Past Comments About How Much Iraq Would Cost

Earlier this year, experts said the war and aftermath in Iraq would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, a fact the White House refused to acknowledge as valid, even going so far as to fire Lawrence Lindsey for his realistic projections. In September, 2003, Paul Wolfowitz even told the Senate �no one said we would know anything other than this would be very bloody, it could be very long and by implication, it could be very expensive." Here�s a record of what the administration, in fact, said:

 

Budget Director Mitch Daniels

 

     On September 15th 2002, White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay estimated the high limit on the cost to be 1-2% of GNP, or about $100-$200 billion. Mitch Daniels, Director of the Office of Management and Budget subsequently discounted this estimate as very, very high and stated that the costs would be between $50-$60 billion [Source: WSJ, �Bush Economic Aide Says Cost Of Iraq War May Top $100 Billion,� Davis 09/16/02; NYT, �Estimated Cost of Iraq War Reduced, Bumiller, 12/31/02; Reuters News, �Daniels sees U.S. Iraq war cost below $200 billion,� 09/18/02]

 

     �When a reporter asked Daniels yesterday whether the administration was preparing to ask other countries to help defray possible Iraq war costs, as the United States did for the 1991 war, the budget director said he knew of no such plans. Other countries are having economic downturns of their own, he said.� [Source: Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, �Byrd attacks cost of possible Iraq War, McFeatters, 9/25/02]

 

     �There�s just no reason that this can�t be an affordable endeavor.� [Source: Reuters, �U.S. Officials Play Down Iraq Reconstruction Needs,� Entous, 4/11/03]

 

     �The United States is committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid.� [Source: Washington Post, 4/21/03]

 

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

 

     Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.� [Source: Media Stakeout, 1/19/03]

 

     I don�t know that there is much reconstruction to do.� [Source: Reuters, �U.S. Officials Play Down Iraq Reconstruction Needs,� Entous, 4/11/03]

 

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz

 

     �I think it's necessary to preserve some ambiguity of exactly where the numbers are.� [Source: House Budget Committee, 2/27/03]

 

Top Economist Adviser Glen Hubbard

 

     Costs of any such intervention would be very small.� [Source: CNBC, 10/4/02]

 

Budget Director Josh Bolten

 

     We don't anticipate requesting anything additional for the balance of this year.� [Source: Congressional Testimony , 7/29/03]

 

Past Comments About How Much Iraq Would Cost

The Bush administration promised reconstruction of Iraq could be financed through oil revenue, which they said would provide tens of billions of dollars. However, according to the New York Times, devastated and decrepit production systems leave the country �unable to make any significant contribution.�

Press Secretary Ari Fleischer: �Well, the reconstruction costs remain a very -- an issue for the future. And Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.� [Source: White House Press Briefing, 2/18/03]

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage: �This is not Afghanistan�When we approach the question of Iraq, we realize here is a country which has a resource. And it�s obvious, it�s oil. And it can bring in and does bring in a certain amount of revenue each year�$10, $15, even $18 billion�this is not a broke country.� [Source: House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03]

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: �There�s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn�t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people�and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years�We�re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.� [Source: House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03]

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: �If you [Source: worry about just] the cost, the money, Iraq is a very different situation from AfghanistanIraq has oil. They have financial resources.� [Source: Fortune Magazine, Fall 2002]

State Department Official Alan Larson: �On the resource side, Iraq itself will rightly shoulder much of the responsibilities. Among the sources of revenue available are $1.7 billion in invested Iraqi assets, the found assets in Iraq�and unallocated oil-for-food money that will be deposited in the development fund.� [Source: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Iraq Stabilization, 06/04/03]

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: �I don't believe that the United States has the responsibility for reconstruction, in a sense�[Reconstruction] funds can come from those various sources I mentioned: frozen assets, oil revenues and a variety of other things, including the Oil for Food, which has a very substantial number of billions of dollars in it. [Source: Senate Appropriations Hearing, 3/27/03]