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Gulf War costs 750m. dollars a day.

Gulf War Costs 750m. Dollars a Day

War with Iraq could cost the United States as much as the Vietnam War did in its most expensive year, according to government estimates and private defense experts. The government estimates, including a Congressional Budget Office report says that war to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait could add anywhere from $28 billion to $86 billion spread over two years or more to the non-combat costs of Operation Desert Shield. Cost projections, like casualty projections, reflect deep uncertainty among analysts about how long war with Iraq would last and how heavy American losses would be. The lower CBO estimate of $28 billion is based on war scenarios developed by Jashua Epstein of the Brokings Institution and retired Col. Trevor N. Dupuy, a military historian. It assumes that if fighting erupts in the Gulf, it would last less than a month and result in 3,000 US casualties and the loss of 200 tanks and 100 aircrafts.

The higher estimate of $86 billion is based on a longer and costlier scenario by the Center for Defense Information, which assumes one to six months of combat with 45,000 casualties and loss of 900 tanks and 600 planes. Another major uncertainty, according to independent analysts, is one not raised in the CBO analysis: Would the Pentagon seek to replace all or even most of the equipment it loses in a Gulf War given the cut-backs in defense spending that were planned before Iraq invaded Kuwait?

Destruction of such high-technology equipment as front line fighter aircraft, main battle tanks and helicopters represents the largest category of costs in the CBO report, which assumes that all such losses would be replaced. The average fighter plane in Air Force and Navy arsenals costs about $25 million. Each air-to-air missile used by fighters against other planes in aerial combat costs between $100,000 and $500,000. The average tank costs about $3 million. The Vietnam War, in its peak year of 1969, cost the equivalent of $85 billion in 1991 dollars, according to Gordon Adams, director of the Defense Budget Project, a private think tank. That amounted to about $233 million a day, in today's dollars. Throughout that war, Pentagon budgets ran far beyond projections.

Adams said that because Gulf war particularly intense and use of more expensive high-technology equipment, a more apt cost comparison should be the three-week 1973 Yom Kipper war, which the Israeli ministry of finance has suggested cost the equivalent of about $750 million a day in 1991.
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Title Annotation:International Scene
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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