Cost of the War in Iraq

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Iraq Information Center

"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort - all other justifications having failed to justify themselves - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people. We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'." Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Prize Lecture in Literature.

Iraq under Bremer was the logical conclusion of Chicago School theory: a public sector reduced to a minimal number of employees, mostly contract workers, living in a Halliburton city state, tasked with signing corporate friendly laws drafted by KPMG and handing out duffle bags of cash to Western contractors protected by mercenary soldiers, themselves shielded by full legal immunity. All around them were furious people, increasingly turning to religious fundamentalism because it’s the only source of power in a hollowed-out state. Like Russia’s gangsterism and Bush’s cronyism, contemporary Iraq is a creation of the fifty-year crusade to privatize the world. Rather than being disowned by its creators, it deserves to be seen as the purest incarnation yet of the ideology that gave it birth. From Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine pg 359.

"Empires are costly. Running Iraq is not cheap. Somebody's paying. Somebody's paying the corporations that destroyed Iraq and the corporations that are rebuilding it. In both cases, they're getting paid by the U.S. taxpayer. Those are gifts from U.S. taxpayers to U.S. corporations." Noam Chomsky: Imperial Ambitions

"The Iraqi blunder has accelerated America's comparative decline by at least a generation." (from Geoffrey Perret's book 'Commander in Chief')

[The U.S. invasion of Iraq was] open act of agression as there has been in modern history, a major war crime. This is the crime for which the Nazis were hanged at Nuremberg, the act of aggression." Noam Chomsky: Imperial Ambitions pg 35

The Lie of the 21st Century: How Mainstream Media "Fake News" Led to the U.S. Invasion of Iraq

Why did we go to war in Iraq ?

We can only speculate about the real motives for the war, but we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on "intelligence", so that we can have honest, unbiased assessments of the intentions of others in the world. With the (s)election of Bush as p(R)esident we got an inarticulate, undistinguished, religious zealot, who clearly had promised to do what his corporate sponsors had paid him for. In this light, the unordered but likely reasons (all bad) we are at war in Iraq are :

  • for the oil The Iraq War WAS about oil (July 12, 2008)
  • to protect the dollar.
  • for empire and hegemony.
  • to remove Saddam. (There are many brutal dictators, many US supported, in the world. We have not attempted to remove any except Saddam.) Then there was Abu Graib.
  • for religious crusade
  • for Bush's personal aggrandizement. (a war President can do much more than a peace-time one.)
  • for Israel (see this link). or this.
  • for personal vendetta.
  • to retaliate for 9/11 ? There was no evidence that the Iraqis had any role in 9/11. Bush minions spun the evidence, with the help of Fox News, to make a false pretext for war.
  • to remove WMD's ? Not likely. Weapons inspectors were on the ground
  • for war profit. VIDEO | Iraq for Sale: As Not Seen on TV
    "Iraq for Sale," the latest documentary from Robert Greenwald, tells a depressingly familiar tale of corporate corruption and war-profiteering in Iraq. Focusing on companies like Halliburton, CACI International and Blackwater Security Consulting, it recites a litany of rapacity and exploitation that ought to have American citizens swarming Congress, demanding heads on pikes. It was about oil... and profit.
  • for democracy ? This was one of the stated reasons, but since we are having difficulty at home maintaining any democracy this reason is a very bad joke. By a large majority Iraqi's want US troops to leave, but, as everyone knows, democracy is not operative there. As with the other changing justifications for war, Americans were misinformed. Since the Bush regime has been an insult to democracy in the US, there is no reason to consider 'democracy' as justification for the War in Iraq.
  • So in the balance between expensive "intelligence" paid for with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, and, on the other hand, political lightweight incompetents who are also war-profiteering, revenge seeking, religious crusaders, empire-builders, torturers, human rights abusing, political hacks. The hacks thumbed their noses at international law and went to war in Iraq. Like Nazi Germans who also made a case for pre-emptive war, they are war criminals. At Nuremberg unprovoked war was judged a war crime.
  • One of the most likely reasons, is this one: "That U.S. military budget exceeds what the rest of the world’s nations combined spend on defense. Nor can it be justified as militarily necessary to counter terrorists, who used primitive $10 box cutters to commandeer civilian aircraft on 9/11. It only makes sense as a field of dreams for defense contractors and their allies in Washington who seized upon the 9/11 tragedy to invent a new Cold War. Imagine their panic at the end of the old one and their glee at this newfound opportunity. Ike was right: Robert Scheer"

The US did not learn the lesson of Vietnam: If people do not want an occupying army, you cannot "win".

