The military operational costs of the war in Iraq, now greater than $500 billion, have surpassed those for the entire Vietnam conflict. These escalating operational costs are alarming, yet the long-term public health costs will be much greater. Providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans will cost far more than is generally being acknowledged. These costs have been estimated at as much as $660 billion. As physicians and health care professionals we are acutely aware of the actual price we are paying in human terms and we are compelled to bring this to the attention of the Congress and the American people.