This is very, very alarming:
THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more
than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the
sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
former World Bank vice-president yesterday said the war had, so far,
cost the US something like $US3trillion ($3.3 trillion) compared with
the $US50-$US60-billion predicted in 2003.
Australia also faced a real bill much greater than the $2.2billion
in military spending reported last week by Australian Defence Force
chief Angus Houston, Professor Stiglitz said, pointing to higher oil
prices and other indirect costs of the wars.
Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that
the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at
about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such
as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.
The war was now the second-most expensive in US history after World War II and the second-longest after Vietnam, he said.
The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch
because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of
the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.
"The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system," he said.