Tag Archives: cost of war

Ready.Fire.Aim. Yield? 190,000 dead; $2.2 trillion; ten years

And so it began ten years ago tomorrow.

This week Brown University (another bastion of liberal lies and anyway, it’s un-American since it was founded before the American Revolution) published a comprehensive study of the costs – in blood and treasure – of our adventurous invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq. (The full report is here. It’s broken down by subject – dollars, lives, politics etc.)

According to the report, the war has killed at least 190,000 people, including
men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians and will cost the United
States $2.2 trillion.

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 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.

Dont know if they touch on this, but neither electricity nor oil production has reached pre-war levels yet. And there is that business of Iraq now being a Shia ruled country aligned with Iran. But Cheney et al got their blood. So there’s that.

Afghanistan didn’t go away but I did

Throughout 2009 and 2010, I made a habit of posting – quite regularly – the number of days/years we’d been in Afghanistan.

The last of those posts was far too long ago, May 1, so . . . today is the 284th day of the 11th year of our war in Afghanistan. No matter the withdrawal deadlines, we will of course be involved in Afghanistan with troops, contractors and dollars for decades to come.

The chart below is from Costs of War – at least the numbers are finally all going in the right direction. There’s lots of detailed info over there if you’re interested.

Perhaps he’s hitting a few golf balls?

I sure hope George Bush is having a nice life.

Today is the 145th day of the 11th year of the War in Afghanistan.

And are we still at ‘war’ in Iraq? We invaded that country nine years ago this month, so something like 4,000 days?

$1.3 Trillion American dollars (mostly borrowed, can’t raise taxes ya’ know; this ain’t the 1940’s fer Elvis’ sake!). Watch the dollar clock here.

US military dead in Iraq – 4486.

US military dead in Afghanistan – 1914.

Money for bombs, and the gas is free . . .

He doesn’t care what the gas really costs. War makes him feel all triumphant but gas prices make him feel like a victim. From Anderson at the Houston Chronicle:

Still rebuilding Iraq. The US can wait.

Those cranes would be welcome in my home town

Our ’embassy’ in Baghdad opened in 2009. We call it an embassy, but it’s really a small city behind enormous blast walls and protected by thousands of troops and contractors. It’s entirely independent of Baghdad itself, and has its own power plants, water supply and waster water treatment facilities.  There are 21 stand alone buildings.

It is larger than Vatican City. It is larger than Disney World. And up to now security has been the responsiblity of the US Department of Defense.  That ends soon and all tasks, including security, are to be turned over to the US State Department.

The State Department is racing against an end-of-year deadline to take over Iraq operations from the U.S. military, throwing up buildings and marshalling contractors in its biggest overseas operation since the effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.

While attention in Washington and Baghdad has centered on the number of U.S. troops that may remain in Iraq, they will be dwarfed by an estimated 16,000 civilians under the American ambassador — the size of an Army division.

I certainly understand that appearances matter – a diplomatic presence is less hostile than a military presence. It’s friendlier. And that’s a good thing.  But come on . . . !

The list of responsibilities the State Department will pick up from the military is daunting. It will have to provide security . . . in a country that is still rocked by daily bombings and assassinations. State is contracting a security force of about 5,000.

. . . The State Department will operate its own air service — the 46-aircraft Embassy Air Iraq — and its own hospitals . . .  4,600 contractors, mostly non-American, will provide cooking, cleaning, medical care and other services. Rounding out the civilian presence are about 4,600 people scattered over 10 or 11 outside sites.

I wonder what the budget is?

Ten years in: we know who broke this but can anyone fix it?

When I began this blog, I made a habit of  regularly posting the count of years and days we’d been in Afghanistan. At first, I posted every day. Soon it was every week, then every two . . .  the last time was August 31.

But today I must, because today is the first day of the tenth year of the War in Afghanistan.

  • US dead: 1800
  • US wounded: 18,000
  • Direct war fighting dollars spent by US: $461 billion

And?

  • The Taliban are back.
  • Afghanistan remains splintered.
  • President Karzai is openly corrupt, and
  • he is derisively called the “Mayor of Kabul” and people are tyring to kill him

This war should have been over in a year or two.  It would have been had someone not had a yen for Iraq. Now we have no idea what we’re doing there and we can’t identify a way out. And when we do get out? Tragically, Afghanistan will revert back to what it’s been for a thousand years, confirming yet again that it is “the graveyard of Empires”.

