With Pentagon officials continuing to work on contingencies for the increasingly unlikely event that President Obama actually fulfills his pledge to remove troops from Iraq, the enormous amounts of military equipment the US has shipped to the nation over the past six years is becoming an increasing topic of conversation.
Though the Pentagon has declined to give an exact price tag for removing what Major General Kevin Leonard says is “literally millions of pieces of equipment,” it is likely to run into the tens of billions of dollars.
A lot of the cost is going to depend on what the military decides to do with the various items it required to occupy the nation and then fight an insurgency for several years with well over 100,000 US troops. Some of the gear will be shipped back to the US, others will be sent to Afghanistan for the ongoing war there. Still others will just be given to the Iraqi government so they don’t have to deal with the other two options.
The US has spent over two thirds of a trillion dollars on the war in Iraq so far (and this is only figuring the direct costs), but while President Obama has already started projecting dramatically lower costs in the near future as the war “winds down” (which so far hasn’t translated to actually removing serious numbers of troops from the nation), the costs just of hauling “mountains of equipment” out of Iraq show that nothing the military does is done on the cheap, not even ending a war.