San Francisco
San Francisco
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict

Wednesday, March 05, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
521 Parnassus Ave, Room C-701
San Francisco, CA 94143

The Three Trillion Dollar War:
The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict
Wednesday March 5, 2008
Noon - 1 PM
521 Parnassus Avenue, C-701
San Francisco, CA 94143

Free and open to the public!

The war in Iraq already has cost the federal government, and U.S. taxpayers, close to 1 trillion dollars, some twenty times more than the amount initially predicted by those who made the case for engagement. But as Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes of Harvard’s Kennedy School point out in THE THREE TRILLION DOLLAR WAR: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, the meter is still ticking.

They explain, moreover, how the war—and the soaring oil prices and deficits—have contributed directly to the weakening American economy.

Using the government’s own figures (including documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act) and very conservative estimates of future expenditures, Stiglitz and Bilmes tally up the full, real costs of the war. Included in these calculations are not only the “basics”, such as soldiers’ wages and the money needed to keep vehicles and weapons operational, but also the bills that will be coming years after Bush leaves the White House, such as the costs of providing health and disability benefits for the thousands of injured troops returning home. The U.S. will be paying these bills for decades to come.


* Explain how the money we spent on the war has contributed to the current economic woes facing America—and makes it much harder for the U.S. to head off a recession.
* Examine the implications of our government’s poor budgetary choices—especially the decision to finance the war by borrowing.
* Show the true financial and human cost to America’s veterans and their families
* Reveal how budget items have been hidden from the public eye by the government and how emergency appropriations bills have subverted Congress’s constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities.
* Explain how the attempt to hide the costs of the war, and save money in the short run, have increased long run costs—both the financial costs and the human toll.
* Demonstrate how these trillions could have been used in ways that would have resulted in a more prosperous, safer, and more secure United States.
* Offer ideas on how the U.S. can extricate itself from Iraq with the least amount of damage.
* Present a set of reforms in budgetary processes that would make it less likely that these mistakes occur in the future—and more likely that we will treat our veterans in the way they we should.

Linda J. Bilmes

Linda J. Bilmes is widely considered one of the leading experts in US budgeting and public finance. She has held several senior positions in government, including Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the US Department of Commerce, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Administration, and US Representative to several high-ranking commissions, including a Treasury Department commission to examine the viability of the Inter-American Investment Corporation. She was recently appointed to the National Parks Centennial Commission. Previously, Bilmes spent eight years with the global management consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group, where she focused on industrial strategy and transition to market-based democracy in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Bilmes is a now a full-time faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she teaches budgeting, applied budgeting, and public finance. She is a faculty affiliate with the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Rappaport Center for Greater Boston. At Harvard, Bilmes runs an innovative program to assist local cities and towns with their financial health, leading teams of graduate student volunteers who work in the communities. She also conducts the Harvard Institute of Politics budgeting workshops for newly-elected Mayors and Members of Congress.

Bilmes has written extensively on financial and budgetary issues, including the cost of the Iraq War, veterans’ health and disability costs, state and local employee pensions, and federal workforce reform. She is the author of "Soldiers Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan: The Long-term Costs of Providing Veterans Medical Care and Disability Benefits” and co-author (with Joseph Stiglitz) of "The Economic Costs of The Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After the Beginning of The Conflict." Her book The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service (co-authored with W. Scott Gould) will be published in June, 2008.

Bilmes is a regular commentator on financial topics. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and the Atlantic Monthly. She is frequently interviewed on TV and radio programs, including the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CNN's Lou Dobbs Show, ABC’s World News Tonight and NPR's On Point. She recently featured in Charles Ferguson’s award-winning documentary film about Iraq, “No End In Sight”.

Bilmes has testified at several congressional hearings regarding the costs of the Iraq war, including the US House of Representatives Budget Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

Added to the calendar on Mon, Mar 3, 2008 2:23PM
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$60.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network