A terrible price in blood and treasure
Published: 24 October 2007
The human cost of the 2003 invasion of Iraq has rightly commanded a huge amount of public attention. We are well aware of the thousands of British and American soldiers who have been killed and injured in this war, as well as the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died. But what has been given rather less scrutiny is the financial cost of this ongoing military operation. On Monday, the US President, George Bush, asked Congress for $189.3bn to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other assorted security operations in 2008.
If it is passed, this funding bill would put the total cost of Iraq, Afghanistan and other counter-terrorism operations at $807bn since 2001.
And it is estimated that the total cost of US military operations in Iraq could exceed $1trillion by the time Mr Bush leaves office.
What has been gained for this financial outlay
? Not much. Iraq is a state on the brink of implosion. The Middle East region is in turmoil. The threat posed to the West by Islamists has been heightened. The international reputation of the US and Britain has been gravely compromised.