By MARC McDONALD
The Iraq War is already the fourth costliest war in American history (as measured in constant dollars). Soon, it will be the third costliest war in U.S. history.
The National Priorities Project has reported that the Iraq War has cost U.S. taxpayers $334 billion so far. The cost of the Iraq War is rapidly approaching the cost of the 1950-53 Korean War, which cost the U.S. $361 billion.
The most expensive wars in U.S. history, according to The Christian Science Monitor are: World War II ($3.114 trillion), the Vietnam War ($531.5 billion) and the Korean War ($361.2 billion). Note: all figures are in 2005 dollars.
Actually, even these figures don't tell the whole story, though. The cost of fighting World War II was offset by the fact that after the war, America acquired an enormously valuable treasure trove of highly lucrative German technology and patents. This ranged from aerospace and jet engine technology to military technology to sophisticated chemicals.
By contrast, the U.S. won't be reaping any benefit whatsoever from the Iraq War. In fact, we're having a difficult time just accessing that nation's oil reserves. So much for the Bush team's pre-war prediction that Iraq's oil would pay for the cost of the invasion.
On that topic, I'd like to debunk one of the stupidest Republican arguments to have come down the pike the past couple of years. That is: that Bush's rationale for the Iraq War could not have been oil, since the U.S. hasn't had much luck in accessing Iraq's oil since the invasion.
I've heard this argument repeated by right-wingers endlessly. The lack of logic is breathtaking. First of all, just because America hasn't gotten its grubby hands on Iraq's oil doesn't mean that our leaders don't want the oil. All it means is that the Iraqi insurgents have been highly successful in targeting Iraq's oil infrastructure and pipelines. It's difficult for Iraq's oil industry to operate when the nation is in the midst of chaos and civil war.