The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion
By Thomas R. Stauffer
Conflicts in the Middle East have been very costly to the U.S., as well as to the rest of the world. An estimate of the total cost to the U.S. alone of instability and conflict in the region—which emanates from the core, Israeli-Palestinian conflict—amounts to close to $3 trillion, measured in 2002 dollars. This is an amount almost four times greater than the cost of the Vietnam war, also reckoned in 2002 dollars.
Even this figure underestimates the costs because certain classes of expenditure remain unquantified. In particular, no reliable figure is available for the costs of "Project Independence," Washington's lavishly promoted effort to reduce U.S. dependence on oil from the Middle East. That effort, which was subverted early on by diverse local special interests, was designed primarily to insulate Israel from any new "Arab oil weapon" after 1973/74, and may easily have cost $1 trillion. Even though the outlays were rationalized in the interest of "national security," however, they contributed little or nothing to reducing U.S. strategic dependence upon imported oil from the Middle East. Similarly, aid to Israel—and thus the regional total—also is understated, since much is outside of the foreign aid appropriation process or implicit in other programs. Support for Israel comes to $1.8 trillion, including special trade advantages, preferential contracts, or aid buried in other accounts. In addition to the financial outlay, U.S. aid to Israel costs some 275,000 American jobs each year.
All here: http://www.wrmea.com/archives/june2003/0306020.html