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Brown Researchers Say Iraq War Has Killed 190K, Cost $2.2 Trillion

Friday, March 15, 2013

 

University's Cost of War project says conflict is 44,000 times higher than initial estimates thought possible.

Researchers at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies released a report today detailing the cost of the Iraq War: 190,000 people killed and a sticker price of $2.2 trillion.

The fatalities include almost 4,500 U.S. servicemen and women, over 3,400 contractors and about 134,000 civilians. The total number does not account for indirect fatalities that may have been caused by injury or disease, which would push the number up even higher.

“The staggering number of deaths in Iraq is hard to fathom, but each of these individuals has to count and be counted,” wrote Catherine Lutz, a co-director of the project and professor of anthropology at Brown.

The $2.2 trillion price tag is 44 times higher than the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s estimates of $50 to $60 billion in 2002, and accounts for the $500 billion cost of veterans’ care through 2053. Factoring in cumulative interest could inflate even that price nearly twice as much to $3.9 trillion.

The report is the next in Brown’s ongoing Costs of War project and follows up on a similar 2011 report on the financial and emotional costs of the 9/11 attacks.

“Nearly every government that goes to war underestimates its duration, neglects to tally all the costs, and overestimates the political objectives that will be accomplished by war’s violence,” said project co-director Neta C. Crawford, a professor of political science at Boston University.

In addition to fatalities and financial cost, the report examined the conditions in Iraq a decade later: from a sharp uptick in terrorism to the degradation of the nation’s healthcare system. Much of the $60 billion allocated to reconstruction has been diverted to military forces instead of to rebuilding healthcare, transportation, or water treatment systems. Actual reconstruction efforts in Iraq have also been derailed by fraud and waste according to Iraq’s Special Inspector General, the report said.

The report also analyzed claims made to support the invasion, from increased U.S. security, enhanced democratic governance in Iraq, and improved conditions for Iraqi women.

The project included 30 scholars and experts from 15 universities and the United Nations. The full report can be found at http://www.costsofwar.org, where researchers hope to spark a public discussion about the Iraq war.

 

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