Chilcot report: key points from the Iraq inquiry (7/6/2016)

Washington in Wonderland, Down the Iraqi Rabbit Hole (Again) (6/18/2015)

Our Support for Opponents of Syria Created ISIS (5/22/2015)

Jeb Bush Says His Brother Was Misled Into War by Faulty Intelligence. That's Not What Happened. (5/19/2015)

Twelve Years Later, We Know the Winner in Iraq: Iran (4/12/2015)

Noam Chomsky: Defeating ISIS Starts with the US Admitting Its Role in Creating This Fundamentalist Monster (3/3/2015)

The New Iraq War Is Doomed (1/1/2015)

A Nation on the Brink: How America's Policies Sealed Iraq's Fate (7/17/2014)

We Have Been Misled: John Pilger (1/5/2014)

Living With No Future (3/26/2013)

The Iraq War, Ten Years Later (3/19/2013)

How The Iraq War Was Sold (2/5/2013)

Time to Right The Colossal Blunder: The Iraq War (1/13/2013)

Death of a Hero (1/14/2012)

An Empire of Lies (2/28/2011)

Where Do all the Liars Who Got us Into Iraq End up? Fox News! (9/3/2010)

No End In Sight (2007 Documentary A Must Watch.)

Where Has All The Money Gone ?

When was the last time you visited Iraq ? (3/25/2010)

Blair Faces Iraq Inquiry (1/29/2010)

The 25 Most Vicious War Profiteers (7/22/2008)

Iraq - The Incredible Shrinking Story

Gen. Colin Powell - "I Tried to Avoid This War" (7/5/2007)

Iraq Body Count

Bush's War a full length PBS documentary overview of the Middle East wars that you can watch on- line.

Government Lies About Iraq

Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and its Aftermath (a pdf report from a senior Pentagon official) April 2008

Private Contractors 'mismanaged' $23 Billion in Iraq

Whatever the reasons or delusions that led to the war in Iraq, US media, the PR face of corporate profiteers, were cheerleaders.

Media ignores 1.2 million deaths in Iraq.

Iraq: the Ten Commandments. (You might go through an advertisement to see this, but it is worth it.)

A Third Way in Iraq

The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War By Zbigniew Brzezinski (March 30, 2008)

Frank Rich: They'll Break the News on 9/11

Iraq: the ten Commandments

Theft of Billions in Iraq

BBC uncovers lost Iraq Billions

Democrats walked into the Bush trap on Iraq

The Lying Mainstream Media

Cost of the War

A Nice Little War to Fill the Coffers by Antonia Juhasz The Los Angeles Times
October 14th, 2004: President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are correct when they say things are not all bad in Iraq. It just depends on your perspective. Although the military campaign is in chaos, the economic campaign is moving along quite nicely, at least for U.S. corporations and the Republican Party.

Democracy Rising. "has been involved in opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning. The Democracy Rising peace project seeks to bring the troops home and end the occupation of Iraq by empowering activists so they cannot be ignored by decision makers in Washington, DC.

Hijacking Catastrophe

Torture has been the single most widely publicized aspect of the American occupation of Iraq, and it has done more to besmirch the reputation of America throughout the world than any other single set of actions....On December 2, 2002 the secretary of defense gave written authorization for -indeed, issued instructions ordering - the use of procedures banned by the U.S. Army Field Manual as violations of Common Article 3, which is repeated in each of the four Geneva Conventions outlawing torture and cruel treatment. Many people, both American and foreign, now consider that torture is "American". ... As the former general counsel of the U.S. Navy, Alberto J. Mora, who struggled to stop the policy of torture, said to New Yorker correspondent Jane Mayer, "If cruelty is no longer declared unlawful, but instead is applied as a matter of policy, it alters the fundamental relationship of man to government. It destroys the whole notion of individual rights...If you make this exception, the Constitution crumbles. It's a transformative issue." From Out of Iraq by George McGovern and William R. Polk. Pg 86. See this Harpers Magazine piece also.
Just as the appointment of industry lobbyists to key positions in agencies that oversee their former employers results in a kind of institutionalized corruption and the abandonment of law enforcement and regulations at home, the outrageous decision to brazenly grant sole-source no-bid contracts worth $10 billion to Vice President Cheney's former company Halliburton -- which paid him $150,000 annually until 2005 - has convinced many observers that incompetence, cronyism, and corruption have played a significant role in undermining U.S. policy in Iraq. From Al Gore's Assault on Reason.

