WASHINGTON — A forthcoming request for additional funds to continue waging war in Iraq will not begin to address the “hidden cost” of the conflict, according to Pentagon officials and other government authorities who say that tens of billions of dollars more will eventually be needed to repair or replace heavily used equipment and to compensate for the wear and tear on members of the armed services.
The Pentagon next month plans to ask Congress for up to $100 billion in supplemental funds to pay for the ongoing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total budgeted so far to well over $200 billion. But military officers say the administration’s estimates do not include the investment that will be necessary to fix what they say they fear is becoming a broken ground force.
[snip] … If the war were to end today, according to a preliminary estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that was described by officials who have been briefed on it, the Army would still need at least $20 billion more than budgeted over the next three years just to be at the same level of preparedness as before the war.
Of course, this administration has a long history of systematically understating the costs of its policies. (Thanks to reader Spencer for the tip.)