The final report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction states that over $60 billion of U.S. dollars was spent in Iraq on reconstruction. “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” which began in March 2003, aimed to essentially take down Osama Bin Laden and his dangerous followers and the invasion, which was put into action by former President George W. Bush, was initially projected to require significantly less funds, time, and troops. Iraqi Freedom was also meant to inspire democracy within the tumultuous Middle East by what Bush called a “global democracy revolution”. Now ten years later, with thousands of American casualties and Bin Laden finally dead, the U.S. is tallying up the billions spent on the war.
According to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, the total cost of war operations in Iraq from 2003 up until the troop withdrawal in 2011 was $806 billion. Even worse, the report states that 4,475 of American troops were killed during the war, with a staggering 32,221 troops wounded. Of returning troops, 131,341 suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 253,330 received traumatic brain injuries.
The nearly ten years of war took a great toll on America and especially the Middle East, leaving countless dead and exiled in Iraq , and leaving the nation vulnerable to continued years of hardship.
Correction: This article originally stated that “$800 billion was spent during the Iraq war, with $8 billion downright ‘wasted'” as sourced to the report, “Learning From Iraq” from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The report from the Special Inspector does not speak to the total cost of the war. The figure of “over $800 billion” is sourced to the report “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11” from the cost of war project which can be found here.
Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.