US study: Cost of Iraq war is unjustified

(Friday 02 July 2004)


At least 9436 Iraqi civilians lost their lives and 40,000 were injured while 836 US troops were killed and 5134 soldiers wounded during the course of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, according to a new study.

The study titled "Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War" by the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy In Focus says that between the start of war on 19 March, 2003 and 16 June 2004, a total of 952 occupation troops were killed, including 836 of the US military.

Of the total, 693 were killed after US President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on 1 May 2003. Over 5,134 US troops have been wounded since the war began, including 4,593 since 1 May 2003, says the Washington-based think tank.

Thirty international media workers were killed in Iraq during the period, including 21 since Bush declared the end of combat operations. Eight of the dead worked for US companies.

As of 16 June 2004, between 9,436 and 11,317 Iraqi civilians were killed as a result of the US invasion and ensuing occupation, while an estimated 40,000 Iraqis were injured.

In a recent discussion organised by the Washington Post.com, the author of the report Phyllis Bennis said: "&the war was based on lies, has failed to do what they claimed it would accomplish, and has cost way too much in lives, money, the environment and more."


The study reveals a sharp rise in crime. Murder, rape, and kidnapping rocketed after March 2003, forcing Iraqi children to stay home from school and women to stay off the streets at night. Violent deaths rose from an average of 14 per month in 2002 to 357 per month in 2003.

"Living under occupation without the most basic security devastated the Iraqi population," the study pointed out. A poll by the US occupation authority in May 2004 found that 80% of Iraqis saying they had "no confidence" in either the US civilian authorities or in the occupation forces, and 55% would feel safer if US and other foreign troops left the country immediately.

The study also questions the "transfer of sovereignty" to Iraq. It said the country would continue to be occupied by US and allied troops while political and economic independence would be severely limited.

The interim government would not have the authority to reverse the nearly 100 orders by the former occupation authority head Paul Bremer that, among other things, allow for the privatisation of Iraq's state-owned enterprises and prohibit preferences for domestic firms in reconstruction, it adds.


"&the war was based on lies, has failed to do what they claimed it would accomplish, and has cost way too much in lives, money, the environment and more"
Phyllis Bennis, author of the study

The exhaustive study says the health impact of the use of depleted uranium weaponry in Iraq are yet to be known.

 "The Pentagon estimates that US and British forces used 1,100 to 2,200 tonnes of weaponry made from the toxic and radioactive metal during the March 2003 bombing campaign."

It notes that many scientists blame the far smaller amount of DU weapons used in the 1991 Gulf War for illnesses among US soldiers, as well as a sevenfold increase in child birth defects in Basra in southern Iraq.

The study also reveals how major corporations had profited from the conflict. According to it, most of Iraq's reconstruction had been contracted out to US companies, rather than experienced Iraqi firms.

"Top contractor Halliburton is being investigated for charging $160 million for meals that were never served to troops and $61 million in cost overruns on fuel deliveries," it says.

Halliburton employees also took $6 million in kickbacks from subcontractors, while other employees have reported extensive waste, including the abandonment of $85,000 trucks because they had flat tyres.

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