Remember this oldie but goodie with ANDREW NATSIOS, the former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), talking with Ted Koppel on Nightline in April 2003
(Off Camera) Well, it's a, I think you'll agree, this is a much bigger project than any that's been talked about. Indeed, I understand that more money is expected to be spent on this than was spent on the entire Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.
No, no. This doesn't even compare remotely with the size of the Marshall Plan.
(Off Camera) The Marshall Plan was $97 billion.
This is 1.7 billion.
(Off Camera) All right, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?
Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this. [...]
(Off Camera) If it's cost plus, in other words, if they come back to you in another six months or in another year and say, gee, you know, we gave you best estimate we could but here's what it ended up costing and it ended up costing double what we said it was gonna cost.
Oh, no, no, we have, that's the amount of money we have to spend. We're gonna do less if it costs more than that, because we have an appropriation, we're gonna go within the limits of the appropriation.
(Off Camera) But what you are saying is, maybe, maybe fewer tasks will be accomplished. The amount of money, however, is gonna be the same?
That's correct. 1.7 billion is the limit on reconstruction for Iraq. It's a large amount of money but, compared to other emergencies around the world. But in terms of the amount of money needed to reconstruct the country, it's a relatively small amount. [...]
1.7 billion is the limit on reconstruction for Iraq. It's a large amount of money but, compared to other emergencies around the world. But in terms of the amount of money needed to reconstruct the country, it's a relatively small amount.
Cost of the war as of August 1, 2006 @ 5:10 pm = $300,440,440,301
To put this figure of $300,440,440,301 in perspective:
We could have provided 14,564,700+ students four-year scholarships at public universities.
We could have paid for 39,793,500+ children to attend a year of Head Start.
We could have insured 179,905,200+ children for one year.
We could have built 2,705,100+ additional public housing units.
We could have hired 5,206,600+ additional public school teachers for one year.
(Hat tip to AAR for posting the Nightline transcript). Figures courtesy of Cost of the War.