The meme from my Republican friends who hate President Obama and Democrats in general is Obama has “bankrupted our country and eroded our civil liberties.” What short memories they have. Next week marks the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq seeking WMDs that were never found.
Brown University has released a study on the cost of the Iraq War and its staggering not just in the amount of money and lives wasted but in the manner that the war was financed. The fiscal cost alone could approach nearly $4 trillion by the time interest is factored in. In actual costs, the Iraq war will cost taxpaers $2.2 trillion. This includes costs for caring for disabled veterans through 2053. The initial estimate from the Bush Administration and the GOP controlled Congress at the time –$50 to $60 billion.
The Republican Congress funded the war on the credit card — through borrowing. The cumulative interest on the Iraq War could amount to more than $3.9 trillion, so let’s just round it upwards to $4 trillion. Then there’s the actual human cost. More than 190,000 people were killed with more than two thirds of them civilians. Nearly 4,500 American soldiers dead. About 3,400 U.S. contractors dead. Nearly 32,000 American soldiers wounded, and the numbers of those who will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will devastate families and friends for decades. All for WMDs that weren’t there claiming links between Iraq and Al Qaeda that never existed to make Bush a “war president” to ensure his re-election paid for with other people’s money. Andyes, this is debt inheireted by President Obama and every president elected for the next 40 years.
From the “Costs of War” Project at Brown, these facts:
- 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.
The Costs of War project involves 30 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists from 15 universities, the United Nations, and other organizations. In 2011 the group released figures for a range of human and economic costs associated with the U.S. military response to the 9/11 attacks. It estimated the total combined costs of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan at $4 trillion and total direct war casualties at minimum oft 330,000 men, women, and children.
Costs of War is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, scholarly initiative that derives its purpose from President Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address, in which he warned of the “unwarranted influence” of the military-industrial complex and appealed for an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” as the only force able to balance the often contrasting demands of security and liberty in a democratic state.
I’m also reminded that President Bush dismantled the CIA operations to get Osama Bin Laden in 2006, which many of us were led to believe capturing or killing the mastermind of 9/11 was the original purpose of going to war. So my Republican friends, espeically those who continue to complain about President Obama’s lack of a budget and “out of control” spending, are you going to own up for your part in saddling the American Taxpayer for this much debt?