actions in the region, we believed that voters had a right to know the real cost of our policies." The authors note that four factors have pushed increased direct spending in Iraq and Afghanistan and, overall, the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism): costs of increased number of troops; rising cost of personnel (military forces plus contractors); increasing cost of fuel; keeping equipment in working condition and replacing deteriorated equipment. However, the authors also note that these direct costs of the conflict understate what the actual cost is (and will be). The costs not showing up in official budget numbers: cost of over 4,000 dead troops; the large number of casualties and the care that will be needed to address their injuries; interest payments on the borrowing for the war. They also note that it is difficult to calculate actual costs because the national government accounting system is phony, and would not be tolerated in the private sector. The "cash accounting" system actually hides future costs. They conclude their estimate that the real costs of the war will be around $3 trillion. As they estimate costs in area after area, they note that (Page 55) "There is a simple message in this book, one that needs to be repeated over and over again: there is no free lunch, and there are no free wars." Pages 57-59 lay out their estimated budgetary costs of the war, category by category. Following chapters examine issues such as the cost of caring for veterans, costs of war that the government doesn't pay (e.g., lost productive capacity of those Americans killed or seriously wounded or suffering mental health problems, and so on), macroeconomic effects of the war (e.g., rising price of oil, opportunity costs of funds not being available for other socially useful projects, borrowing for the war crowds out money available for domestic investment [the tally of such costs shows up on page 130:]), other costs imposed on the global community (e.g., costs to Great Britain). They conclude with a series of lessons that they believe should lead to reforms, to reduce the odds of such an "adventure" in the future. Some of the suggestions are budgetary, others are structural (making sure that Congress has accurate and relevant information so that it can serve its original role on checks and balances with the President). This is a good book in that it provides what seem to be some reasonable estimates of the actual cost of the war. There are some problems, though, too. For one, there is at some places political naiveté. For instance, among opportunity costs, they cite the less money is available for important policies such as education, roads, and research. Question: Would such funding be provided, given the political currents in the United States? The fact that funds might be freed up does not mean that they will be spent on such projects as those noted by the authors. Also, their critical orientation toward the President and war almost automatically mean that some readers will turn off in terms of considering the many useful aspects of their work. Finally, while I am not overly optimistic about the end result of our Iraqi involvement, to say that it must be a failure is a bit too cocky a statement to me. I am somewhat pessimistic, but none of us can foresee the future. . . . Anyhow, this is an important work, rather dry in its style but readable enough.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    The Iraq Conflict is a war based not on one lie but on many. Of all the lies that were used to justify the war, the most expensive was the way in which the true costs were concealed to the public. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes came up with a conservative to mid-range estimate that includes not only the direct costs, but also the future social costs and macroeconomic costs. The authors meticulously calculate the social costs, potentially the largest and longest lasting. The US military has suc The Iraq Conflict is a war based not on one lie but on many. Of all the lies that were used to justify the war, the most expensive was the way in which the true costs were concealed to the public. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes came up with a conservative to mid-range estimate that includes not only the direct costs, but also the future social costs and macroeconomic costs. The authors meticulously calculate the social costs, potentially the largest and longest lasting. The US military has succeeded in reducing mortality rates of its own troops. many injuries that would have been fatal in previous wars instead result in severe lifetime disabilities. This unintended consequence is perhaps the greatest scandal, where the administration has sought to avoid responsibility for those who are not only removed from the work force, but also will require medical attention for decades. Another scandal is the way in which inflated contracts are given to Halliburton and other cronies of the administration. Again, it is difficult to gather all the data. Based on the authors' estimates, contractors are receiving several times the cost of those same services performed by active military personnel. Rather than saving money, privatization of military services drives up costs. Vice President Cheney is enriched at the expense of future generations of taxpayers. Stiglitz and Bilmes do a reasonable job of estimating the macroeconomic consequences. Because the war is being fought at the same time taxes were cut, the deficit is soaring and interest costs are growing. The price will be paid for years to come. By grossly underestimating the cost--even with the most optimistic assumptions--the other falsehoods used to justify the invasion were easier to swallow. Another false assumption was that the oil revenues would pay for reconstruction. Instead, petroleum capacity was removed by the conflict and oil prices have gone up as a result, as anyone who buys gas knows. The current economic conditions are very much tied to the costs of the war. The authors conclude with a number of reforms that they recommend. All require a realistic acceptance that we are at war and will be for some time to come. If anyone doubts that it has become far too easy for the United States to go to war, perhaps this will be persuasive. The US accounts for almost half of all expenses for armaments purchased in the world. Instead of making the US more safe and bringing about peace, such expenditures have had a destabilizing influence and has led to growing conflict. As anyone who has traveled abroad knows, the US has lost tremendous support by its unilateral actions. If anything, the authors underestimate the economic cost to the US in the loss of goodwill. Similarly, the costs to Iraqis and others involved in the conflict appears to be too low. It is very possible that the cost will be much higher than the book's title suggests. This is a grim, but necessary book for anyone who works for peace.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vincent

