February 14, 2006 3:00 AM

An accounting of blood and treasure

There are always costs in a war, human costs and hardware costs, and as we draw close to beginning the fourth year of our operations in Iraq its time to tally those costs one more time. As of this week a total of 2,270 Americans have lost their lives in Iraq, the great majority of those losses suffered in combat. The number of wounded has reached 16,653, just over half of those marked wounded but returned to duty. A little known cost is in vehicles lost in combat. The cost for replacing those totally destroyed vehicles and overhauling thousands more worn out by heavy use totals $9 billion in this years proposed defense budget and in the off-budget emergency wartime supplemental budget Congress passes twice each fiscal year.

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