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Iraq war over

U.S. soldiers with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment patrol a new ditch they have dug to protect the base from attack on July 19, 2011 in Iskandariya, Babil Province Iraq.

Jeremy Hobson: Now to Iraq -- the news came in Friday that all U.S. troops will come home by the end of the year.

Our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale reports now on what that means for the federal treasury, and for the congressional super committee that's trying to find savings.


John Dimsdale: The U.S. was spending around $40 billion a year in Iraq. Will the super committee chalk that up as government savings? American University's Gordon Adams says probably.

Gordon Adams: It's going to be more of an accountant's trick than it is actual savings. But they may choose to do that.

Dan Goure: By the way Washington does math, you could do that, yes.

Since the president already promised troops would be out by the end of the year, the Lexington Institute's Dan Goure agrees the savings are just a sleight of hand. Especially because Iraq's money will likely be redirected to Afghanistan for increasingly expensive technology, things like unmanned vehicles and robots.

Goure: And not until the end of next year -- that is, 2012 -- are there going to be enough troops out and enough equipment out that there'll be a net reduction in costs.

But he says that won't prevent congressional budget negotiators from adding $40 billion a year to the savings ledger.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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