Financial cost of the Iraq War

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The following is a partial accounting of financial costs of the 2003 Iraq War by the United States and the United Kingdom, the two largest non-Iraqi participants of the multinational force in Iraq.

US war costs[edit]

Direct costs[edit]

A Marine Corps M1 Abrams tank patrols a Baghdad street after its fall in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The costs of the Iraq War are often contested, as academics and critics have unearthed many hidden costs not represented in official estimates. The most recent major report on these costs come from Brown University in the form of the Costs of War, which totaled just over $1.1 trillion. The United States Department of Defense's direct spending on Iraq totaled at least $757.8 billion, but also highlighting the complementary costs at home, such as interest paid on the funds borrowed to finance the wars.

Those figures are dramatically higher than typical estimates published just prior to the start of the Iraq War, many of which were based on a shorter term of involvement. For example, in a March 16, 2003 Meet the Press interview of Vice President Dick Cheney, held less than a week before the Iraq War began, host Tim Russert reported that "every analysis said this war itself would cost about $80 billion, recovery of Baghdad, perhaps of Iraq, about $10 billion per year. We should expect as American citizens that this would cost at least $100 billion for a two-year involvement."[1]


  • FY2003 Supplemental: Operation Iraqi Freedom: Passed April 2003; Total $78.5 billion, $54.4 billion Iraq War
  • FY2004 Supplemental: Iraq and Afghanistan Ongoing invasion reconstruction: Passed November 2003; Total $87.5 billion, $70.5 billion Iraq War
  • FY2004 DoD Budget Amendment: $25 billion Emergency Reserve Fund (Iraq Freedom Fund): Passed July 2004, Total $25 billion, $21.5 billion (estimated) Iraq War
  • FY2005 Emergency Supplemental: Operations in the War on Terror; Activities in Afghanistan; Tsunami Relief: Passed April 2005, Total $82 billion, $58 billion (estimated) Iraq War
  • FY2006 Department of Defense appropriations: Total $50 billion, $40 billion (estimated) Iraq War.
  • FY2006 Emergency Supplemental: Operations Global War on Terror; Activities in Iraq & Afghanistan: Passed February 2006, Total $72.4 billion, $60 billion (estimated) Iraq War
  • FY2007 Department of Defense appropriations: $70 billion (estimated) for Iraq War-related costs[2][3]
  • FY2007 Emergency Supplemental (proposed) $100 billion
  • FY2008 Bush administration has proposed around $190 billion for the Iraq War and Afghanistan[4]
  • FY2009 Obama administration has proposed around $130 billion in additional funding for the Iraq War and Afghanistan.[5]
  • FY2010 Obama administration proposes around $159.3 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.[6]

Indirect and delayed costs[edit]

According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report published in October 2007, the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion by 2017 including interest. The CBO estimated that of the $2.4 trillion long-term price tag for the war, about $1.9 trillion of that would be spent on Iraq, or $6,300 per US citizen.[7][8] A CRS report (conducted after the 2010 end of combat operations and 2011 withdrawal) was released in December 2014. It placed the cost of the war operations in Iraq as of January 1, 2014, at $815 billion out of the total $1.6 trillion approved by Congress since September 2001.[9]

Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and Linda Bilmes, a Harvard University professor and former official at the U.S. Department of Commerce, have stated the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be three trillion dollars in a moderate scenario, described in their book about the budgetary and economic costs of the war The Three Trillion Dollar War and possibly more in a study published in March 2008.[10] Stiglitz has stated: "The figure we arrive at is more than $3 trillion. Our calculations are based on conservative assumptions...Needless to say, this number represents the cost only to the United States. It does not reflect the enormous cost to the rest of the world, or to Iraq."[10]

A 2013 updated study[11] pointed out that US medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war had risen to $134.7 billion from $33 billion two years earlier.

The extended combat and equipment loss have placed a severe financial strain on the US Army, causing the elimination of non-essential expenses such as travel and civilian hiring.[12][13]

In 2020, Neta Crawford, chair of the political science department at Boston University, in her Costs of War Project, estimated the long term cost of the Iraq War for the United States at $1.922 trillion. This figure includes not only funding appropriated to the Pentagon explicitly for the war, but spending on Iraq by the State Department, the healthcare of Iraq War veterans, and the interest expense on debt incurred to fund 17 years of U.S. military involvement in the country.[14]

The UH-60 Black Hawk that crashed on September 21, 2004.

Military equipment lost[edit]

The US has lost a number of pieces of military equipment during the war. The following statistics are from the Center for American Progress;[15] and they are only approximations that also include vehicles lost in non-combat-related accidents as of 2006.

