What is the real cost of Iraq war?

John Dimsdale Apr 7, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: This week, the top military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, is expected to tell Congress the buildup of U.S. troops in the war zone has improved security. His testimony comes just a week before Congress takes up another big spending bill. John Dimsdale has more.

John Dimsdale: The Pentagon is expected to ask for just over a $100 billion to fund war operations through September. These so-called supplemental bills have become the normal way to pay for the war, but Steven Kosiak at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments says other spending is beginning to creep into the war budgets.

Steven Kosiak: It’s pretty clear to include perhaps $10 billion for kind of long-term modernization requirements and stuff that really probably belongs in DOD’s base budget.

That means money for military transport planes and domestic base construction. The Center for Defense Information’s Winslow Wheeler says the Pentagon has come to rely on these emergency spending bills.

Winslow Wheeler: They try to delay the requests as long as possible to help avoid two things: sticker shock over the cost of the war and more accurate higher estimates of what the likely annual deficit is going to be.

Congress hopes to pass the bill by the end of May.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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