"By the time US combat troops left Iraq at the end of 2011, 4,487 US military personnel had died. In comparison, Iraq Body Count conservatively estimates that between 110,110 and 120,293 Iraqi civilians died violent deaths between the invasion and November 2012. Research carried out by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health puts the number even higher, estimating that as many as 654,965 people were killed between the invasion and 2006. By September 2012, US $212 billion of US and Iraqi government money had been allocated for postwar reconstruction of the Iraqi state. In the aftermath of US troop withdrawal in 2011, in spite of the thousands of civilians who have died and the billions of dollars that have been spent, the lives of ordinary Iraqis, in terms of the relationship to both their state and their economy, are comparable to the situation they faced in the country before regime change…… it is clearly time to rethink the costs involved in exogenous attempts at transforming the internal political systems of states targeted for intervention. Can external interveners actually deliver sustainable economic and political change to the states in which they intervene?"
In addition this newsletter contains two follow up articles on the economic cost of US wars, this time from the viewpoint of Defence Contracting.
Spencer Ackerman writing in Wired Magazine discusses a report from the US Commission on Wartime Contracting. This report concludes that “vast amounts” of contract money in Iraq and Afghanistan provided “little or no benefit” to the war efforts. The commission confirmed $31 billion in contractor cash lost to corruption or dysfunction. But it warned that the true figure could be as high as $60 billion, or “$12 million every day for the past 10 years.” And even that massive figure — almost 30 percent of all wartime contract dollars — isn’t the whole story. Iraq and Afghanistan remain riddled with corruption. That corruption endangers all the “apparently well-designed projects and programs” that the U.S. has launched in both countries. The Wired Article mentioned here can be accessed at: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/wasted-war-cash/
The legacy of all the money the U.S. "wasted" in Iraq might be summed up with a single quote. “$55 billion could have brought great change in Iraq,” Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently told the U.S.’s Iraq auditor. In fact, the U.S. spent $60 billion in its botched and often fraudulent efforts to rebuild the country it invaded, occupied and recast in its image. With the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion looming, Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, considers $8 billion of that money wasted outright. And that’s a “conservative” estimate. This second Wired Magazine article can be accessed at: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/iraq-waste/
A Final Report From the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction culminates SIGIR's nine-year mission overseeing Iraq's reconstruction is a very informative and well illustrated document of relevance. The SIGIR's Final Report can be accessed at: http://www.sigir.mil/learningfromiraq/index.html