    Interesting book on the actual costs of the war. Most part of the book the costs are explained and described, unfortunately only little is written on the political process that drove these costs. Especially this part I would be most interested in. The authors do talk about the process in the end, but only to share their recommendations on changing this process for the future.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex King

    I'm still working on this one! I'm still working on this one!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Luis

    Stiglitz and Bilmes horrifyingly yet magnificently shatter all doubt about corruption and negligence in the Iraq War. Their book should be required reading at every college and university.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    The Three Trillion Dollar War is a wake up call for all Americans, or at least it should be. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel winner in Economics, and his colleague Linda Bilmes, make a compelling statistical and even conservative estimate of the cost of the Iraq war, with some Afghanistan information thrown in for good measure. It's truly startling. To be upfront about things, they are extremely critical of the Bush administration for getting us into this disaster, so they're probably left of center, b The Three Trillion Dollar War is a wake up call for all Americans, or at least it should be. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel winner in Economics, and his colleague Linda Bilmes, make a compelling statistical and even conservative estimate of the cost of the Iraq war, with some Afghanistan information thrown in for good measure. It's truly startling. To be upfront about things, they are extremely critical of the Bush administration for getting us into this disaster, so they're probably left of center, but that can't diminish the actual statistics. First things first, though. They write on page 55 that "There is a simple message of this book... there is no free lunch, and there are no free wars. In one way or another, we will pay these bills." Yep, that's what you get for borrowing to fund an unnecessary war. Brilliant. The authors work with a best case scenario and a "realistic" scenario in everything they do. In discussing the realistic cost to the lifetime treatment of the VA for disabled veterans, one of the war's largest expenses, they argue that medical costs to veterans "will be $285 billion, $388 in disability benefits, and $44 billion in Social Security compensation, bring the total long-term cost to the US government to $717 billion." Quite a ways off from the original $50 billion figure throw out by Bush for the total cost of the war. Another expense -- using the National Guard and Reserve. "'The high use of the National Guard for federal overseas missions has reduced equipment available for its state-led domestic missions, at the same time it faces an expanded array of threats at home.' ... THE GAO estimates that as much as 44 percent of [their] equipment now needs servicing or replacement [as of 2007]. The full economic costs of the National Guard and Reserve deployment are thus far greater than any difference between what these individuals were paid and what they would have otherwise produced. When they are deployed overseas, we lose, of course, the enormously valuable services they provide in an emergency...." The authors try to discuss the economic cost to the country what the loss of these veterans mean, as well as family members who have to quit their jobs to care for their disabled loved ones. One more severely wounded veteran is one more individual who cannot contribute to this country's economy. Replacing military equipment, as just indicated, is another cost of the war, since the military burned through equipment six times faster than when at peacetime. In the "Macroeconomic Effects of the Conflicts" chapter, the authors argue that wars are actually bad -- not good - for the economy. Further, "the numbers are staggering.... the total for Iraq is more than $4 trillion; including Afghanistan, it increases to $5 trillion." Without interest. Stunning. Not only are there costs to the US, but there are costs to Iraq and the rest of the world, which the authors address. They cite a Johns Hopkins study that, as of July 2006, put the increase in Iraqi fatalities at 654,965 and estimated that by March 2010, it will exceed one million. They then "conservatively" project two million injured. Honestly, Bush should be tried for crimes against humanity for the evils he was guilty of in starting and running this BS, unnecessary war that was originally begun with lies and deceit. Of course, the rest of the world started to take a hard look at America, and a Pew Survey "showed that in every country surveyed, the US presence in Iraq was viewed as a greater threat to world peace than North Korea. In short, all over the world, the United States was viewed as a greater danger than the countries President Bush included in his 'axis of evil'." Perhaps even worse, "While we were focusing on weapons of mass destruction that did not exist in Iraq, North Korea acquired such weapons. Many analysts believe that our distraction in Iraq not only provided North Korea with an opportunity, which it seized, but that we provided North Korea with strong incentives: once it acquired these weapons, it would be more difficult for America to launch an attack.... Similarly, our willingness to strike preemptively against Iraq has delivered a clear message to Iran: the best way to deter US military intervention is to develop a nuclear deterrent. Indeed, many analysts have concluded that the primary beneficiary of US action in Iraq has been Iran, which is in a stronger geopolitical position than it has been for a long time." The authors are also quite hard on the use of contractors in Iraq and the ensuing expenses of such contractors. War profiteering it's called. They finally argue that oil is the primary reason behind the war. "Oil has been at the center of the war from the onset. Many believe we went to war to get an assured supply of inexpensive oil for the United States and its oil companies." Of course, the price of oil went from $25 a barrel pre-war to over $100 a barrel in 2007, right about the time the book was published. Pretty amazing. They quote Larry Lindsey, head of Bush's National Economic Council, as saying that "The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy" and Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, as saying "If Saddam Hussein had been head of Iraq and there was no oil under those sands, our response to him would not have been as strong as it was in the first Gulf War." In the final chapter on methodologies used to find the figures in the book, the authors write, "Virtually all economists are agreed on two propositions. The first is that there is no such thing as a free lunch: While the Bush administration may have tried to persuade the American people that it could fight a war without any economic sacrifices, economists know otherwise. The second is that because Bush tried to fight the war without increasing taxes, the Iraq war has displaced private investment and/or government expenditures, including investments in infrastructure, R&D, and education; they are less than the would otherwise have been. The result is that the economy's future potential and actual output over the long term will be lower...." This is a really comprehensive book that I could only briefly address without re-writing it word for word. At times, it's boring, but it's also startling in the information it conveys and the seriousness of such information. We're going to be paying for this war for generations to come, and Bush never took that into account, especially as he lowered taxes while spending unbelievable amounts on this stupid war. I hate that man (and Cheney too). They destroyed this country, they destroyed the good that Clinton did, and they're not being held accountable, which I think is a crime in itself. And Romney wanted to invade Iran. Why are Republicans so damn stupid? War hawks! This book should be a must read for every American who wants to be fully informed about the actual costs of the Iraq war and what it means for our country, now and in the future. Seriously recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Saul Richardson

