The Economics of the Iraqi War

heads up: this is a pretty old post, it may be outdated.

This article in TIME, raises an interesting point that I'd like to extrapolate on. It argues:

The U.S. government has spent "more than half-a-trillion dollars" in support of the war effort, while that money could be spent on pressing needs in this country, he said. Economy Sagging Due to Iraq War? - TIME

The article goes on to list poll results stating that 68% of the American people think that withdrawing from Iraq would help the countries economic troubles. The argument is fairly convincing. Especially considering that the US annual budget is now over $3 trillion, and the US GDP is now $13.13 trillion.

The point is well made that this war has had significant negative impact on the US economy. This is the point that I'd like to dwell on.

Historically, wars have been good for the US economy. They've sparked economic mobilization, technological advances, and increased economic output. Now, I'm not sure if this holds true for the Vietnam War (I suspect it does, but I cannot find anything to back it up). It certainly holds true for:

  • The Revolutionary War
  • The War of 1812
  • The Civil War
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • The Korean War
  • The Gulf War

If it is to be believed that the Iraqi War has actually harmed the US economy, then I think that it is remarkable in that it is the first. It's also important examine why that has happened. These factors would be invaluable in assessing the worth, or even the status, of a war. One might even make a case for economics determining the 'correctness' of a war in the future.