Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lots of Lucre For Defense Contractors

The defense contractors are loving this.

With the expected passage this spring of the largest emergency spending bill in history, annual war expenditures in Iraq will have nearly doubled since the U.S. invasion, as the military confronts the rapidly escalating cost of repairing, rebuilding and replacing equipment chewed up by three years of combat.

The war is getting progressively more expensive:

...(F)rom $48 billion in 2003 to $59 billion in 2004 to $81 billion in 2005 to an anticipated $94 billion in 2006, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The U.S. government is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, a new Congressional Research Service report found.

Annual war costs in Iraq are easily outpacing the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today's dollars.

That's really saying something, considering that we had over 500,000 troops in Vietnam for a big chunk of that time.

Defense officials and budget analysts point to a simple, unavoidable driver of the escalating costs. The cost of repairing and replacing equipment and developing new war-fighting materiel has exploded. In the first year of the invasion, such costs totaled $2.4 billion, then rose to $5.2 billion in 2004. This year, they will hit $26 billion, and could go as high as $30 billion, Kosiak said. On the other hand, at about $15 billion, personnel costs will drop 14 percent this year.

The big money people who are running the show are pushing the numbers up so precipitously because there is the increasing risk that the Iraq part of the looting of the Treasury may be getting truncated sooner than planned.

Of course, there will always be "bad guys" from which the American people will need "protecting." Even if they have to be created by our own actions in their neighborhood.


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