Cost-Benefit Analysis on Iraq and Afghanistan

Is it time to withdraw from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Let’s step back for a moment and consider the current status of both wars:


The cost of lives for the U.S. is about 6,000:  5,200 from our military, plus 800 civilian contractors and journalists.  The deaths for Iraqi soldiers and other Coalition forces total 10,500.  Estimates for the number of Iraqi civilians killed range as high as 600,000.  In addition, the count of those seriously wounded is some 34,000 for the U.S. military, and 6,000 for other coalition forces.

The cost in money for the U.S. taxpayers is nearly $1 trillion on these wars.  The cost of deploying each U.S. soldier for one year in Iraq is $390,000.  This is only adding to the mounting deficit due to the unprecedented spending of the Obama administration, all during poor global economic conditions, and a falling dollar.

Some 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes.  Inflation in Iraq is as high as 50%, and unemployment 60%.  28% of Iraqi children suffer from chronic malnutrition.  Most homes have electricity for less than two hours per day; only 37% are connected to a sewer system; and, only 30% have adequate access to water.  All of these statistics are much worse than before the war started.

82% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops.  Less than 1% believe that Coalition forces improved security; 72% have no confidence in the coalition forces; and, 67% feel less secure because of our occupation.  In addition, most U.S. citizens are now opposed to these wars.

I suppose that we could chalk up a benefit to the fact that there are 180,000 private contractors in Iraq, making money hand-over-fist, although (as noted above), at the risk of coming home in a body bag as well.


Maybe we’ve averted some terrorist attacks, but where’s the evidence?  Couldn’t we have made just as much progress in this regard without these wars?


The war in Afghanistan was justified at first, because we were after Bin Laden.  However, our efforts continue to fail, due to non-cooperation from the local population, as well as incompetence on the part of both our (the world’s best?) military and intelligence.

Justification for the Iraqi War was always shaky, at best, and constantly changing in order to sound convincing:  First it was due to violation of U.N. sanctions; then supposed (but non-existent) weapons of mass destruction; and, then a supposed (but non-existent) tie between Bin Laden and Hussein.  Then our military and intelligence failed us again, due, in part, to mismanagement of the war by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, etc.  (I’m a political conservative, but that administration failed in this regard, and the Obama administration is following in step.)


While critics of the war call this situation another Vietnam, the proponents of the war say that it pales in comparison.  However, as each day and year go by, these wars look more and more like Vietnam.  We choose to continue losing our young men and women instead of decisively winning the wars, due to concerns about political correctness, such as suffering a poor reputation from other countries for excessive civilian casualties (although 600,000 have already been killed).

Although we suffered 58,000 deaths in Vietnam, we’ve now lost 6,000 in these wars, plus another 10,000 in Coalition forces.  When we add the 34,000 of severely wounded to that number (50,000 total casualties), and the numbers keep increasing every month, these wars do indeed seem like another Vietnam.  We’re in our ninth year now, and Vietnam lasted only 16 years.  Not even the Civil War, WWI, WWII, or the Korean War lasted this long.  Also, just like Vietnam, the proponents of the war claim that we’re winning, since the death toll for our enemy is 55,000, compared to 17,000 for Coalition.  This is probably a more convincing argument for those who have none of their family members in this number.

Looking back at these mismanaged wars, one can draw a sad analogy.  In retaliation for the 3,000 deaths we suffered on 9/11, we’ve chosen to add another 6,000 deaths of our own countrymen to that number, and over 600,000 from other allied countries.  Perhaps most importantly, our intelligence is too poor to find Bin Laden, despite our superior technology and manpower.

Yes, if we’re not determined for a quick victory, it’s time to cut our losses and get out.

2 Responses to “Cost-Benefit Analysis on Iraq and Afghanistan”

  1. Steve says:

    I agree, it’s a mess. Political correctness makes “winning” all but impossible now days. Our military is too constrained by politics to be truly effective.

    However, the Taliban will be more than happy when/if we leave. That fact worries me a lot since there is no limit to their radical hate for us.

  2. I just heard this thing on the radio about Greatest actor in the world Tom Truong up coming movie Jesus Christ Second Coming. It’s a movie about the son of God reborn on earth to save us from armageddon of December 21 2012.

Leave a Reply