There’s a huge difference between the very limited expansion of the U.S.’s presence in Iraq that president Barack Obama announced on June 19 and the full-on U.S. invasion of the last decade.
Still, the very fact that the U.S. is sending additional troops to Iraq, where the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has taken over major cities and infrastructure, brings the last big U.S. military operation in the country to mind — as well as its steep costs.
Obama’s response to this latest crisis won’t look anything like Operation Iraqi Freedom. In this case, the military’s aims, scope, methods, and targets (if it comes to that), will be far different than they were when the U.S. invaded in 2003.
But with Iraq back in the news, it’s worth reflecting on the staggering price of the last big U.S. entanglement in the country — and recalling what the U.S. has already sacrificed there.
189,000: Direct war deaths, which doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands more that died due to war-related hardships.
4,488: U.S. service personnel killed directly.
32,223: Troops injured (not including PTSD).
134,000: Civilians killed directly.
655,000: Persons who have died in Iraq since the invasion that would not have died if the invasion had not occurred.
150: Reporters killed.
2.8 million: Persons who remain either internally displaced or have fled the country.
$1.7 trillion: Amount in war expenses spent by the U.S. Treasury Department as through Fiscal Year 2013.
$5,000: Amount spent per second.
$350,000: Cost to deploy one American military member.
$490 billion: Amount in war benefits owed to war veterans.
$7 trillion: Projected interest payments due by 2053 (because the war was paid for with borrowed money).
$20 billion: Amount paid to KBR, contractor responsible for equipment and services.
$3 billion: Amount of KBR payments Pentagon auditors considered “questionable.”
$60 billion: Amount paid for reconstruction, (which was ruled largely a waste due to corruption and shoddy work.)
$4 billion: Amount owed to the U.S. by Iraq before the invasion.
$12 billion: Cost per month of the war by 2008.
$7 billion: Amount owed to Iraq by the U.S. after the war (mostly due to fraud).
$20 billion: Annual air conditioning cost.
Missing: $546 million in spare parts; 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47s.
40 per cent: Increase in Iraqi oil production.
$5 billion: Revenue from Iraqi oil in 2003.
$85 billion: Revenue from Iraqi oil in 2011.
$150 billion: Amount oil companies are expected to invest in oil development over the next decade.
$75 billion: Approximate amount expected to go to American subcontracting companies, largest of all Halliburton.
0: Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction found (though a bunch of chems were discovered).
Perhaps most importantly, this list doesn’t account for the emotional damage caused to service members and their families as well as the destruction to the homes, social fabric, and psyche of the Iraqi people.