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War’s ongoing cost


To the editor:

What are the costs of war whether by direct military intervention, proxy wa or economic war in the form of sanctions and blockades? Who suffers the most from these wars? Who is held accountable?

A case in point is the Iraq war, with implications for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S.-led proxy war and the continued death and destruction. It was 20 years ago, on March 20, 2003, that the Bush-Cheney administration, with support from leading Senate Democrats such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, invaded Iraq. 

It was a war of deception based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, mushroom clouds and Saddam Hussein’s links to Al Qaeda and 9/11. As one administration aide said in 2004, “We’re an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality.” In the buildup to the war, the mainstream media acted as court stenographers and cheerleaders. 

The consequences of the Iraq war included possible war crimes committed by Bush administration officials and by American forces, the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and Iran’s increased influence over Baghdad. The Watson Institute at Brown University concluded that the total cost of the war in Iraq and Syria, including estimated obligations for veterans’ future care, will be $2.9 trillion. 

We still have 2,500 troops in Iraq, and are fighting a proxy war against Russia and Iran in Syria with over 900 troops and hundreds of contractors. Over a 20-year period since the American invasion, “between 550,000-580,000 people have been killed in Iraq and Syria … and several times as many may have died due to indirect causes such as preventable diseases,” according to The Watson Institute. There are over 7 million refugees and almost “8 million people are internally displaced in these countries.” 

The Biden administration recently requested $400 million dollars in its ongoing fight against ISIS. On March 18, The New York Times described Iraq as a country “rich in oil, hobbled by corruption and unable to guarantee its citizens’ safety.”  When questioned by The Times, the State Department refused “to comment on the impact of the war in Iraq.”

Howard Elterman


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