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