Costly, Deadly US War in Iraq Exposed in ‘Biggest Leak of Military Secrets Ever’

December 14th, 2011 - by admin

Al Jazeera – 2011-12-14 21:44:29

The Secret Iraq Files
After the biggest leak of military secrets ever, this special programme reveals the truth about the war in Iraq

Al Jazeera

DOHA (December 2011) – It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint — revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat.

Over the past ten weeks, working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, Al Jazeera has read tens of thousands of documents, which we sourced through WikiLeaks. There is a good reason that Washington did not want you to see them. They reveal the covering up of Iraqi state torture to the truth about the hundreds of civilians who have been killed at coalition roadblocks.

The documents sourced through WikiLeaks cover six years of war. And while they mainly deal with day-to-day events they also allow us to paint a big picture. We are getting an insight into the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq — who pays for it and how it gets its money?

We will be finding out what the Americans really think about Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, and we will reveal details about Iran’s secret war inside Iraq, and America’s massive use of air power — is it as precise as they claim?

Financial Cost: Eight years in Iraq
Al Jazeera

BAGHDAD (December 14, 2011) — The war in Iraq has already cost US taxpayers more than $800bn since the 2003 invasion began. The vast majority of that money was spent by the US Department of Defense, with the balance appropriated for the State Department and USAID programs, as well as the treatment of casualties by the Veterans Administration.

$50 billion was spent on military operations in the first year, and that amount rose steadily to nearly $140 billion in 2008.

The annual cost of the war has fallen steeply since then with just over $45 billion requested for this financial year. US civilian aid expenditure peaked early in the conflict with nearly $20 billion committed to rebuilding the country in 2004. Since then, the State Department has not committed more than $4 billion in aid in any one year.

Death Toll: Occupation in Iraq
Al Jazeera

BAGHDAD (December 12, 2011) — The 2003 US invasion of Iraq was sold to the American public as a war to defend the nation and free the Iraqi people. It has been nearly impossible to determine exact civilian casualty figures during and after the US invasion.

Then-US vice-president Dick Cheney said the military effort in Iraq would take “weeks rather than months.” Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy secretary of defense at the time, said US soldiers would be greeted as liberators and that Iraqi oil money would pay for the reconstruction of the country. But the costs have steadily risen, in financial terms and in lives — both military and civilian.

The highest number of US soldiers to be killed in Iraq was just over 900, in 2007, the same year that then-president George W Bush announced that a surge of 21,000 extra troops would enter the country. For Iraqi military members and police, the bloodiest year on record was 2005, when just over 2,500 were killed.

The number of civilian casualties during the eight-year occupation of Iraq has been less easy to pin down.
Since the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq in March 2003, accurate casualty figures for Iraqi civilians have been almost impossible to confirm. One of the highest estimates was published in the UK medical journal The Lancet, which said that over 600,000 violent deaths occurred between the invasion and June 2006.

Most other estimates of civilian deaths are much lower, with the Iraq Index published by the Brookings Institution in Washington DC reporting nearly 115,000 civilian deaths from March 2003 to April 2011. The Iraq Index also says that nearly 4,500 US troops have been killed in Iraq since the start of hostilities.

Between 800 and 900 US troops died each year from 2004 to 2007. But casualties have fallen since then with just 60 deaths last year and 24 so far in 2011.

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