Back in 2008 the Congressional Research Service did a study on the cost of the war in Iraq, it came up with a figure that is loosely around 1% of GDP, although in abstract numbers the costs would today actually equal the cost of the war in Vietnam. Nonetheless, since the United States considered itself being in a war since 9/11 the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are comparatively small. Manyeyes came up with a pretty cool graphic of the war costs (you'll find it to your left).
A blogger from the Atlantic-magazine - I am sorry, I really cannot remember his name - once put the relationship between foreign policy and the political parties in the US very nicely: "How the Republicans screw up foreign policy and foreign policy screws up Democrats." And since the Obama administration is taking heat on every front in foreign policy - from Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, North Korea, and recently China - its quite instructive what Vice President Joe Biden (its somewhere between minute six and seven) had to say on Larry King Live last week:
"I am very optimistic about Iraq. I think its going to be one of the great achievements of this administration."
Come again? Iraq might very well be one of the few meaningful changes for the better in the Middle East and the current progress in the stabilisation of the country actually rehabilitates the Bush project of a democratic Middle East - something I've argued all along. But a success of this, i.e. the Obama administration? Iraq was turned into a success by President Bush and the Surge, which he had to push through against significant opposition from the Democrats, including then Senators Obama and Biden. I know that the Obama administration is in desperate need of a success story. But I didn't realise that things have gotten that bad, this is simply hypocritical.