In 2003 I carried a sign at a local protest demonstration against the impending war and occupation in Iraq: "How much will the war cost? $1 Trillion!" The lady waving a large American flag on the other side of the street shouted, "You're crazy! The war will pay for itself!"
At the time I was using the estimates of economist Joseph Stiglitz in an article in The New York Review of Books. An article in Politico makes earlier projections seem far too modest.
"The final bill for U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could be as high as $4.4 trillion, according to a comprehensive new report Tuesday.
In the 10 years since American troops were sent into Afghanistan, the federal government has already spent between $2.3 trillion and $2.7 trillion, say the authors of the study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies."
Stiglitz's own estimates, summarized on a Democracy Now! radio broadcast last fall, run $4 to $5 trillion, counting all of the war's costs to American society.
Today the patriotic lady who waved the flag so intensely is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps she a Tea Party activist demanding that the poor, sick, elderly, and students make "sacrifices" to pay for the nation's spiraling debt.