The Iraq War, or the War in Iraq (also referred to as the Occupation of Iraq, the Second Gulf War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United States military), was a conflict that occurred in Iraq from March 20, 2003 to December 15, 2011, though sectarian violence continues and has caused thousands of fatalities.
Throw in the replacement of vehicles, weapons, equipment, etc., and the eventual tab [of the Iraq war] for the United States could reach $4 trillion to $6 trillion, according to University of Columbia economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University budget expert Linda Bilmes. Those are big numbers.
They would be on par with the $4.6 trillion the US spent on the recent financial bailouts, according to Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Wall Street research firm Fusion IQ and author of the popular blog The Big Picture (another estimate puts the bailout cost at $8.7 trillion).
Women veterans are more likely to be critical of the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan than their male counterparts, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.
Sixty-three percent of female veterans say the war in Iraq was not "worth fighting," and 54 percent say the same of Afghanistan. Among male veterans, only 47 percent criticized the Iraq war and 39 percent disapproved of the efforts in Afghanistan, according to the poll.
Near total lack of Iraq's capability for any aspect of joint warfare other than land combat makes the Iraq War unique and, again, makes any traditional comparisons of the strength of Iraqi and coalition land forces largely meaningless. This is particularly true in light of the relatively static nature of much of the Iraqi regular army forces during the war and Iraqi leadership's fialure to effectively exploit Iraq's strategic geography.
But much of [the money shipped from the New York Federal Reserve in funding the Iraq War] was stolen, misappropriated, and simply lost. Despite Congressional hearings and reports, official inquiries from Washington to Baghdad, an investigating special inspector general’s office and Department of Defense, nobody knows exactly what happened to the bulk of the money. Likely destinations of the stolen fiat, secretly printed out of thin air to fund the US government’s illegal war and occupation in Iraq, went towards intricate contracting schemes, corrupt Iraqi and American officials, and brash, blanket appropriations in war torn Iraq.
Even after the U.S. declares an end to its presence in Iraq in December, about 157 U.S. service personnel are expected to remain, working out of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad under Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen.
Their job will be to oversee security assistance to the Iraqi government, as similar embassy contingents do in many other Persian Gulf countries and beyond.
The war in Iraq has resulted in some 4,480 US troops killed and more than 32,000 wounded. (The Iraqis have suffered far more fatalities, about 654,965, according to the British medical journal The Lancet.) Thus, ongoing medical and disability claims and treatment of US veterans will boost the costs of the Iraq war even more.
The full history of the evolution of the war plan used in the Iraq War remains a "black box." Few really know the details of how the coalition war plan evolved, and the options involved, beyond those directly involved in formulating and executing it.
On December 18, 2011, the last U.S. soldiers leave Iraq, ending a nearly nine-year military mission. Since 2003, more than one million airmen, soldiers, sailors, and Marines served the country. The costs of the conflict were high: $800 billion from the U.S. Treasury, with nearly 4,500 Americans and well over 100,000 Iraqis killed.
Since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, the New York Federal Reserve has been shipping tens of billions of dollars to the government and central bank of Iraq, ostensibly for reconstruction and resumption of governmental services after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Between 2003 and 2008, over $40 billion in cash was secretly shipped in trucks from the New York Federal Reserve compound in East Rutherford, New Jersey to Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, where they were then flown by military aircraft to Baghdad International Airport. In just the first two years, the shipments of dollar bills weighed a total of 363 tons.
In March 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq vowing to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and end the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. When WMD intelligence proved illusory and a violent insurgency arose the war lost public support.