Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion -study


reuters.com

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 report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

It was also an update of a 2011 report the Watson Institute produced ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that assessed the cost in dollars and lives from the resulting wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The 2011 study said the combined cost of the wars was at least $3.7 trillion, based on actual expenditures from the U.S. Treasury and future commitments, such as the medical and disability claims of U.S. war veterans.

That estimate climbed to nearly $4 trillion in the update.

The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later.

Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years.

The interest on expenses for the Iraq war could amount to about $4 trillion during that period, the report said.

The report also examined the burden on U.S. veterans and their families, showing a deep social cost as well as an increase in spending on veterans. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion.

FEW GAINS

The report concluded the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women’s rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, it said.

Former President George W. Bush’s administration cited its belief that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s government held weapons of mass destruction to justify the decision to go to war. U.S. and allied forces later found that such stockpiles did not exist.

Supporters of the war argued that intelligence available at the time concluded Iraq held the banned weapons and noted that even some countries that opposed the invasion agreed with the assessment.

“Action needed to be taken,” said 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, a conservative Washington-based think-tank.

Bucci, who was unconnected to the Watson study, agreed with its observation that the forecasts for the cost and duration of the war proved to be a tiny fraction of the real costs.

“If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in,” Bucci said. “Just the time alone would have been enough to stop us. Everyone thought it would be short.”

Bucci said the toppling of Saddam and the results of an unforeseen conflict between U.S.-led forces and al Qaeda militants drawn to Iraq were positive outcomes of the war.

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

  1. #1 by amerikagulag on March 15, 2013 - 5:55 pm

    Destroying ancient civilizations is EXPENSIVE these days! Israel is happy and that’s all that matters to the ZIO-US government

  2. #2 by amerikagulag on March 15, 2013 - 5:56 pm

    Oh, and it was never a “war”. It was always and remains today, an ILLEGAL INVASION AND OCCUPATION INVOILATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.

  3. #3 by Leo on March 15, 2013 - 5:57 pm

    Right ! the Iraqi war was costly, but these stupid Americans will never learn will they ? now it will be Iran ? (maybe in June) even more costly because other international elements will be brought into play . Namely the Russians and possibly the Chinese . The Russians are not strapped down with massive debt like the U.S. (beautiful) I love it . So the U S has the largest military in the world ! (so) They’re broke . I am tickled pink that after all the money the U S Federal Government spent in Iraq to (SO CALL) free the Iraqi people that the middle east and Iraq are still screwed up nations .

  4. #4 by Blake on March 15, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    Imagine. You cannot count to a trillion. Though the million plus lives lost are priceless.

  5. #5 by Tom on March 15, 2013 - 6:35 pm

    Punish the Jew neo-cons that forced us into Iraq; even Thomas Friedman of the Jew York Times said “if not for about a dozen neo-cons, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq”. But, we let the Jews dictate our foreign policy, so it’s our own fault. Treasonous Senators and Congressmen are Israel’s servants.

  6. #6 by Mark Propheter on March 15, 2013 - 6:50 pm

    “If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in,” Bucci said. “Just the time alone would have been enough to stop us. Everyone thought it would be short.”

    “the toppling of Saddam and the results of an unforeseen conflict between U.S.-led forces and al Qaeda militants drawn to Iraq were positive outcomes of the war.”

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

    To the first statement. Either he is a liar,incredtably stupid or a outright agent or all three!
    Because the outright pending desaster awaiting are incurtion into Iran. Do not seem
    to stop the War Time Propaganda the President expauses himself! With words like
    “All cards are on the table!” Translation “We’re going to bomb the shit out of your country
    eventually! We just need a false justification first though! To cover are asses and to protect Israel!’

    The second statement which is incredtably monsterous! To infere that the USA
    needed a war in someone elses backyard. To draw out our true enemies is insane!
    That is like if I were a cop and decided to shoot a suspected robber at the bank the
    robbery was taking place in. By shooting thru one of the patrons!

    The third is absurd! I quess he don’t know that al Qaeda has been popping up all over
    the Middle East and Africa! From the current “Freedom Fighters” in Syria to the Rebbels
    in Libya! Yea! The USA took care of that al Qaeda problem alright! We just decided to
    work with them for are own despotic macinations! That is if they were not working for
    the USA and Israel all along!

    Unbeivable! Even after knowing the facts about the lies that lead us (The USA) into
    these wars for Empire and for Israel! They still justify them! What a DEMON this Bucci is!

  7. #7 by Ba Aden on March 15, 2013 - 8:07 pm

    This much of money could have been spent on the poor people of the USA and the Iraqis would still have their beautiful country as Sadam build it and offered all his life to make a strong M7Eastern country until the USA invaded Iraq and fucked up the country down there.

  8. #8 by Leo on March 15, 2013 - 10:13 pm

    Bottom line… if the U S invades Iran, this will not be like Iraq or Libya, as Iran has in part a security pack with Russia, (just another superpower) Russia has just as many nukes as the states, completely different scenario . Dempsey of the Joint chiefs of staff realizes the International and military implications of going up against Iran as this is not just about Iran which indeed Iran is the focal point of this international crisis . That arrogant fool in the white house is pushing world leaders around, fact of life, pushers get pushed .

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