Averring a statement attributed to Pope Pius XII who once said, "Nothing is lost to peace. Everything may be lost to war," a new study shows that the United States has paid at least $1.7 trillion for executing the war in Iraq, with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to veterans. These expenses could surmount the $6 trillion mark over the next four decades when interest is included, according to the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
Besides the cost to the treasury, the butcher's bill for the deadly conflict in oil-rich Iraq comes to at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians but may actually be as many as a multiple of four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute. The death toll rises to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000 when security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included.
The report came just days before the 10th anniversary of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq that followed the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. It is the result of the cooperation of some 30 academics and experts. This was also an update of a 2011 Watson Institute report produced for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The report provided an assessment of the cost in treasure and blood for the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
The 2011 study found that the combined cost of the wars was at least $3.7 trillion, based on expenditures from the U.S. Treasury and future commitments, such as the medical and disability claims of Ameican war veterans. That figure now reaches nearly $4 trillion in the update.
The estimated death toll from the three wars has increased in the latest report to 272,000 to 329,000 from the 224,000 to 258,000 deaths noted in the first report. Not included were deaths attributable to the exodus of physicians and the physical infrastructure destroyed by war. It also left out the trillions of dollars that the U.S. will pay over the next 40 years on interest. The report also reflected on the heavy cost imposed on American veterans and their families. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion: tribute to the fiscal and social costs of war.
According to AntiWar.org, the number of American service personnel killed in the Iraq conflict as of 2013 is 4,448. Total wounded: AntiWar cites an official number of 32,021 but provides its own estimate of 100,000. It estimated total U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan as 2,178.