2006 land equipment approximation[edit]

2006 air equipment[edit]

  • 109 helicopters
  • 18 fixed-wing aircraft

In June 2006, the Army said that the cost of replacing its depleted equipment tripled from that of 2005.[18] As of December 2006, according to government data reported by The Washington Post, the military stated that nearly 40% of the army's total equipment has been to Iraq, with an estimated yearly refurbishment cost of $US 17 billion. The military states that the yearly refurbishment cost has increased by a factor of ten compared to that of the pre-war state. As of December 2006 approximately 500 M1 tanks, 700 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 1000 Humvees are awaiting repair in US military depots.[19]

In September 2007, the Congressional Budget Office produced a report outlining the Army's Reset Program[20] and included some combat loss numbers.

2007 land equipment approximation[edit]

  • 20 M1 Abrams tanks
  • 50–75 M2 Bradley fighting vehicles
  • 20–40 Stryker wheeled combat vehicles
  • 20 M113 armored personnel carriers
  • 461–800 Humvees (min, max based on 24k HMMWV and 15k trucks in theater, and 750–1300 losses)
  • 288–500 Trucks (min, max based on 24k HMMWV and 15k trucks in theater, and 750–1300 losses)

UK war costs[edit]

As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion ($6.8 billion) had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq. This came from a government fund called the "Special Reserve" which at the time had a balance of £7.4 billion ($10.14 billion).[21][22] According to the Ministry of Defence, the total cost of UK military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2009 was £8.4bn.[23]

Official calculations stated that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined cost £20.3 billion (up to but not beyond June 2010).[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Transcript of a March 16, 2003 interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney by NBC's Meet the Press Archived May 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, from the website for the International Relations Program at Mount Holyoke College
  2. ^ National Priorities Project | Bringing the Federal Budget Home Archived 2003-06-01 at the Wayback Machine from the Cost of War website
  3. ^ "Congressional Reports: Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan since 9/11". 2006-04-24. Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  4. ^ Increase In War Funding Sought Archived 2016-12-21 at the Wayback Machine from The Washington Post
  5. ^ Gray, Andrew (2009-04-10). "UPDATE 2-Obama seeks $83.4 billion more in 2009 war funds". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  6. ^ Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (February 1, 2010). "Defense Budget/QDR Announcement". Arlington, VA: U.S. Department of Defense. Archived from the original on February 28, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  7. ^ Richard Sammon (July 2007). "Iraq War: The Cost in Dollars". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
  8. ^ "U.S. CBO estimates $2.4 trillion long-term war costs". Reuters. October 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  9. ^ Amy Belasco (December 2014). "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
  10. ^ a b The three trillion dollar war Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine from The Times of London
  11. ^ Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study Archived 2017-09-19 at the Wayback Machine, Daniel Trotta, Reuters, 14 March 2013, accessed 18 March 2013
  12. ^ "Strapped for money, Army extends cutbacks on spending". USA Today. 2006-07-20. Archived from the original on 2007-06-18. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  13. ^ Michael Hirsh (2006-07-21). "End of Days?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  14. ^ The Iraq War has cost the US nearly $2 trillion. Military Times. Feb. 6, 2020.
  15. ^ Loren B. Thompson; Lawrence J. Korb; Caroline P. Wadhams. "Army Equipment After Iraq" (PDF). Center for American Progress. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  16. ^ Maj Karl C. Rohr (2006-03-21). "The Fog of War". Marine Corps Gazette. Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  17. ^ Roxana Tiron (January 2006). "Marine Vehicle Upgrades Reflect Combat Demands". National Defense Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  18. ^ "Army's Iraq, Afghanistan equipment costs triple". NBC News. 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  19. ^ "U.S. Army Battling To Save Equipment" Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine. Tyson, Ann Scott. The Washington Post December 5, 2006.
  20. ^ CBO (2007-09-01). "Replacing and Repairing Equipment Used in Iraq and Afghanistan: The Army's Reset Program" (PDF). CBO. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-01-15. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  21. ^ "The Rising Costs of the Iraq War (March 2006)". 2006-03-22. Archived from the original on 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
  22. ^ "U.K. Spending on War in Iraq, Afghanistan Rises to $16 Bln (December 2006)". Bloomberg. 2006-12-06. Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
  23. ^ "High cost of Iraq war surprised Whitehall". Archived from the original on 2009-08-24.
  24. ^ "Afghanistan and Iraq 'have cost taxpayers £20bn' (October 2011)". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2010-06-20. Archived from the original on 2018-08-25. Retrieved 2018-04-03.