Senate Democrats

At Hearing, Will General Petraeus Add His Voice in Support of the 21st Century G.I. Bill?

Today, General Petraeus will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his pending nomination to be commander of CENTCOM as the Senate continues to work on the supplemental appropriations bill. The hearing is a reminder that we are spending $12 billion a month on the Iraq war. We are also draining the readiness of our military and diverting America from fighting Al Qaeda, winning the peace in Afghanistan, and giving our troops and veterans the benefits they deserve. The 21st Century G.I. Bill included in the supplemental will ensure that our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan receive the same benefits that World War II veterans received at a cost over ten years equal to the costs of keeping our troops in Iraq for just two and a half months.  We hope that as General Petraeus offers his views on Iraq and the other threats in his new command that he honors our troops’ sacrifice and adds his voice to the thousands of veterans and leaders of veterans organizations in support of a 21st Century GI Bill.

Iraq war is costing $12 billion per month, total cost could exceed $3 trillion:

U.S. Is Currently Spending $12 Billion Per Month in Iraq. “Why doesn’t the public understand the staggering scale of our expenditures? In part because the administration talks only about the upfront costs, which are mostly handled by emergency appropriations. (Iraq funding is apparently still an emergency five years after the war began.) These costs, by our calculations, are now running at $12 billion a month — $16 billion if you include Afghanistan.” [Washington Post, Bilmes and Stiglitz Op-Ed, 3/9/08]

Economists Estimate Cost of Iraq War Will Exceed $3 Trillion. “Coming up on the fifth anniversary of the invasion, a Nobel laureate now estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing America more than $3 trillion.” [McClatchy, 2/27/08]

  • Economists Estimate Total Cost of Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, Counting Interest, Veterans Health Care Costs and Other Long-Term Expenses Will Be $5 – $7 Trillion. “When other factors are added — such as interest on debt, future borrowing for war expenses, the cost of a continued military presence in Iraq and lifetime health-care and counseling for veterans — they think that the wars’ costs range from $5 trillion to $7 trillion. ‘I think we really have learned that the long-term costs of taking care of the wounded and injured in this war and the long-term costs of rebuilding the military to its previous strength is going to far eclipse the cost of waging this war,’ Bilmes said in an interview.” [McClatchy, 2/27/08]

JEC Determined Total Economic Cost of Iraq War to a Family of Four Has Already Ballooned to $16,500. “The total economic cost of the war in Iraq to a family of four is a shocking $16,500 from 2002 to 2008.” [Joint Economic Committee Report, “War at Any Price?” 11/07]

Two and a half months in Iraq would pay for G.I. bill for ten years:

21st Century G.I. Bill Would Cost $2.5-$4 Billion Per Year. “A very small percentage of Americans have stepped forward to serve our country through military service; they have earned the right to have a bright future when they have completed their service. A G.I. bill that properly rewards honorable service is the right thing to do. The estimated $2.5 – $4 billion a year needed for the program equals less than one week of war in Iraq.” [Office of Senator Jim Webb, Fact Sheet on S. 22, 5/08]

CBO Estimates Cost of G.I. Bill Would Be $51.6 Billion Over 10 Years. “The modified version of S. 22 would increase the amount of the education benefits available to veterans and to active-duty and reserve servicemembers; expand the number of individuals eligible to receive such benefits; increase the period of time during which such benefits could be used; and allow the benefits to be used to cover an expanded array of education-related expenses. CBO estimates that enacting those provisions would increase direct spending for veterans’ and reservists’ education benefits by $51.8 billion over the 2008-2018 period.” [CBO, 5/8/08]