    Three Trillion Dollars. That's only the tip of the iceberg. This book came out in 2008 and its numbers are prepared for if the United States was to leave Iraq in 2012. Even then, they acknowledge many times that that number doesn't even cover it all. I'm not really a numbers guy. But I have been accused of "not understanding economics" whenever I claim that money should be spent on productive things like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Well this Nobel Prize in Economics winning author Three Trillion Dollars. That's only the tip of the iceberg. This book came out in 2008 and its numbers are prepared for if the United States was to leave Iraq in 2012. Even then, they acknowledge many times that that number doesn't even cover it all. I'm not really a numbers guy. But I have been accused of "not understanding economics" whenever I claim that money should be spent on productive things like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Well this Nobel Prize in Economics winning author shows all his work, with tons of reliable citations, that the United States actively ignores economics when it comes to war. He also proposes 18 reforms at the end of the book to help prevent the absolutely ridiculous amount if "mistakes" that were made relating to this illegal war. I don't want to hear "how are we going to pay for it" for productive things to help Americans whenever that question is never asked about war. The number of dead and wounded may not speak to many Americans, but money does, and here's the math. I recommend for sure. "Going to war is not to be undertaken lightly. It is an act that should be undertaken with greater sobriety, greater solemnity, greater care, and greater reserve than any other. Stripped of the relentless media and government fanfare, the nationalist flag-waving, the reckless bravado, war is about men and women brutally killing and maiming other men and women. The costs live on long after the last shot has been fired." #books #history #IraqWar

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mobeen warraich

    A little dry but interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sbarbarar

    I'd love to see the update from Mr. Stiglitz as these costs still persist. Everyone should read or revisit each election year. I'd love to see the update from Mr. Stiglitz as these costs still persist. Everyone should read or revisit each election year.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Simon Wood

