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What Is Democratic Fundamentalism and The REAL Bush Doctrine

Footing the bill for war

By Wolf Blitzer CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports - 7/30/2002

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- If you read The New York Times on Tuesday, you saw a stark headline: "Profound Effect on Economy Seen in a War on Iraq." The story outlined the potential costs of a sequel to the Persian Gulf War some 11 years ago. The bottom line, as they say, is clear. President Bush may not yet have approved a specific game plan for military action against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but whatever scenario unfolds, it won't be cheap.

According to the Congressional Research Service here in Washington, the Persian Gulf War cost more than $60 billion. But the United States didn't get stuck with the bill. Almost $50 billion was picked up by the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Europeans, the Japanese and other international sources. The next time around, however, the United States may have to go it alone, and it may wind up costing U.S. taxpayers a lot more depending on the military strategy adopted.

Some plans call for deploying 250,000 U.S. troops to the region for weeks and even more likely for months. Those plans could easily drain a U.S. economy that's been suffering and struggling to recover. And there's another wildcard at stake: What happens if oil shipments from the Persian Gulf region are disrupted and the price per barrel skyrockets? That would clearly affect the price for everything from gasoline to home heating and cooling.

Still, top Bush administration officials say the president is determined to pursue what they call "regime change" in Baghdad -- meaning getting rid of Saddam Hussein whatever the price.

This is what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday: "It's not just this administration. It's been a good many years that people have had as a policy for this country regime change in Iraq. The Congress has opined on it. The prior administration has opined on it. Clearly, President Bush has."

Administration officials warn that the price tag for inaction could be much higher -- noting that the Iraqi leader is developing weapons of mass destruction -- whether chemical, biological, or even nuclear. It would be a lot more expensive, they say, in dealing with the deadly consequences of that.


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