The three trillion dollar war --The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have grown to staggering proportions By Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes 23 Feb 2008 The cost of direct US military operations - not even including long-term costs such as taking care of wounded veterans - already exceeds the cost of the 12-year war in Vietnam and is more than double the cost of the Korean War. And, even in the best case scenario, these costs are projected to be almost ten times the cost of the first Gulf War, almost a third more than the cost of the Vietnam War, and twice that of the First World War

The Cost of the War in Iraq has been off the books, and the real costs of the War in Iraq are much more than we are told. See the cost in your community

Inside Iraq Blog

...what they claim as the cost of the Iraq war in the budget is not the full cost. There are the operational costs that everybody understands, but then there are costs hidden elsewhere in the defense budget. But then there are really some very big costs hidden elsewhere, like contractors that have been the subject of such concern. We pay their insurance through the Labor Department.

But the most important cost, budgetary cost, that we haven’t talked about publicly, that haven’t been talked about, are the costs of veterans—their disability, veterans’ healthcare—that will total hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decades. This war has had a huge number of injuries, and that will mount, the cost of caring for them, disability. 39 percent of the people fighting, the 1.6 million who have already fought, and if we continue, it will of course be more than that, are estimated will be—wind up with some form of disability.

Then you go beyond that budgetary cost to the cost of the economy. For instance, when somebody gets disabled, the disability pay is just a fraction of what the loss to their family, to the income that they could have otherwise earned. And then you go beyond that to the macroeconomic cost—the fact that the war has been associated with an increasing price of oil. We’re spending money on oil exports, Saudi Arabia, other oil-exporting countries. It’s money that’s not being spent here at home. There are a whole set of macroeconomic costs, which have depressed the economy. What’s happened is, to offset those costs, the Federal Reserve has flooded the economy with liquidity, looked the other way when you needed tighter regulation, and that’s what led to the housing bubble, the consumption boom. And we were living off of borrowed money. The war was totally financed by deficits. And eventually, a day of reckoning had to come, and now it’s come. (Stiglitz comments on Democracy Now!)

Iraq for Sale

"Iraq for Sale demonstrates, once again, the urgent need for an independent war profiteering commission modeled after the fearless work of the Truman Commission during World War II." (from the Nation.)

Inside the world of war profiteers --From prostitutes to Super bowl tickets, a federal probe reveals how contractors in Iraq cheated the U.S. 21 Feb 2008 (IL) A common thread runs through these cases and other KBR scandals in Iraq, from allegations the firm failed to protect employees sexually assaulted by co-workers to findings that it charged $45 per can of soda: The Pentagon has outsourced crucial troop support jobs while slashing the number of government contract watchdogs. The dollar value of Army contracts quadrupled from $23.3 billion in 1992 to $100.6 billion in 2006, according to a recent report by a Pentagon panel.

Order 17Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

Iraq Death Toll

Iraq deaths put at 655,000 11 Oct 2006 American and Iraqi public health experts have calculated that about 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion and subsequent violence, far above previous estimates.

Media ignores 1.2 million deaths in Iraq.

The Lancet's estimate

*Lancet reported 650,000 war-related Iraqi civilian deaths as of October, 2006. Nearly two years later, a reasonable projection of the conservative Lancet estimate would place war-related Iraqi civilian deaths at least 1 million.

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq "1,168,058"

In 2004, the esteemed Lancet medical journal published a study showing that 98,000 Iraqis had most likely died following the US-led invasion ( John Rentoul, chief political correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, responded with sarcasm when we challenged him about his dismissal of the peer-reviewed science:

"Oh no. You have found me out. I am in fact a neocon agent in the pay of the third morpork of the teleogens of Tharg." (Email, September 15, 2005)

In 2006, a follow-up Lancet study estimated that the death toll had risen to 655,000. Today, the probable death toll exceeds one million. (Just Foreign Policy,; 'Update on Iraqi casualty data', Opinion Research Business, January 2008;

From MediaLens

From Guernica to Iraq

Death Toll

Here is some of the research over Iraqi deaths which is being ignored...:

Peer-reviewed (and working papers):[...].pdf

A report on war crimes in Iraq is here

Whatever the reasons or delusions that led to the war in Iraq, US media, the PR face of corporate profiteers, were cheerleaders.

