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Some of the costs of the Iraqi war

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Paul Craig Roberts is a former editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. During the Reagan administration, he was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy.

He wrote an essay "What the Iraq War Is About" for an anti-war website "" 1 Because of copyright restrictions we cannot reprint his essay here; however, we are allowed to paraphrase parts of his essay.

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Counter supplied by the National Priorities Project

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Roberts lists some of the personal costs of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq at the start of the sixth year of conflict:
bullet Official government sources list:
bullet 4,538 U.S. soldiers killed
bullet 29,780 U.S. troops wounded in Iraq.
bullet The government does not publish official estimates of Iraqi and Afghan casulties.
bullet A RAND Corporation report estimated that "some 300,000 U.S. troops are suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan..."
bullet "Expert studies" estimate up to:
bullet 1.2 million Iraqis killed -- almost all civilians.
bullet 2 million Iraqis have fled the country.
bullet 2 million Iraqis are internally displaced within Iraq.
bullet Afghan casualties are unknown.
bullet An Email from Gen. Michael J. Kussman, undersecretary for health at the Veterans Administration, to Ira Katz, head of mental health at the Veterans Administration allegedly stated that an average of 126 veterans commit suicide weekly. To the extent that this number exceeds the normal suicide rate, it would be appropriate to add the surplus to the number of combat fatalities.
bullet Massive levels of damage to housing, infrastructure and the environment.

Added to the above are economic costs. U.S. Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the full cost of the Iraqi war will eventually be between three and five trillion dollars. The war has been responsible for part of:

bullet The tripling of the cost of oil and gasoline.
bullet The dramatic decline in the value of the U.S. dollar in comparison with other currencies.

Finally, Roberts suggests that the:

"... moral costs are perhaps the highest. The moral costs are perhaps the highest. All of the deaths, injuries, and economic costs to the U.S. and its victims are due entirely to lies told by the president and vice president of the U.S., by the secretary of defense, the national security adviser, the secretary of state, and, of course, by the media, including the 'liberal' New York Times. All of these lies were uttered in behalf of an undeclared agenda. 'Our" government has still not told 'we the people' the real reasons 'our' government invaded Afghanistan and Iraq."

"Instead, the American sheeple [sic] have accepted a succession of transparent lies: weapons of mass destruction, al-Qaeda connections and complicity in the 9/11 attack, overthrowing a dictator and 'bringing democracy' to Iraqis."

"The great, moral American people would rather believe government lies than to acknowledge the government's crimes and to hold the government accountable."

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Reference used:

  1. Paul Craig Roberts, "What the Iraq War Is About," AntiWar, 2008-APR-23, at:

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Original posting: 2008-APR-23
Latest update: 2008-APR-23
Editor: B.A. Robinson

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