You know what they say -- $70 billion here, $70 billion there ... after a while, you're talking real money:
The White House said Thursday that it planned to ask Congress for an additional $70 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, driving the cost of military operations in the two countries to $120 billion this year, the highest since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Most of the new money would go to the war in Iraq, which already has cost an estimated $250 billion since the U.S. invasion in March 2003. The additional spending, along with other war funds the Bush administration will seek separately in its regular budget next week, would push the price tag for combat and nation-building since Sept. 11, 2001, to nearly half a trillion dollars — approaching the cost of the 13-year-long Vietnam War.
My word, who could possibly have imagined such a costly adventure?
The rising costs contrast starkly with projections before the war. Former White House economic advisor Lawrence B. Lindsey predicted in September 2002 that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, drawing administration ire for such a high estimate and eventually resigning his post.
"People in the White House said [Lindsey] was way off," said budget expert Steven Kosiak of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent defense research group in Washington. "It turns out he was. But just not in the direction they thought."
You really can't feel sorry for Lindsey. That's what you get when you insist on being part of the "reality-based" community. He should have known better.