Sunday, April 06, 2008

human and financial cost of the war in Iraq

How do we count the cost of war? Both human and financial burdens face a country at war. 'The Three Trillion Dollar War' by Joseph Stiglitz & Linda Bilmes is such an eye opener. I have not quite finished it but my brain is reeling at the numbers of human casualties and the obscene amounts of money this war has cost and will continue to do so even when it is over.

In 2005 the US was paying $34.5 billion in annual disability entitlement to veterans of previous wars of which $4.3 billion is paid annually for those in the first Gulf War. $34.5 billion A YEAR paid out. Can you imagine that? And just think of the human suffering behind these sums.

The 'unprecedented human cost among the veterans who return from Iraq and Afghanistan ........ By December 2007, 224,000 returning soldiers had applied for disability benefits'. And this is just in the US Armed Forces!

As for Iraqis what hope have they got? The book says 'As the US continues to place an emphasis on developing the Iraqi military to replace the American presence, it is worth asking what the cost to that country will be of providing medical care and any kind of long-term benefits to Iraqis who are fighting in this war.' Indeed! T


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