My understanding is that the Iraq war over the past 4 1/2 years has cost the U. S. upwards of $500 billion and currently the ongoing cost is running at roughly $10 billion monthly. That's clearly a huge amount of money and it looks like we will be spending close to this for at least one more year, and very possibly for several more years to come. (I'm also extremely concerned about our 25,000 military casualties, including fatalities approaching 3,800, but this posting is primarily about financial costs.)
It's my strong impression that, while many other countries both in the region and elsewhere also have similar strong strategic interests in Iraq becoming a stable, peaceful and prosperous country, the U. S. is bearing the bulk of the financial burden in working towards this common goal, including paying for the training of their troops and police as well as the reconstruction of their infrastructure. Is my impression correct? If so, why is this? How much is being financed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the Emirates, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Iran? What about Russia, China, Japan, and the European Union? With the extensive media coverage of the war, the presidential election campaigns, and the Congressional hearings on the reports by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker earlier this week, it is amazing that this subject has rarely if ever come up as an issue of concern. I also want to note that Iraq itself, while they currently are in a chaotic state with a disfunctional government, could, and should, be contributing to its own reconstruction. While it might prove difficult to arrange at present, they have the ability to raise sizable project finance loans, supported by their very vast oil and gas reserves, among the largest in the world.
The fair sharing of war costs should have come up and been agreed upon well prior to the invasion, but it's not too late to bring it up even at this late point, especially if there is a consensus among many of these countries that our troops need to remain in the country for several more years. Of course, those countries that were not part of the original coalition, and those that do not support our continued presence at this time are unlikely to be opening their wallets any time soon.
posted by Knut Dale 9/12/07