    THE TRUE COST OF DESTROYING IRAQ Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have being doing their sums with regard to the total cost of the War in Iraq to the United States. The result is an accessible and readable account which makes the sums straightforward and the reasons and assumptions they have used are made clear to the reader - indeed it is evident that their estimate is on the low side. Stiglitz, a writer I for one have a good deal of time for, is an economist whom some would understandably pigeo THE TRUE COST OF DESTROYING IRAQ Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have being doing their sums with regard to the total cost of the War in Iraq to the United States. The result is an accessible and readable account which makes the sums straightforward and the reasons and assumptions they have used are made clear to the reader - indeed it is evident that their estimate is on the low side. Stiglitz, a writer I for one have a good deal of time for, is an economist whom some would understandably pigeon hole as a reformist and this comes across in his writings. I dont think he completely appreciates the level of mendacity and the aims of the conservative right with regard to government. They are not at all disturbed at the disarray of public finances in the U.S. and are quite happy to see goverment spending on social programs and business regulation cut to make payments on the immense public deficit they have bequeathed future citizens of the U.S. Saying that - he does pay some attention to the financial and human effects of the War with regards to Iraq, Britain and indeed the World in general. His appreciation of the size of the health problem that U.S. troops are incurring is deep and his castigating of the Bush administration record on this is suitably caustic. He also looks into the explosive growth of private contractors, the effect on cost of oil, the weak congressional oversight of the war and its costs and other related issues. I'd thoroughly reccomend it and other Stiglitz writings, he maybe a bit niave about the prospects for change but his writing is sharp and has a good deal of integrity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    The true cost of the Iraq War is $3 trillion—and counting—rather than the $50 billion projected by the White House. Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times the peace The true cost of the Iraq War is $3 trillion—and counting—rather than the $50 billion projected by the White House. Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times the peacetime rate) but also the cost of caring for thousands of wounded veterans—for the rest of their lives. Shifting to a global focus, the authors investigate the cost in lives and economic damage within Iraq and the region. Finally, with the chilling precision of an actuary, the authors measure what the U.S. taxpayer's money would have produced if instead it had been invested in the further growth of the U.S. economy. Written in language as simple as the details are disturbing, this book will forever change the way we think about the war.

  15. 4 out of 5

    sheena d.

    an impressive attempt to quantify the damage and costs of the current wars. includes a response to critics at the end. loads of numbers. split into a conservative estimate and a best-case scenario estimate. lots of numbers and explanations. you can grasp most of the information by just reading the first few chapters. recommended for anyone who just wants to consider the long-term costs of: veteran support, new weapons, an inability to respond to other issues because all resources are tied up, lo an impressive attempt to quantify the damage and costs of the current wars. includes a response to critics at the end. loads of numbers. split into a conservative estimate and a best-case scenario estimate. lots of numbers and explanations. you can grasp most of the information by just reading the first few chapters. recommended for anyone who just wants to consider the long-term costs of: veteran support, new weapons, an inability to respond to other issues because all resources are tied up, lowered standards for military admissions, the intelligence lost to contractors, and accountability/respectability/control/independence lost because of contractors, and much more.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    This was a good book with a lot of excellent points and sobering look at the numbers. Of course I trust that someone with Stiglitz's credentials has provided accurate information, and if so this book puts some serious numbers on some mis-handlings of funds you may have already expected. That said I felt that the book droned on a bit and repeated numbers a bit, and I felt myself attention drifting away from the book when the numbers got to be too much, even for an economics book. Book could have This was a good book with a lot of excellent points and sobering look at the numbers. Of course I trust that someone with Stiglitz's credentials has provided accurate information, and if so this book puts some serious numbers on some mis-handlings of funds you may have already expected. That said I felt that the book droned on a bit and repeated numbers a bit, and I felt myself attention drifting away from the book when the numbers got to be too much, even for an economics book. Book could have gotten its points across a little more concise in my opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Uresk

    I thought this was an interesting and well-researched look at the true cost of this stupid war we were sold. It shows not only the economic costs, but also the opportunity costs (what we could have done with the money we've wasted). My only complaint is that it felt like some of the chapters started off with good economic analysis and then ended in repetitive political rants (even though I agree with them). Overall, an excellent book. I thought this was an interesting and well-researched look at the true cost of this stupid war we were sold. It shows not only the economic costs, but also the opportunity costs (what we could have done with the money we've wasted). My only complaint is that it felt like some of the chapters started off with good economic analysis and then ended in repetitive political rants (even though I agree with them). Overall, an excellent book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    The buzz about this book has focused on the authors' estimate of the true costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the bulk of the book is a discussion of those costs, but the final chapter is a set of recommended reforms that ought to be read by every citizen of the U.S. And then we all ought to write every Senator and Representative up for reelection in November and tell them that we will vote them out of office unless they pass these reforms. The buzz about this book has focused on the authors' estimate of the true costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the bulk of the book is a discussion of those costs, but the final chapter is a set of recommended reforms that ought to be read by every citizen of the U.S. And then we all ought to write every Senator and Representative up for reelection in November and tell them that we will vote them out of office unless they pass these reforms.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lise

