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It's difficult to fully comprehend the total price tag of the Iraq war, but Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has made some staggering calculations, coming up with a whopping $3.5 trillion -- including "hidden costs" such as interest on the money we're borrowing, and long-term health care for vets.

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How could the $720 million the U.S. is currently spending on the Iraq war each day be put to better use? Well, how about paying for the health care costs of 423,529 children? Or giving 34,904 college students four-year scholarships, or providing 6,482 families with homes?

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The National Priorities Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to turn "data into action," has an interesting tool on its website that shows just how much the Iraq war is costing your community. The cost so far to Crawford, Texas: $986,998. The cost to Los Angeles County: $11,342,897,442 -- that's billions -- and counting.

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This week Truthdig salutes Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes for uncovering the true cost of the war in Iraq. Last year Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz and Harvard budget expert Bilmes estimated the total price tag for Bush's misadventure in Mesopotamia at $2.267 trillion -- a tad higher than the $350 billion to $500 billion so often discussed.

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