The Iraq War Cost: 190,000 Lives, $2.2 Trillion

 Reckoning the costs of the Iraq WarMore than 70 percent of deaths from direct war violence have been civilians. That does not include indirect deaths from disease or injury suffered in conditions degraded by war. Credit: Kevin Holden for U.S. Army

Reckoning the costs of the Iraq War More than 70 percent of deaths from direct war violence have been civilians. That does not include indirect deaths from disease or injury suffered in conditions degraded by war. Credit: Kevin Holden for U.S. Army

Reuters is reporting that the cost of the Iraq War is on track to exceed $6 trillion when the price tag for the benefits and care for war veterans is taken into account:

The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

The Costs of Wars Project at Brown University published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Among the group’s main findings:

  • More than 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence in Iraq have been civilians — an estimated 134,000. This number does not account for indirect deaths due to increased vulnerability to disease or injury as a result of war-degraded conditions. That number is estimated to be several times higher.
  • The Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.
  • Th $2.2 trillion figure includes care for veterans who were injured in the war in Iraq, which will cost the United States almost $500 billion through 2053.
  • The total of U.S. service members killed in Iraq is 4,488. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors have died as well, a number often under-reported.
  • 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 $60 billion spent on reconstruction for Iraq has not gone to rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, health care, and water treatment systems, but primarily to the military and police. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found massive fraud, waste, and abuse of reconstruction funds.

You can read a summary of the Costs of War report HERE. The full findings have been posted online at Costs of War.org to initiate public discussion on the Iraq War.

 

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A Response to the President’s Speech: A Sacred Trust

President Barack Obama approaches the podium to address the nation from the East Room of the White House to lay out his plan for implementing the draw down of American troops from Afghanistan, June 22, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

By Erika Perez, a military spouse, new Off the Base contributor and writer of the blog: Chambanachik.

Republican, Democrat, or fill in the  blank – much of the country was glued to the television for President Obama’s speech today. And because my husband’s future (and therefore, our family’s future) could depend on what was said, I listened to every word.

There was one part of the president’s speech that struck me the most. He quoted a member of the military who recalled September 11th. “One soldier summed it up well. ‘The message,’ he said, ‘is we don’t forget. You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes.’ Maybe, but all I could think was this: will we be forgotten?

It’s already happened in Iraq. When the announcement came that the troops would be withdrawn by August of this year, the country breathed a collective sigh of relief. According to Reuters, there are still 47,000 American troops there. While the news stories seem to focus on Afghanistan of late, I fear the general public may not understand how many families are still missing their spouses, siblings, and children. Not one of those 47,000 should be taken for granted or ignored.

Afghanistan is even more personal to me, because my husband and brother both spent nearly a year in that mountainous, sandy place. I recall all too well hearing IEDs exploding in the background while talking with them. I was shaking after the first time they echoed in my ears, but it’s something they must have heard all too often. And unfortunately, announcing to the world that we are beginning a withdrawal does not tie everything up in a pretty bow.  There is still gunfire there tonight. War does not stop and start so easily. War does not end with a speech.

I don’t hang my hope on any politician’s promises – to do so would be foolish. But President Obama later in said in his speech, “To our troops, our veterans and their families, I speak for all Americans when I say that we will keep our sacred trust with you.”

To all Americans, I would simply beg this of you; please keep that trust. Do not forget us now.

We have never forgotten you.

To hear or read President Obama’s full speech click HERE.

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