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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cost of the Iraq War

I read an interesting article in Huffington about the cost of the Iraq war. Take a look at:

Here are some excerpts:

For the past few months, a strange thing has been happening in the central Iraq town of Fallujah. Thousands of citizens, virtually all of them Sunni Muslims, have been gathering in public squares to protest the oppressive Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Sleeping in tents and wielding Twitter feeds and YouTube accounts, the young Sunnis have attempted to take democracy, and a certain sectarian disaffection, into their own hands.

It's not quite the Iraqi Arab Spring -- although that's what it's been tentatively called by some -- but it is a reminder of the stark failure of nearly a decade of American-led warfare in that country.
When President George W. Bush announced the invasion into Iraq in March 2003, the goal was to remove a dangerous dictator and his supposed stocks of weapons of mass destruction. It was also to create a functioning democracy and thereby inspire what Bush called a "global democracy revolution."

The effort was supposed to be cheap -- to require few troops and even less time. Instead, it cost the United States $800 billion at least, thousands of lives and nearly nine grueling years (see the graphic below for a further breakdown of various costs).

The toll on the people of Iraq were even greater. A decade of war left chaos and impoverishment, hundreds of thousands of citizens dead and millions more displaced, and a vicious sectarianism that still threatens to rip the country apart at the seams. The government of Nouri al-Maliki, which has reportedly interfered with independent government bureaucracies and ordered the arrest of his Sunni vice president on trumped-up terrorism charges, often rules in a manner more befitting the autocrat the U.S. invaded to remove.

"Here is a country that's being liberated," proclaimed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld a few days into the invasion, even as the first signs of the chaos to come began to stir. "Here are people that are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they're free."

Well instead of the Sunnis repressing the Shitte (Shia) and the Kurds, which existed before our invasion, now we have the Shitte repressing the Sunnis and Kurds after our invasion.  I suppose the next go around the Kurds will be repressing the Sunnis and the Shitte.  Do we really think that things will ever change in Iraq.  Do you feel good about our expenditures of money, life, and limb?

The article goes on to state:

"$800 billion -- was spent on the mission overall, a boondoggle that left more than 4,000 American service members dead, 32,000 more wounded, and an authoritarian government in place that is little better -- and possibly, owing to its closer ties to Iran, worse -- than the one that was taken out.

The total cost over the next 50 years may exceed $6 Trillion as we pay for a lifetime of VA care on the 2,500,000 troops that served in Iraq from 2003 to 2012.

The following is from Foreign Affairs Magazine

Nine years after U.S. troops toppled Saddam Hussein and just a few months after the last U.S. soldier left Iraq, the country has become something close to a failed state. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presides over a system rife with corruption and brutality, in which political leaders use security forces and militias to repress enemies and intimidate the general population. The law exists as a weapon to be wielded against rivals and to hide the misdeeds of allies. The dream of an Iraq governed by elected leaders answerable to the people is rapidly fading away.

The Iraqi state cannot provide basic services, including regular electricity in summer, clean water, and decent health care; meanwhile, unemployment among young men hovers close to 30 percent, making them easy recruits for criminal gangs and militant factions. Although the level of violence is down from the worst days of the civil war in 2006 and 2007, the current pace of bombings and shootings is more than enough to leave most Iraqis on edge and deeply uncertain about their futures. They have lost any hope that the bloodshed will go away and simply live with their dread. Acrimony in the political realm and the violence in the cities create a destabilizing feedback loop, whereby the bloodshed sows mistrust in the halls of power and politicians are inclined to settle scores with their proxies in the streets.

The 9/11 terrorist did not come out of Iraq, Iraq had no weapons of mass distruction.  The war was a scam and a disaster.

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