I’m trying to keep a tally of what Gulf War II has cost vs. what we achieved. This is still a developing situation, it could change tomorrow or not change in the next few weeks at all.
My fear is a sense of jingoistic achievement (we WON after all right?) and the short attention span of US citizens will cloud why this war really began in the first place. For example, though good news and heartening for the folks back home, rescuing POWs was not an initial reason to go to war.
Neither was liberating Iraq (I don’t recall liberation being in 1441 or any of the other previous 17 resolutions that the US used as it’s pretext for waging legal war).
We’re already picking out our next targets (Syria) and there is a real risk, if we don’t produce our objectives, that what originally began as pre-emptive wars for security turn into wars of adventurism.
- 157 Coalition Soldiers Dead
- 495 US Wounded (no details on UK Wounded)
- 6,355 Iraqi Civilian Casualties (Killed and Wounded Source: Abu Dhabi TV)
- Iraq National Museum Iraq National Library looted and destroyed (1)
- US Taxpayer Costs $80B for the leadup and War itself $5-20B a year for reconstruction for 2-3 years (oil will *not* pay for this amount for at least 2-3years as it will be entirely needed for food and supplies to the Iraqi people).
- Initial War Aims Saddam Hussein Regime Change – Achieved, though he’s not captured/killed yet he’s definitely out of power
- Eliminate WMD – We haven’t found any yet, I give another two weeks for the real searching to get underway. If we haven’t found any by that time I don’t think we will.
- Eliminate Ties to Al-Queda – Haven’t found any yet, like WMD we should give another two weeks after that it would be hard to tell what was pre-existing in Iraq vs. what has come in the country to find targets of opportunity amongst occupying US forces. So far the closest we’ve gotten is arresting a Palestinian terrorist guilty of planning the Achille-Lauro attack in 1985, though no indication he’s linked to Al-Queda or has been active since. Time will tell….
(1) I would rank this cultural/historical loss slightly behind ALL of World War II’s cultural damage but certainly one of the highest single event losses since the burning of the Library of Alexandria. What makes it aggravating is that it was entirely preventable (the Oil Ministry protected by US Troops suffered no looting) and foreseen (Bush had created a specific committee to advise on preserving Iraq’s national heritage, the top items on their list were these two buildings, those committee members have now resigned in protest). We just didn’t have adequate troops on the ground to handle all our responsibilities and it was not made a priority which I think will harm US relations with Iraq for a long time to come. Imagine losing the Smithsonian and Library of Congress, which documents 200 years, and times that by 300 to account for the 6,000-year history contained in these two facilities. Besides it reveals Bush’s pledge “I care for the deep cultural history of Iraq” totally bogus.