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Report Assesses Iraq War's Costs
As debate over the Iraq War rages across the nation and peace activists plan a Sept. 24 rally in Washington likely to be the largest anti-war demonstration since early 2003, the Institute for Policy Studies has released a report that comprehensively assesses the conflict's costs to the U.S., Iraq and the world, and analyzes why bringing the troops home is the only viable option.
"The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of the War and the Case for Bringing Home the Troops," is available at:
The third in a series of reports by the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy In Focus, this report underscores the cost of "staying the course" and outlines an exit strategy.
- An Expensive Quagmire: Monthly operations costs in Iraq are estimated at $5.6 billion in 2005. By comparison, the average cost of U.S. operations in Vietnam over that war's peak eight years was $5.1 billion per month, adjusting for inflation. The Iraq War could cost more than $700 billion, according to current estimates. In current dollars, the Vietnam War cost U.S. taxpayers $600 billion.
- Planning for a Permanent War: The U.S. has so far spent $204.4 billion on the Iraq War including $236.5 million budgeted in 2005 for the construction of permanent U.S. military installations in Iraq.
- Too Many Mercenaries. There are as many as 25,000 "military contractors" stationed in Iraq. The State Department, Defense Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development don't know the exact cost of relying on these hired guns. Tellingly, military contractors now outnumber troops from coalition countries other than the U.S., which total only 22,348. (There are 138,000 U.S. troops based in Iraq.)
- More Dead and Wounded. There have been 491 U.S. and coalition casualties per month since the January elections, a rate higher than the 482 casualties seen in the initial invasion phase. Members of the Army Guard have been hit
particularlyhard in recent months, with an average of 13.3 deaths per month since the elections, the highest of any period since the 2003 invasion. At least 23,589 to 26,705 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war so far.
The Institute for Policy Studies http://www.ips-dc.org is an independent center for progressive research and education in Washington, D.C. FPIF, a network of policy experts, is a joint project of the International Relations Center (IRC) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)http://www.fpif.org
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