GAO: More Expensive to Leave Iraq Than to Stay

Even Ending a War Can't Be Done on the Cheap, GAO Warns

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report today (PDF) examining the ongoing costs of the Iraq war. The report concludes that despite the enormous costs associated with fighting the Iraq war over the past six years, Congress should expect costs to actually increase as the Obama Administration moves through its so-called pullout plan.

The Obama plan would reduce the current troop commitment from 138,000 to roughly 50,000, who would remain indefinitely. Yet the costs associated with withdrawing the troops and turning over the hundreds of American bases to the Iraqi government would be “significant,” the report concludes.

The report will likely shoot enormous holes in the Obama Administration’s budget, as they had projected enormous savings over the next few years and were budgeting $50 billion, roughly a third of what it will be this year, past fiscal 2010. The report indicates that this is beyond wishful thinking.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.