CBS falsifies Iraq war history (01/28/2008)

Bush threatened nations with retaliation if they did not vote for a UN resolution backing the Iraq war

We know (from Paul O'neills book with Ron Suskind ) that from the earliest days of the administration, Bush was determined to invade Iraq. Intelligence was twisted to make a case that 9/11 somehow justified the war in Iraq, but there was little evidence for it. Colin Powell has since apologized for his complicity in presenting the case for war to the UN. Twisting 'intelligence' should be a high crime. None of the pretexts for the Iraq war have turned out to be true. Pre-emptive war was also deemed to be a crime at Nuremburg.

Joe Wilson found that it was unlikely that yellowcake had been obtained from Niger, and, as he carefully documented in his book, his wife was smeared.

A former CIA analyst claims that falsified documents which were meant to show that Iraq's Saddam Hussein regime had been trying to procure yellowcake uranium from Niger can be traced back to Vice President Dick Cheney. Appearing on MSNBC's Tucker Carlson Show, Ray McGovern who served in the CIA for twenty-seven years, said, "the [forged] memo leads right back to the doorstep of the Vice President of the United States."

Scott Ritter, an on-the-ground , weapons inspector questioned the official line and he too was smeared. Generally The Bush administration smeared anyone who disagreed, and the result was that the most capable professionals left government service leaving party hacks. That's why they are so incompetent.

Thomas Ricks describes the result in his book: Fiasco.

Conyers Report

Framing, Death, and Democracy

Collusion Carlo Bonini

Administration Abuses Classification Process To Cover Up Its Failures In Iraq

Noam Chomsky discusses civilization. (Have you noticed, you never see Chomsky on US media...except rarely on CSPAN.)



Life in Iraq under US occupation. (video) also this.

When Bremer Ruled Baghdad: How Iraq was Looted By EVELYN PRINGLE (perhaps one of the largest war time looting in history)

Robert Greenwald on War Profiteering

Sell-Out Democrats Walked into a Bush Trap on Iraq

By Dave Lindorff

They took what they thought was the easy road, condemning not the criminal policies themselves, but only the administration's handling of the wars. This led some to call not for an end to the wars, but for more troops.

Stand up against the surge

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march.... We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!" Molly Ivins


The Bush Administration Lied (2008)

Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Inside Iraq Blog

About winning in Iraq.


Uncovered: The War in Iraq (video on youtube)

Why We Fight

Redacted: a film about Iraq


Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq: T. Christian Miller

Unintended Consequences, How War in Iraq Strengthered America's Enemies: Peter W. Galbraith

State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration: James Risen

The Three Trillion Dollar War: Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes (Stiglitz revised his estimate: It's now more like $4 trillion.

On the Brink : An Insider's Account of How the White House Compromised American Intelligence: Tyler Drumheller (Carroll & Graf, November, 2006)

The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq: Christopher Scheer

Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Rajiv Chandrasekaran (If you thought they were competent, this book will show you otherwise.)

Hubris: the inside story of spin, scandal, and the selling of the Iraq War : Michael Isakoff and David Corn (Rachel Maddow documentary)

Lessons From Iraq, Avoiding the Next War By William D. Hartung, New America Foundation with Miriam Pemberton, Research Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies Paradigm Publishers May 2008 160 pp. | ISSN: 1594514992

Fiasco.: Thomas Ricks

Imperial Hubris: Anonymous

A Solitary War: Heraldo Munoz

Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I

We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People: Peter Van Buren

Inquest Iraq: Policy Witness Testimony

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and peace activist Ann Wright discuss origins and ongoing operations in Iraq.

Wounded: Vietnam/Iraq, by Ronald J. Glasser, M.D.

Glasser sheds light on the profound wounds, physical and emotional, that our troops face in Iraq.

Status of the War

Iraq Veterans Against The War


Why Get Out ?

Democracy Rising

Iraq See Francis Boyle's book or Karen Kwiatkowski comments.

Paul Craig Roberts

Frank Rich

The Stab in the Back

Al Franken's view

Pakistan delivered the bomb to North Korea while US 'intelligence' was told not to look.