Has a president ever left a bigger mess behind than George Bush did?

Afghanistan, cost of war and money to the Taliban

It’s been way too long since I posted an Afghanistan update, something I used to do frequently. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been there so long now that it’s receding into a background noise. The news media barely mentions Afghanistan any more unless more than a few Americans are killed.  (As for Iraq, it’s not mentioned at all.)

But I did continue my Afghanistan calendar and can tell you that today is the 292nd day of the tenth year of the war. That’s 73 days short of the 11th year. And we’ve spent almost $500 billion there. Add in Bush’s war, Iraq, and we’ve spent $1.3 trillion.

Here’s a little something from the Washington Post this morning – breaking news: we’re wasting money in Afghanistan and bunches of it are going to arm Taliban fighters:

. . . money was traced from the U.S. Treasury through a labyrinth of subcontractors and power brokers. In one, investigators followed a $7.4 million payment to one of the eight companies, which in turn paid a subcontractor, who hired other subcontractors to supply trucks.

The trucking subcontractors then made deposits into an Afghan National Police commander’s account, already swollen with payments from other subcontractors, in exchange for guarantees of safe passage for the convoys. Intelligence officials traced $3.3 million, withdrawn in 27 transactions from the commander’s account, that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash.

So it’s okay I guess.

I hate taxes but war money is just fine

Robert Greenwald directs us to this website, How Much Did You Pay for War THIS YEAR.  It’s a project of Rethink Afghanistan and the calculation proports to be for that war only. But the small print indicates the results include ‘other military spending’, so it’s a bit manipulative though not dishonest. Even if it counts every paperclip in the Pentagon, it’s stunning. I calculated a few using ‘single’ as status..

EARNED $40k?   You paid $1694. Using this year’s cost as an average, that means since 2001, you paid almost $17,000.

EARNED $50K?   You paid $2379.  Using this year’s cost as an average, that means since 2001, you paid almost $24,000.

EARNED $70K?   You paid $3749.  Using this year’s cost as an average, that means since 2001, you paid almost $40,000.

Since I’m on the subject – today is the 181st day of the tenth year of that war. We are now 184 days away from the 11th year.

We’re there. Happy Memorial Day America

A few days ago, I posted about an approaching milestone. Just a few hours ago, we reached it. We have now spent one trillion dollars on our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Where are the parades?

And do the soldiers know? After all, most of them are actually in Afghanistan, where it is the 234th day of the ninth year of the war.

A billion dollars a day

Imagine that! Let me say it again – a billion dollars a day. That is how much your country is now spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We’ve been in Iraq for over seven years and as any reader of this blog knows, we’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years. A trillion dollars is just days away. At this writing, the total is at $993 billion. (That’s $158 million for my own county. We are fewer than 300K people.)

Afghanistan is a war the American people wanted. Iraq is a war George Bush wanted. Iraq has cost us almost three times as much as Afghanistan, where we’re still engaged – and where troops numbers and fighting has escalated . Oh, it’s the 218th day of the ninth year there.

Iraq has been a disgrace for America, whatever the near term outcome. The fact of it violated everything we preach, every value we’ve ever fought for.

I got what I wanted, suckers!

Even if Iraq ended up being the ‘Paris of the Middle East’,  it wouldn’t last. Lebanon was once the “Paris of the Middle East”. Today it’s a ruin. The endless military actions and power struggles in that part of the world won’t go away because yet another country got into the fight.

In spite of what FOX News (owned by an Australian), The Weekly Standard (owned by the same Australian) or The Washington Times (owned by the Korean Blessed Father Sun Myung Moon) said in 2003, Iraq was always brought to you by Bill Kristol, The Project for A New American Century*, and all the neo-cons who hide behind the guns in young soldier’s hands.

* The PNAC was co-founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1997, with roots in the 1992 Pentagon. PNAC’s original 25 signatories were an eclectic mix of academics and conservative politicians, several of whom have subsequently found positions in the presidential administration of George Walker Bush. PNAC is noteworthy for its focus on Iraq, a preoccupation that began before Bush became president and predates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 1998, the group wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (then Senate Majority Leader) and Newt Gingrich (then Speaker of the House of Representatives), demanding a harder line against Iraq. By then, the group had grown in numbers, adding individuals such as former Reagan-era U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, and long-time Washington cold warrior/pro-Likud Richard N. Perle.

Oh, and Dick Cheney was a signatory as were Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dan Quayle.