The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades
The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later.
Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years.
The interest on expenses for the Iraq war could amount to about $4 trillion during that period, the report said.
The report also examined the burden on U.S. veterans and their families, showing a deep social cost as well as an increase in spending on veterans. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion.
Ten years after the U.S. invasion, the war in Iraq represents
"A poor choice poorly implemented," says CFR President Richard N. Haass, who was then a senior State Department official. Haass says the cost--in terms of U.S. blood and treasure and a shaky Iraq--was clearly not worth it.
The Iraq campaign, along with the current war in Afghanistan and the Vietnam War, he says, "show the folly of overlooking local realities, be they political, cultural, or historic, and trying to impose our views on these societies and trying to remake these societies using large amounts of American military might."
Essentially, the president was persuaded that large things could be accomplished at small costs. And given that calculation, from his point of view it made good sense.