(W)hile the return of all U.S. service men and women by Christmas is a cause for celebration, the costs of the war are only beginning to be fully understood. The “cakewalk” to Baghdad, as George W. Bush adviser Kenneth Adelman infamously wrote in February, 2002, has been anything but. The Iraq War, and the faulty premise that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, has had a staggering humanitarian and economic cost.
8 years, 260 days since Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program
8 years, 215 days since the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq
8 years, 175 days since President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln
4,479 U.S. military fatalities
30,182 U.S. military injuries
468 contractor fatalities
103,142 – 112,708 documented civilian deaths
2.8 million internally displaced Iraqis
$806 billion in federal funding for the Iraq War through FY2011
$3 – $5 trillion in total economic cost to the United States of the Iraq war according to economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Blimes
$60 billion in U.S. expenditures lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001
0 weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq
We should add, Zero Evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrible events of 9/11.
Oh yes - Saddam was a very evil dictator. And yes, as I've personally been noting for years, it's evident - and should have been from Day One to anyone with even cursory knowledge of Iraq's demographics, military history, internal opposition, sectarian alliances and key dissident communities in exile - that "the dreaded Iran" will, when all is said and done, become the biggest "external" beneficiary of the US invasion. (That this could be foreseen explains the parallel immorality of GHW Bush, the father, being unwilling - with overwhelming US forces on the border - to provide air cover for Shiite rebels uprising against Saddam in the wake of Gulf War One, when there was a chance for a "Lybian-style" rebellion rooted in the Iraqi populace rather than foreign invaders. Those massacres - which could have been avoided - were given as proof of Saddam's perfidy, when the US was complicit - as "we" were in the war crime gassing of Iranian conscripts during the Iran-Iraq war when the Reagan administration shared satellite images of Iran's ground forces with Saddam's military.)
Consolidation of the Gulf region under Shiite hegemony can be seen as "rational" under the raw terms of political power - and was undoubtedly inevitable as an outcome of Iraq's political instability and the eventual fall of Saddam's unconscionable dictatorship sustained by an ethnic minority. But the notion that this predictable outcome was bought and paid for with US blood and treasure is beyond bizarre.
"Kudos" to John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Lindsay Graham, the geniuses of the Bush administration, the neoconservative policy elite, et. al., who are currently attempting to blame President Obama for what can only be seen - even in the imperial terms these bad actors set for themselves - as their terrible folly. It has been an extended nightmare of folly apparently borne of their extreme hubris, profound ignorance, moral irresponsibility and cavalier opportunism.