Comparing the cost of war and domestic expenses

By Congressman John Murtha

07/13/06 --Information Clearing House - (Washington D.C.)- We are spending $8 billion a month in Iraq. That equates to $2 billion a week, or $267 million a day, or $11 million an hour.

The following are some comparisons between what we are spending in Iraq as we "stay the course" indefinitely and what those funds could be used for instead.

I've been fighting for our military to get out of Iraq because I'm concerned about the loss of our troops and the future of our military, and also because I believe they have accomplished their mission there and the Iraqis must resolve their internal conflict themselves. However, I also wanted to demonstrate what these expenses mean to domestic policy in the United States and give you an idea of just some of the things that we could accomplish with this amount of money.



$31.7 billion/yr         Department of Homeland Security FY 07 budget

(4 months in Iraq)                  


$10 billion (1-time)      Equipping commercial airliners with defenses against shoulder-fired

(5 weeks in Iraq)                 missiles            


$8.6 billion/7 years     Shortage of international aid needed to rebuild Afghanistan

(one month in Iraq)                


$5.2 billion (1-time)     Estimated need for capital improvements to secure public transportation

(3 weeks in Iraq)                system (trains, subways, buses)


$1.5 billion/year         Radiation detectors needed at all US ports (rejected due to cost)

(5 days in Iraq)                       


$1.4 billion/ year        Double the COPS (community police grants) program

(5 days in Iraq)                       


$800 million/year       Public transportation personnel training and technical support

(72 hours in Iraq)              


$700 million/year       100% screening of all air cargo - rejected because of

(2 days in Iraq)                  cost (1/4 of domestic shipping and 1/2 of international shipping is done on passenger planes)


$350 million (1-time)     Make emergency radio systems interoperable (5 years after 9/11, this

(1.2 days in Iraq)                     hasn't happened yet) 


$500 million/year       Double the firefighters’ grant program

(2 days in Iraq)                       


$94 million/year         Restore cuts to cities hit on 9/11 in Homeland Security budget

(8-1/2 hours in Iraq)                               




$36 billion/5 years      reduction for Medicare spending in president's fiscal year 2007 (FY 07) 

(4-1/2 months in Iraq)          budget


$5 billion/5 years        Cut in Medicaid in President's FY 2007 budget

(2-1/2 weeks in Iraq)          


$2.5 billion/5 years     VA health care premium increases in this year's budget.  Premiums will

(9 days in Iraq)                  double or triple and drug co-payments will increase, costing our military                       

                                     retirees $2.4 billion over 5 years


$100 million       Additional funding recommended for mental health research for veterans

(9 hours in Iraq)                


$48 million               Medical and prosthetic research for veterans

(half a day in Iraq)                 


$65 million/yr                 National Institutes of Health research funding cuts in this year's budget

(6 hours in Iraq)                      (scientists are leaving the field of health research because funding has been cut so severely) 


$15 billion/yr              Provide health insurance to 9 million children with no health insurance

(1-1/2 weeks in Iraq)          


$118 million/yr           The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides

(12 hours in Iraq)               nutritional food packages for less than $20 a month to more than 400,000                                                                     elderly people - eliminated in the president's budget




$3.4 billion/yr       Cut in education budget in president's FY 07 budget from FY 06 funding

(13 days in Iraq)                level (over 40 programs including drug-free schools, federal support for                                                                         the arts, technology and parent-resource centers.



$664 million/yr           Perkins Loan program cut in president's FY 07 budget (would help      

(2-1/2 days in Iraq)             463,000 low-income students attend college)                                                                           


$99 million/yr                 Even Start (eliminated in president's budget)

(9 hours in Iraq)                     






$300 million                      President's cut to Environmental Protection Agency budget in FY 2007

(1 day, 3 hours in Iraq)


$253 billion/30 years  Clean up contaminated sites in U.S.  (Up to 350,000 contaminated sites

(2 years in Iraq)                 will require cleanup over the next 30 years according to a report released                                              by                                 the EPA.)   


$9.11 billion                  National Park Service maintenance backlog

(1 month, 10 days in Iraq)    


$6 billion                     Forest Service backlog

(3 weeks in Iraq)               


$2 billion                     Fish and Wildlife Service backlog

(2 weeks in Iraq)                    


$47.2 billion/yr              Miscellaneous user fees throughout government imposed on taxpayers by

(6 months in Iraq)                   president’s budget


$1.7 billion/yr             Grants to states cut in 2007 budget      

(1 week in Iraq)                      




$15 billion                         Fixing Pennsylvania's acid mine drainage sites

(2 months in Iraq)              


$8 billion                            Pennsylvania's wastewater infrastructure needs

(1 month in Iraq)


$642 million             Rehabilitation cost for Pennsylvania's most critical dams

(2 days in Iraq)


$2.3 billion              Pennsylvania's maintenance backlog for roads

(8 days in Iraq)


$8 billion                 Pennsylvania's maintenance backlog for bridges

(1 month in Iraq)


$5.26 billion                Pennsylvania's drinking water infrastructure needs

(2-1/2 weeks in Iraq)


Southwestern Pennsylvania


$10 billion                   Repair southwestern Pennsylvania's existing sewer systems to reduce    

(5 weeks in Iraq)                overflows and back-ups, bring clean water and effective wastewater treatment to areas that lack

                                    them, and install water and sewer infrastructure at targeted development sites       

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