As President Bush prepared to invade Iraq in September 2002, the head of his economic policy council, Lawrence Lindsey publicly estimated such a war could cost $100 billion to $200 billion.
Lindsey had committed candor, and the stunned Bushites came down on him with both feet.
"Baloney," said Donald Rumsfeld. The likely cost would be $60 billion, said Mitch Daniels of the Office of Management and Budget. We can finance the war with Iraqi oil, said Paul Wolfowitz.
By year's end, Lindsey was gone, back, in Ronald Reagan's phrase, "testing the magic of the marketplace."
And the cost of the Iraq War? It has passed $1 trillion.