The price tag for Mr. Bush's empire is officially estimated: $57.6bn per year.
That's $3.9bn per month for Iraq and $0.9bn per month for Afghanistan, according to Don Rumsfeld in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In comparison, the Republicans are planning on spending $40bn annually for a prescription drug benefit in Medicare.
Not that Republicans care much about deficits, seeing as how they have long been the party of borrow-and-spend, but this revelation is certain to prod the Bush administration toward recruiting more willing participation from the coalition of the willing. The problem is, of course, that most of the willing are only willing when they get paid to serve. For example, Bangladesh and Pakistan both have considered sending a few thousand peacekeepers to Iraq to replace US soldiers. However, they have the funny notion of wanting the US to pay for the privilege.
When you're forced to buy your friends, you can't get along in the world on the cheap. The US Congress will surely have to face up to this reality, and the sooner the better.