The Cost of War

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  March 20, 2013

Later that month, the Democratic staff on the House of Representatives' Budget Committee argued Lindsey's estimates were off — though not in the direction you might imagine. The headline in the Wall Street Journal: "Lindsey Overestimated Costs of Iraq War, Democrats Say."

$2.2 TRILLION The actual tally for the conflict, as calculated by the "Costs of War" project.

The total includes some $530 billion in current and future costs of caring for wounded veterans.

Previous experience suggests post-war medical and disability costs peak 30 or 40 years after a conflict.


4488 The number of US military deaths in Iraq.

3418 The number of US contractors killed in Iraq.

The toll, often obscured by our focus on military deaths, is probably far higher than we realize. Many employees of American firms are foreign nationals whose injuries and deaths, it appears, are often not reported.

293 The number of journalists (231) and humanitarian workers (62) killed in Iraq.

189,000 The "Costs of War" tally of deaths directly attributable to the war.

The total includes an estimated 134,000 civilians killed in the conflict. Many of those civilians died in air strikes, despite the use of much ballyhooed precision-guided bombs.

The total also includes deaths in the sectarian clashes that followed the war — clashes that continue.. Iraq Body Count tallied 4570 violent civilian deaths in 2012.

The 189,000 figure does not include deaths stemming from the war-related destruction of clean water, health care, and housing infrastructure.


251 PERCENT The rise in the rate of neurological disorders in the military since 2001.

The jump is likely related to the toxic dust kicked up heavy military vehicles rolling across the Iraqi and Kuwaiti landscapes.

There's also been a 47 percent increase in the rate of respiratory problems and a 34 percent rise in rates of cardio-vascular disease.

500,000 The estimated number of clinically depressed children of American military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some two million children, total, have coped with deployment of a parent to one of the two wars.

3 TIMES HIGHER The rate of child abuse in Army homes from which a parent was deployed.

349 The number of military suicides in 2012.

The rate of military suicides is historically quite low. By last year, though, it had eclipsed the civilian rate.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can also lead to heavy drinking and all manner of "vehicular mayhem." Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are 75 percent more likely to die in car crashes than comparable civilians.


1/2 MILE The distance traveled by an M-1 Abrams tank on a gallon of fuel.

TWO-THIRDS of the fuel consumed by Army vehicles was used to transport a precious commodity to the battlefield: fuel,


1 IN 12 The proportion of Iraqis still displaced from their homes.

That's 2.8 million people in total, about half of them refugees and half internally displaced.

HALF of Iraqi's 34,000 doctors have fled the country since 2003.

Thousands of doctors were held for ransom, killed, or wounded.

53 The percentage of Iraqis living in slum conditions.

That's up from 17 percent before the war — tripling the total.

ONE The number of women in Iraq's 44-member Cabinet.

That's down from six in 2005-2006. Women's progress in Iraq, an early measure of the war's success in transforming the country, is mixed at best. ^

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