Above: like it, or kill it, death culture don't ever come cheap.
REGARDLESS of the pros and cons of the invasion of Iraq and Afganistan, there seems no doubt that the American and European taxpayers are being massively ripped off as usual.
When it can cost Gordon Brown's government as much as £486.54 to change a lock in a local hospital, imagine how much it costs to kill or maim one 'Taliban' or Iraqi insurgent (+ innocent civilian 'collateral' cost extra).
'The Three Trillion Dollar War', by Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz, (approached by Barack Obama as a possible adviser, and interviewed in the Guardian yesterday) works out the cost of the Iraq War (so far), to be the Mother of All Bills:
• $3 trillion: A conservative estimate of the true cost - to America alone - of Bush's Iraq adventure. The rest of the world, including Britain, will shoulder about the same amount again.
• $5bn: Cost of 10 days' fighting in Iraq.
• $1 trillion: The interest America will have paid by 2017 on the money borrowed, mostly from China, to finance the war. Photo right: Bush at China Bank, dressed to kill.
• Massive sums have been stolen or are unaccounted for. The US 'Department of Defence' has failed every official audit of the past 10 years, and has an accounting system "inaccurate for anything larger than a grocery store".
The Three Trillion Dollar War, by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, is published by Allen Lane, price £20. To order a copy for £18 with free UK p&p, go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0870 836 0875.
• Iraq War profiteers: "a contractor working as a security guard gets about $400,000 a year, for example, as opposed to a soldier, who might get about $40,000" (Joseph Stiglitz). Film about Iraq war profiteers: 'Iraq For Sale'.
• Not so easy: Christopher Hitchens on withdrawal from Iraq.