Friday, January 14, 2005

Hidden Costs

Those hundreds of billions of dollars that we are piling up in deficits in order to pay for this war aren't NEARLY the full cost. They aren't even preparing for the full cost. They aren't figuring in the extra furture costs from the fact that they have to replace trucks and equipment five times faster because of extra wear and tear, and that comes to billions of dollars.

Military officers say the administration's estimates do not include the investment that will be necessary to fix what they say they fear is becoming a broken ground force.

"We're going to be paying for this war for years to come," Representative Martin T. Meehan, a Lowell Democrat and member of the House Armed Services Committee, said by telephone yesterday from the Middle East, where he has been touring US military bases in Iraq. "We are not preparing for much of the cost."...

Yet the Bush administration's current practice of only asking Congress for money to cover the operating costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars does not account for the need to fund readiness for future missions.

"The cost of the war will continue for a decade," said Brett Lambert, a defense budget specialist at Defense Forecasters International, a Washington consulting firm. "The roughly $500 billion we spend annually on defense is just the retainer.

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