The following quotes were compiled by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky in their capacity as CEO and president of the Institute of Expertology, which has just issued a report on the experts who were wrong about Iraq–before, during and after the invasion–under the title Mission Accomplished! Or, How We Won the War in Iraq; The Experts Speak (Simon & Schuster). Here, the “experts” speak about the costs of war.

“Iraq is a very wealthy country. Enormous oil reserves. They can finance, largely finance the reconstruction of their own country. And I have no doubt that they will.”

Richard Perle, chair
The Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board
July 11, 2002

“The likely economic effects [of a war in Iraq] would be relatively small…. Under every plausible scenario, the negative effect will be quite small relative to the economic benefits.”

Lawrence Lindsey
White House economic adviser
September 16, 2002

“It is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars.”

Kenneth Pollack
former director for Persian Gulf affairs
National Security Council
September 2002

“The costs of any intervention would be very small.”

Glenn Hubbard
White House economic adviser
October 4, 2002

“Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.”

Ari Fleischer
White House press secretary
February 18, 2003

“When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community.”

Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
March 27, 2003

“There is a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be US taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people. We are talking about a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.”

Paul Wolfowitz
Deputy Secretary of Defense
testifying before the defense subcommittee
of the House Appropriations Committee
March 27, 2003

“The United States is very committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid.”

Mitchell Daniels, director
White House Office of Management and Budget
April 21, 2003

“The allies [have contributed] $14 billion in direct aid.”

Dick Cheney
vice presidential debate with
Democratic candidate John Edwards
October 5, 2004

Actually, only $13 billion was pledged, and on the date Cheney spoke only $1 billion had arrived. As of October 28, 2007, the National Priorities Project estimated that the share of Iraq War costs that had been borne by American taxpayers exceeded $463 billion.    –C.C.&V.N.