by Dan Bolles
You might not know it from the gloomy weather currently besiegingthe Northeast, but today is the first day of Spring, which, in Vermont,means virtually nothing — we probably won't see leaves for anothermonth . . . sigh.
Coincidentally, it is also the fifth anniversary of the daycombat operations began in Iraq. President Bush declared war on March19, 2003, but the attack actually began the following day, March 20, at 5:30 a.m.
In recent weeks, assessing the cost of the second longest war in UShistory has been a hot topic amongst media pundits of all politicalpersuasions. The estimates range from hundreds of billions of dollarsto several trillion. In either case, that's a lot of dough. Good thing there's nothing wrong with our economy, right? (or should I say, "eh?")
But to gauge the true cost of war, one needs to look beyond merefinancial tolls and reconcile the deeper effects on soldiers, families andcommunities from both sides of the firing lines and the global society asa whole. What follows is a sobering statistical breakdown that helps toput some the larger, less obvious intangibles into perspective.
This was sent to me by my good friend Ben Hudson from TrueMajority.org. We'll get back to music tomorrow, I swear.
The Costs of the War in Iraq By the Numbers
The Cost to Our Forces in Iraq
29,395: Number of U.S. service members that have been wounded in hostile action since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq. [AP, 3/11/08]
60,000:Number of troops that have been subjected to controversial stop-lossmeasures--meaning those who have completed service commitments but areforbidden to leave the military until their units return from war. [US News and World Report, 2/25/08]
5:Number of times the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment has been sent toIraq. They are the first Marine Corps unit to be sent to Iraq for afifth time. [San Francisco Chronicle, 2/27/08]
2,100: Number of troops who tried to commit suicide or injure themselves increased from 350 in 2002 to 2,100 last year. [US News and World Report, 2/25/08]
11.9: Percent of noncommissioned Army officers who reported mental health problems during their first Iraq tour [Los Angeles Times, 3/7/08]
27.2: Percent of noncommissioned Army officers who reported mental health problems during their third or fourth Iraq tour [Los Angeles Times, 3/7/08]
The Cost to Our Military Readiness
88: Percentof current and former U.S. military officers surveyed in a recentindependent study who believe that the demands of the war in Iraq have"stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin" [Foreign Policy/Center for New American Security, 2/19/08]
94: Percent of Army recruits who had high school diplomas in Fiscal Year 2003 [Larry Korb, The Guardian, 10/12/07]
79: Percent of Army recruits who had high school diplomas in Fiscal Year 2007 [Larry Korb, The Guardian, 10/12/07]
4,644: Number of new Army recruits who were granted moral waivers in Fiscal Year 2003. [Houston Chronicle, 10/14/07]
12,057: Number of new Army recruits who were granted moral waivers in Fiscal Year 2007. [Houston Chronicle, 10/14/07]
67:Percent of captains the Army managed to retain this year, short of itsgoal of 80 percent, and in spite of cash bonus incentives of up to$35,000 [Armed Services Committee Hearing, 2/26/08]
The Cost to Our National Security
1,188: Number of global terrorist incidents from January – September 11th, 2001. [American Security Project, "Are We Winning?," September 2007]
5,188: Number of global terrorist incidents in from January- September 11th, 2006. [American Security Project, "Are We Winning?," September 2007]
30: Percent increase in violence in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2007. [Reuters, 10/15/07]
21: Number of suicide bombings in Afghanistan in 2001. [Center for American Progress, "The Forgotten Front," 11/07]
139: Number of suicide bombings in Afghanistan in 2006, with an additional increase of 69 percent as of November 2007. [Center for American Progress, "The Forgotten Front," 11/07]
30: Percent of Afghanistan controlled by the Afghan Government according to DNI Mike McConnell. [Associated Press, 2/27/08]
2,380: Days since September 11th, 2001 that Osama Bin Laden has been at-large.
The Cost of Funding the War in Iraq
$50-60 Billion: Bush Administration's pre-war estimates of the cost of the war. [New York Times, 12/31/02]
$12 Billion: Direct cost per month of the Iraq War. [Washington Post, Bilmes and Stiglitz Op-Ed, 3/9/08]
$526 Billion: Amount of money already appropriated by Congress for the War in Iraq. [CRS, 2/22/08]
$3 Trillion: Total estimated cost of the Iraq War. [Washington Post, Bilmes and Stiglitz Op-Ed, 3/9/08]
$5 Trillion - $7 Trillion: Totalcost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accounting for continued militaryoperations, growing debt and interest payments and continuing healthcare and counseling costs for veterans. [McClatchy, 2/27/08]
160: Percent that the cost of the Iraq War has increased from 2004 to 2008. [CRS Report, 2/22/08]
The Cost to Iraqis and Journalists
8,000: Number of Iraqi military and police killed since June 2003. [Brookings Institute, Iraq Index, March 13, 2008]
82,000-89,000: Estimate of Iraqi civilians casualties from violence since the beginning of the Iraq War. [Iraq Body Count]
4.5 Million: Number of Iraqi refugees both inside and outside the country. [Washington Post, 3/17/08]
61: Percent of Iraqis that believe the U.S. military presence makes the security situation in Iraq worse. [Agence France-Presse, 3/17/08]
127: Number of journalists killed in Iraq since March 2003. [Committee to Protect Journalists]
Economic Costs of War in Iraq
$33.51: Cost of a barrel of oil in March 2003. [Energy Information Administration]
$105.68: Cost of a barrel of oil on March 17, 2008. [NYMEX]
U.S. Troops and Contractors in Iraq
132,000: Number of U.S. troops in Iraq in January 2007, before President Bush's escalation. [Brookings Institution, Iraq Index, 3/13/08]
155,000: Number of U.S. troops currently in Iraq. [Brookings Institution, Iraq Index, 3/13/08]
140,000: Number of U.S. troops projected to be in Iraq in July 2008. [Associated Press, 2/26/08]
35,000: Number of private security contractors operating in Iraq. [Human Rights First, Private Security Contractors at War]
180,000: Number of private contractors operating in Iraq. [Human Rights First, Private Security Contractors at War]
Progress Towards Political Reconciliation Made By Iraqis
3: Number out of 18 Bush Administration Benchmarks Met by Iraqi Government As of January 24, 2008. [Center for American Progress, 1/24/08]
18: Number of provinces President Bush said would be secured by Iraqis as of November 2007. [President Bush Speech, 1/10/07]
8: Number of provinces actually secured by Iraqis as of January 2008. [NPR, 1/7/08]
Bush-Republican Intransigence on Staying the Course in Iraq
8: Number of times a majority of the Senate has voted to change course in Iraq.
7: Number of times Bush Republicans in Congress have blocked changing course in Iraq.
1: Number of vetoes issued by the White House over changing course in Iraq.