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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Archive for the tag “Iraq”

U.S. Has Spent $6 Trillion On Wars That Killed Half A Million People Since 9/11 – Report

The United States has spent nearly $6 trillion on wars that directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 people since the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

Some of the Costs of War Project’s main findings include:

  • 370,000 people have died due to direct war violence, including armed forces on all sides of the conflicts, contractors, civilians, journalists, and humanitarian workers.

  • It is likely that many times more than 370,000 people have died indirectly in these wars, due to malnutrition, damaged infrastructure, and environmental degradation.

  • 200,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence by all parties to these conflicts.

  • Over 6,800 US soldiers have died in the wars.

  • We do not know the full extent of how many US service members returning from these wars became injured or ill while deployed.

  • Many deaths and injuries among US contractors have not been reported as required by law, but it is likely that at least 6,900 have been killed.

  • 10.1 million million Afghan, Iraqi, and Pakistani people are living as war refugees and internally displaced persons, in grossly inadequate conditions.*

  • The US military is conducting counterterror activities in 76 countries, vastly expanding the counterror war across the globe.

  • The wars have been accompanied by erosions in civil liberties and human rights at home and abroad.

  • The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades with some costs, such as the financial costs of US veterans’ care, not peaking until mid-century.

  • US government funding of reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan has totaled over $170 billion. Most of those funds have gone towards arming security forces in both countries. Much of the money allocated to humanitarian relief and rebuilding civil society has been lost to fraud, waste, and abuse.

  • The cost of the Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria wars totals about $5.6 trillion. This does not include future interest costs on borrowing for the wars, which will add an estimated $8 trillion through 2054.

  • The ripple effects on the US economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases.

  • Both Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rank extremely low in global studies of political freedom.

  • Women in Iraq and Afghanistan are excluded from political power and experience high rates of unemployment and war widowhood.

  • Compelling alternatives to war were scarcely considered in the aftermath of 9/11 or in the discussion about war against Iraq. Some of those alternatives are still available to the US.

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The Middle East’s Tinderbox Is Heating Up Again

After a months-long stretch of merely sporadic violence and simmering tensions, the Middle East seems on the verge of another fiery eruption, and there are no outside powers with the interest or leverage to douse the flames.

Read Here – Slate

How Sanctions Feed Authoritarianism

The United States has a long history of intervening overseas to solve one problem and inadvertently creating others. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration armed rebels fighting Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed government only to find that some of them later targeted the United States…It’s worth remembering these precedents as the Trump administration prepares to reimpose sanctions on Iran as part of its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Read Here – The Atlantic

A Brief Global History Of A Tactic That’s Back In Style: Toppling Other Countries’ Governments

More sensible strategists might have first considered whether this goal even makes sense. What does history teach us? Did previous efforts at regime change (by the United States and by others) produce the expected benefits, or did they end up making things worse? Does regime change produce real benefits at relatively low cost, or is the price tag usually much higher than expected, while the benefits tend to be disappointing?

Read Here – Foreign Policy

The Man Who Could Shape Iraq’s Future

Moqtada al-Sadr won’t be Iraq’s next prime minister, but he may very well decide who is. It’s a striking outcome for the Shia cleric who forged a reputation as a radical in the insurgency he led against the U.S. after the invasion of 2003, and who then defined himself as an Iraqi nationalist through his defiance of Iran.

Read Here – The Atlantic

John (“Bomb Iran”) Bolton, The New Warmonger In The White House

Hawks are closing in on the White House. John Bolton, arguably the most abrasive American diplomat of the twenty-first century, will soon assume the top foreign-policy job at the National Security Council.

Read Here – The New Yorker

Also Read: What stands between John Bolton and blowing up the world?

Reflections On A War Gone Wrong

4,500 U.S. troops died in Iraq, and countless more returned home with physical and psychological wounds they—and we, as a society—will deal with for the rest of their lives. As a nation, we have sunk over one trillion dollars into Iraq so far— one trillion dollars you see missing every day in unpaved roads, underpaid teachers, and the social services our congressional leadership tells us we don’t have the resources to fund, writes Andrew Exum.

Read Here – Defense One

Also read: The Iraq War and the Inevitability of Ignorance

Ending A Decade Of Silence, Israel Reveals It Blew Up Assad’s Nuclear Reactor

The State of Israel formally acknowledged that its air force blew up a Syrian nuclear reactor in the area of Deir Ezzor in the pre-dawn hours between September 5 and 6, 2007, in a mission known to much of the world as Operation Orchard. The official confirmation ends a 10-and-a-half year policy of referring to the event with a smirk and a wry “according to foreign reports.”

Read Here – Times of Israel

The US Legacy In Iraq: Violence, Sectarianism – And Elections

After 15 years of violence, insecurity and sectarianism following the US invasion of Iraq, finding cause for optimism can be a fool’s errand for Iraqi leaders. This week marks the 15-year anniversary of the start of the US invasion of Iraq, ostensibly to free Iraqis from tyranny and oppression. What came next is well known: With the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein, the US unleashed a storm of killing and division that persists to this day.

Read Here – Al Jazeera

Mapping A World From Hell

The Costs of War Project identifies no less than 76 countries, 39% of those on the planet, as involved in that global conflict.  That means places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya where U.S. drone or other air strikes are the norm and U.S. ground troops (often Special Operations forces) have been either directly or indirectly engaged in combat.  It also means countries where U.S. advisers are training local militaries or even militias in counter-terror tactics and those with bases crucial to this expanding set of conflicts.  As the map makes clear, these categories often overlap.

Read Here – TomDispatch.com

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