HERE’S A NUMBER FOR YOU … Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, tells me he’s been trading emails with folks around town — generals, colonels, Pentagon officials — who have been looking carefully and analytically for the last two years at what it will cost to reconstitute the military after Iraq. In other words, the bill to bring Army and Navy battalions back to the status they were in before the invasion. That includes training, equipment, replacing Apache helicopters, humvees, tanks, rifles (we have burned them up in Iraq faster than life cycle projections), etc. The current estimate: $50 to $100 billion. “The next president will face a staggering bill,” Wilkerson says, not even counting the costs of further efforts in Iraq.
Christina Larson, a former Washington Monthly editor, is an award-winning science journalist who has reported from five continents.