Iraq War: 10 years, 190,000 lives, $2.2 trillion

BROWN / BOSTON U. (US) — The Iraq War has killed more than 190,000 people and will cost the US $2.2 trillion, far exceeding initial 2002 estimates of $50 to $60 billion, according to a new analysis.

New estimates from the Cost of War project say those killed include men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians. The price tag includes costs for veterans through 2053.

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 US 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.
  • The $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 US service members killed in Iraq is 4,488. At least 3,400 US 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 staggering number of deaths in Iraq is hard to fathom, but each of these individuals has to count and be counted,” says project co-director Catherine Lutz, professor of anthropology and international studies at Brown University.

“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,” says co-director Neta C. Crawford, professor of political science at Boston University.

The project also assesses claims made as part of the rationale for invading Iraq: increased US security, enhanced democratic governance in Iraq, and improved conditions for Iraqi women.

The Costs of War project involves 30 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists from 15 universities, the United Nations, and other organizations.

Source: Brown University

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  1. Mark greenbaum

    Dick Cenney’s legacy.

  2. Steve

    Iraq has 12% of the gulfs oil…, the cost if lives is tragic beyond belief
    But the cost in dollars is small change compared to what they can get for the oil

    Over the next two decades, total world energy consumption will double with serious energy alternatives decades away. Energy prices and the energy share of national income will steadily increase. Monopoly profits will go to the owners of oil. The Arab Gulf has 65% of proven oil reserves in the world, and Iraq 12%. Iraq can produce 2 billion barrels per year. At $100 per barrel, that oil will sell for $200 billion. The population of Iraq is 24 million making that income $8000 per person. Iraq selling a quarter of its proven reserves at an average price of $100 for the next 20 years would generate 90 billion x $100 = $9 trillion. If the population of Iraq grows to 30 million that would be $300,000 per capita for 20 years, or $15,000 annual income per capita.
    The total value of Iraq potential oil reserves at an average profit of $75 per barrel over next 100 years is 360 billion x $75 = $27 trillion or $900,000 per capita, not including natural gas revenue that lately about equals oil revenue. Most of Iraq has not been explored for gas or oil. For the Arab Gulf region, proven oil reserves are 195 trillion barrels. Selling this oil at an average profit of $75 per barrel for the next 100 years will generate $15,000 trillion income. If half of that is invested, it would grow to $7,500 trillion or a quarter of the present total capital assets in world.

  3. antoniocristovao

    Is necessary and usefull explain what international agreaments says about payments of wars expenses.
    Who had to pay? Iraqui oil revenues ?

  4. cindy

    It is very very sad that the >3,000 lives lost in the Twin Towers’ attack has now cost 190K lives and trillions of dollars. Yet……. should the American people have just rolled over and acquiesced and not responded for the sake of “damage control”??? How do you look into the eyes of the grieving spouse and say “we’re not going to do anything because even more lives will be lost?”

    The laws of physics demand that “force requires equal force” and that the dominant force will prevail. What will happen if the USA passively rolls over to these forces? US citizens are running around buying guns to protect themselves against some elusive intruder into their homes and planning to be on site when the “active shooter” is capping their children. Who is capable of shooting out of the sky Iran’s nuclear weapons that are vectored towards the US continent? Most likely the next attack will be aimed at NY, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, San Fransisco………

  5. Betty

    Cindy, you seem to equate Iraq to Iran. Oops. And those weapons of mass destruction? Oops. How many more terrorists have we created by our short-sighted hubris?

  6. Joe

    “Study” certainly has a bit of bias built into it from the start. I think it’s smart to try to put numbers to the war, but it seems that they are trying to find all the numbers that will contradict Bush. Hindsight is always 20/20 and what most Americans knew at the start of the war seems to not ALL be true, but that doesn’t mean everything Bush said was untrue.

    Also, it seems that the numbers are angled so that the authors political opinions can be maximized, such as adding in the 500 billion or more of future medical care, and stating that half or more of Iraqi doctors left “during the 2000s.” Add future estimated medical care to anything and you cannot take on any enterprise, since the number is subjective and the estimate can be bloated quite easily. The “2000s” is one that sticks out more because the war started in 2003, so the authors should clarify how many left during each year of “2000s” and I’d think their numbers would drop significantly.

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