    This was a mind-boggling and distressing read. I read it because I felt I should. It makes one wonder why we don't all rise up and demand our leaders be held accountable. Instead we'll be paying their pensions. but I digress. The book is organized so that you can get the picture in the first few chapters, and then read of for more of the analysis of the numbers if you like. It does feel good to have a handle on the numbers when you when you speak about the war. This was a mind-boggling and distressing read. I read it because I felt I should. It makes one wonder why we don't all rise up and demand our leaders be held accountable. Instead we'll be paying their pensions. but I digress. The book is organized so that you can get the picture in the first few chapters, and then read of for more of the analysis of the numbers if you like. It does feel good to have a handle on the numbers when you when you speak about the war.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    A very thorough and seemingly honest accounting of the current and future costs associated with the United States' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A little on the dry side, but I suppose that is to be expected with what amounts to a ledger. Economic costs of these wars is outlined in stark detail, with great pains taken to include all costs, including the costs of medical care and opportunity costs. Authors make a convincing case for withdrawal from Iraq sooner rather than later. A very thorough and seemingly honest accounting of the current and future costs associated with the United States' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A little on the dry side, but I suppose that is to be expected with what amounts to a ledger. Economic costs of these wars is outlined in stark detail, with great pains taken to include all costs, including the costs of medical care and opportunity costs. Authors make a convincing case for withdrawal from Iraq sooner rather than later.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ludovico

    this guys draft budgets as he was making traditional Florence embroidery: spectacular! a scrupulous and extremely conservative estimation of ALL (micro and macro economic, human, short and long term...) the hidden costs of the war usually medias never bother themselves to talk about. Also propositive with laws aimed to balance the distortion of the American system for going to war and to control the related abuses. The guy is a Nobel prize awarded economist. Respect.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Farfignugen

    A depressing examination of the inefficiency, lies, profiteering, and deceit that characterize the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Reading this book will likely make one lose all faith in the ability of our military to actually win the wars it fights. If it costs between 3 and 4 trillion dollars to fight a bunch of backwards savages out in the middle of nowhere - what would it cost to fight an *actual* country with a well-financed military, such as North Korea, China, Russia, or Iran?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shan

    fascinating study of the war by an economist that i respect. a lot of the economic pain that is happening today though is not because of the war but rather the dot com crash which led to loose credit policies which created the housing bubble that is now bursting all around us. The iraq war will come back to bite us economically 3 -5 years from now. Brace !

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This is a great book to great and lays out the costs and problems associated with trying to take over another country. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea in the first place. This book can not quantify the lifes lost and other greatly affected by the war. This is a great book to great and lays out the costs and problems associated with trying to take over another country. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea in the first place. This book can not quantify the lifes lost and other greatly affected by the war.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    It just infuriated me. Confirmed many beliefs about the insanity. Validated my fear about the upcoming election and the potential disaster if we elect someone who thinks it will be OK to be in Iraq for a hundred years. too depressing to finish.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dean Lisle

    For anyone who can't figure out on their own why the US is in a financial crisis, this work should help. Second only to the Banking and Wall Street plunder, the unpaid for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the worst financial and economic disaster since the 1930's. For anyone who can't figure out on their own why the US is in a financial crisis, this work should help. Second only to the Banking and Wall Street plunder, the unpaid for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the worst financial and economic disaster since the 1930's.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Moushumi Ghosh

    I reviewed this book for the Sunday Express. The writers conduct the post-mortem of an unnecessary war and show how many rules were flouted, broken and bent at the very top the US government to make this war happen. Read it to understand the mess that started much before the war did.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Fascinating - a must read!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Terry Clague

    'The budgetary cost to the UK of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2010 will total more than £18 billion. If we include the social costs the total impact will exceed £20 billion.' 'The budgetary cost to the UK of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2010 will total more than £18 billion. If we include the social costs the total impact will exceed £20 billion.'

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marta

    So far this book is just great!!!!!

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