Since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden has implored terrorists on several occasions to strike targets that will harm the economy in the United States and elsewhere. But a man claiming to be Mr. bin Laden went even further in a tape-recorded statement released April 29, saying that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks devastated the American economy and the United States government's budget. For the first time, it appeared, Mr. bin Laden estimated the economic impact by citing specific statistics.
''After the strike of the New York blessed days, thanks to God, their losses exceed a trillion dollars,'' the recording said in assessing the overall damage to the American economy. ''Their budgets have been in deficits for the third year in a row.''
That was in 2004. Today comes this news:
The economic costs to the United States of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total approximately $1.5 trillion, according to a new study by congressional Democrats that estimates the conflicts' "hidden costs"-- including higher oil prices, the expense of treating wounded veterans and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars.
That amount is nearly double the $804 billion the White House has spent or requested to wage these wars through 2008, according to the Democratic staff of Congress's Joint Economic Committee. Its report, titled "The Hidden Costs of the Iraq War," estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have thus far cost the average U.S. family of four more than $20,000.
And who can forget this famous exchange in 2003:
BOB BARKER: Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Well, the Office of Management and Budget has come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden and how much would be other countries is an open question. I think the way to put it into perspective is that the estimates as to what September 11 cost the United States of America ranges high up into the hundreds of billions of dollars.
So, let's review Mr. Rumsfeld's argument:
A) The Iraq War will cost "something under $50 Billion", but WAIT!
B) "How much of that would be the U.S. burden and how much would be other countries is an open question." Sure $50 Billion sounds like a lot of money, but we're not even going to have to pay it all!
C)"I think the way to put it into perspective is that the estimates as to what September 11 cost the United States of America ranges high up into the hundreds of billions of dollars." You see? As long as the cost of the war does not exceed the cost of "hundreds of billions" to the country caused by the attacks of 9/11, we're cool.
By my count Rumsfeld got it spectacularly wrong on A, B, and C. And there were some (Wolfowitz) who argued the war would pay for itself with Iraqi oil revenues funding the war.
You know what else BushCo told us would pay for itself? Tax Cuts!