Study: Iraq War Cost U.S. $2.2 Trillion, Claimed Nearly 200,000 Lives

By Ben Armbruster posted from ThinkProgress Security on Mar 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm

 

A new report by the “Costs of War” project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies finds that nearly 200,000 people, including soldiers and civilians, were killed in the war in Iraq President George W. Bush launched 10 years ago.

The report also found that American taxpayers will ultimately spend roughly $2.2 trillion on the war, but because the U.S. government borrowed to finance the conflict, interest payments through the year 2053 means that the total bill could reach nearly $4 trillion.

“Nearly every government that goes to war underestimates its duration, neglects to tally all the costs, and overestimates the political objectives that will be accomplished by war’s violence,” said Boston University professor of political science and project co-director Neta C. Crawford.

Indeed, the war devastated the Iraqi health care system and allowed militants to hone their skills and export them to neighboring conflicts:

  • Terrorism in Iraq increased dramatically as a result of the invasion and tactics and fighters were exported to Syria and other neighboring countries.
  • Iraq’s health care infrastructure remains devastated from sanctions and war. More than half of Iraq’s medical doctors left the country during the 2000s, and tens of thousands of Iraqi patients are forced to seek health care outside the country.

The Watson Institute project — which involves “30 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists from 15 universities, the United Nations, and other organizations” — comes on the heals of the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction’s final report released last week finding that the U.S. spent $60 billion on reconstruction efforts in Iraq and that $10 billion of it was wasted on fraud and abuse.

Reuters reported that Steven Bucci, the military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the run-up to the war and today a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, didn’t dispute the report’s findings but said the U.S.’s post-invasion battles with al-Qaeda in Iraq — a group that did not exist prior to March 19, 2003 — made the war worth it.

“It was really in Iraq that ‘al Qaeda central’ died,” Bucci said. “They got waxed.”

Meanwhile, the AP reported this afternoon that “a string of explosions tore through central Baghdad within minutes of each other on Thursday, followed by what appeared to be a coordinated assault by gunmen who battled security forces in the Iraqi capital.” The AP said the attack — which reportedly killed 12 people — “bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda’s Iraq arm.”

http://thinkprogress.org/

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Replies to This Discussion

Yes, and Jeb Bush wants to invade Iran.

It would be another waste of lives and resources.

Put me in a padded cell if another Bush ever gets into the White House.

This makes me feel ill.  So much horror and waste.  So much money that could be spent helping people instead of ruining lives forever.  It's overwhelming to think about it.

I agree booklover - just a waste

The death estimates in this report are very low. They are more like 1 million. The cover story you posted should have included something about the depleted uranium that was used and resulted in chromosomal damage that causes birth defects, miscarriages, still births, and etc. The depleted uranium poison will remain hazardous for 4.5 bn years.

Yes Chris G I think they did not accurately portray the numbers of deaths and costs correctly.

Excellent post Steph! It tells a story that needs to be told and retold until everyone sees the facts and can decide for themselves if all that suffering, deaths, destruction of infrastructures, damage to water and soil is worth it. 

"Steven Bucci, the military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the run-up to the war and today a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, didn’t dispute the report’s findings but said the U.S.’s post-invasion battles with al-Qaeda in Iraq — a group that did not exist prior to March 19, 2003 — made the war worth it.

“It was really in Iraq that ‘al Qaeda central’ died,” Bucci said. “They got waxed.”

"Meanwhile, the AP reported this afternoon that “a string of explosions tore through central Baghdad within minutes of each other on Thursday, followed by what appeared to be a coordinated assault by gunmen who battled security forces in the Iraqi capital.” The AP said the attack — which reportedly killed 12 people — “bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda’s Iraq arm.”

Is that evidence of Al Qaeda being "waxes"?

Mr Bucci, I do not believe a word you said and you will have to give me facts, figures, responses from their citizens before I will even entertain your rhetoric. Explain to me, again, how Al Qaeda was "waxed" when they didn't exist until we invaded.  

Thank you Joan.

In neglecting to tally all the costs of war, let's not forget the psychological/moral damage we do to ourselves. In War is a Force That Gives Life Meaning, Chris Hedges shows that war brings out the very worst parts of humanity, the parts too horrific to mention. US citizens now and in the past are no exception to this degradation. Our Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars are no exception.

Don't Look Away: We Must Confront the Horrific Industrial Violence ...

Nick Turse’s “ Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam” ... provides readers with an unflinching account of the nature of modern industrial warfare. It captures, as few books on war do, the utter depravity of industrial violence ...

... the trauma that plagues most combat veterans is a result not only of what they witnessed or endured, but what they did. This trauma, shame, guilt and self-revulsion push many combat veterans—whether from Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan—to escape into narcotic and alcoholic fogs or commit suicide.

Case after case in his book makes it painfully clear that soldiers and Marines deliberately maimed, abused, beat, tortured, raped, wounded or killed hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians, including children, with impunity. Troops engaged in routine acts of sadistic violence usually associated with demented Nazi concentration camp guards.

The god-like power that comes with the ability to destroy anything, including other human beings, along with the intoxicating firepower of industrial weapons, rapidly turns those who wield these weapons into beasts. Human beings are reduced to objects, toys to satiate a perverse desire to dominate, humiliate, control and kill. Corpses are trophies.

Thank you Ruth for the link - I will read that article you posted.

I just saw a story online about a dying Iraqi war vet who is in hospice care, who wrote Dick Cheney and W a F--- Y-- letter!  I wish I could find it.  I hope they read it. 

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