Thursday, June 24, 2004

$3,415 per American family

The invasion and occupation of Iraq would
have cost the average US household at least $3,415 by
the end of this year, says a expert study.
The Washington-based think tank, the Institute for
Policy Studies (IPS), also says that not only have US
taxpayers paid a "very high price for the war," they
have also become "less secure at home and in the
In a report entitled "Paying the Price: The Mounting
Costs of the Iraq War," IPS states that the US would
have spent $151.1 billion on the invasion and
occupation of Iraq by the end of the year. This
translates into $3,415 per American household.
The report points out that $151.1 billion could have
paid for comprehensive health care for 82 million
Americanchildren or the salaries of nearly three
million elementary school teachers.
The same amount, it says, if spent on international
programmes, could have cut world hunger in half and
covered HIV/AIDS medicine, childhood immunisation, and
clean water and sanitation needs of all developing
countries for more than two years.
Apart from the financial costs, the report says, the
US also absorbed "costs in blood" that are "by no
means insignificant."
More than 850 US troops have been killed since the
start of the war on March 20, 2003, just over 700 of
them since President George Bush declared the end of
major hostilities on May 1, 2003. In addition, more
than 5,134 troops were wounded until mid-June 4,600
of them since the official end of combat. Nearly
two-thirds of the wounded received injuries serious
enough to prevent them from returning to duty.
The toll among Iraqis is much higher.
According to the IPS report, t between 9,436 and
11,317 Iraqi civilians have been killed as a direct
result of the US. invasion and ensuing occupation,
while an estimated 40,000 Iraqis have been injured. In
addition, during "major combat" operations both during
the invasion and after May 1, 2003, the report
estimates that between 4,895 and 6,370 Iraqi soldiers
and insurgents were killed as of mid-June.
The IPS report also refers to the long-run health
impacts of the estimated 1,100 to 2,200 tons of
ordnance made from depleted uranium (DU), which caused
illnesses among US soldiers in the first Gulf War and
led to a seven-fold increase in child birth defects in
southern Iraq since 1991, that were expended during
the March 2003 bombing campaign.
The report also highlights the psychological impact of
the warm, post-war resistance and crimes, including
murders, rapes, and kidnapping. It points out that
deaths from violence rose from an average of 14 per
month in 2002 to 357 per month in 2003.
Other points that the report highlights include:
— Iraqi women do not enjoy safety and security outside
their homes.
– Many Iraqi children cannot attend school.
— Water and electricity networks are far short of
meeting the demands as a result of sabotage by
guerrillas and corruption by companies like
— Iraq's hospitals and health systems have been
overwhelmed by a combination of lack of supplies and
unprecedented demand created by the ongoing violence.
The IPS report also highlights that the US has
suffered a seriouos blow to its own standing and
credibility in the international scene among both
Muslims countries as well as America's traditonal
allies in Europe. The US actions also led weakening
the UN and international law by the wars against
Afghanistan and Iraq and the inhumane treatment of
detainees in both wars.
In conclusion, the report states that the US have to
pay the price for its invasion of Iraq for a long
time. It refers to to an assessment by the
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
that the Iraq war has led to a swelling of the ranks
of anti-US groups, particularly Al Qaeda.
Accordingn to the IIS, Al Qaeda's membership at
18,000 with 1,000 active in Iraq.