A visual perspective on money spent in the wars of terror

Ever visualized $87 billion, the amount President Bush announced on national television that he was going to ask Congress to grant him to continue the wars of terror on Iraq and Afghanistan? Bush asked for this money on September 7th, 2003, for the fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2004. Since before then, to the end of September, 2007, the United States has dedicated $459 billion dollars to the cause.

Since it's impossible for anyone to visualize such huge amounts of money, let's have a look...

One dollar ... it’s roughly 6 inches long, and 2½ inches wide. It’s roughly as thick as a regular piece of paper.

Six dollars ... set side by side, roughly 12 inches long, and 7½ inches wide. Very roughly, a little longer, but narrower than a sheet of paper.

Three Thousand dollars ... roughly the thickness of a ream of paper, 2 inches thick or 500 sheets. If you made a single stack, it would be a foot high.

Seventy-Two Thousand dollars ... is about the size of a whole box of copier paper.

Three-Hundred-and-Sixty Thousand dollars ... A stack 5 feet tall, shorter than the average American man. If you made a single stack, it would be 120 feet high.

Nine Million dollars ... The pile is 5 feet tall, 10 feet long, and 6¼ feet wide. A single stack of dollar bills in this amount would be 3,000 feet high.

This horde is comparable in size to a single compact car. You could buy 489 of them for this amount, though, with enough cash left over to fill up the gas tanks of 162 of them.

Nine-Hundred Million dollars ... The mound of cash is now 20 feet tall, 50 feet long, and 31¼ feet wide. A single stack of dollar bills would be close to 300,000 feet, or 56.8 miles high.

It's about half as long as a conventional tennis court.

Fifteen billion dollars ... This pile of money is 60 feet high, 150 feet long, and 62½ feet deep.

Eighty-Seven Billion dollars ... This is what President Bush asked for on September 7th, 2003. It is 100 feet tall, 250 feet long, and 125 feet wide. A stack of singles would be 28,998,000 feet, or over 5,492 miles, or a round-trip between Washington DC and Los Angeles, California. (2,650 miles, one-way).

A Boeing 737-200 jet is 100 feet long. You could fit 2 of those jets nose to nose along the length of this pile and have room to spare.

If we spread the $87 billion over an American football field, we wouldn't be able to see much of the game. The players would be buried in 55 feet of money.

$87 billion is more than all of the states’ current budget deficits, combined. $87 billion is more than twice the amount we’re spending on Homeland Security.

One-Hundred-Sixty-Six Billion dollars ... this represents the total amount of money President Bush spent in Iraq & Afghanistan by the beginning of fiscal year 2004 : the $87 billion he asked for, plus the $79 billion he’d already spent.

This pile is 500 feet long at its longest point, which is quite a bit longer than an American football field. If you stacked the bills in a single column, it would be 55,333,200 feet tall, or almost 10,500 miles, or 1.68 times the distance between Washington DC and Baghdad, Iraq.

$166 billion is $568 for every man, woman and child in the United States. It’s $3,269 for every person in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two-Hundred-Seventy-Two Billion dollars ... This pile is 250 feet long and 125 feet wide. It’s 320 feet high at the tallest point, which is as tall as St. Steven’s Tower, the clock tower that houses Big Ben at Parliament, in London, England.

Three-hundred-fifteen billion dollars ... This is the amount of money the US has allocated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be spent by September 30, 2006.

This pile is 125 feet wide, 200 feet deep, and 450 feet tall. 450 feet is the height of a 38-story building. It’s the hieght of the Millenium Wheel in London. It is also the height of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas and the Louisiana State Capitol Building.

If you were to stack the money in a single stack, your stack would be 19,887 miles tall, enough to wrap the Moon at its equator almost 3 times.


Sources for the figures above can be found here.