Iraq: Looking Back

The war is over, the Dragon is slain.

And what do we have to show for it?

Just shootin’ from the hip and not really digging into numbers?  I’d say, “Not much”.

But that’s just me.

I think the place is better off than when we went in.  I think a nation is “more free”.  I’m pretty sure the region is more stable.  And Democracy, at least to a degree, flies her flag in more places than before.  And, AND, we now have military bases in region if we need to defend against Iran.

On the other hand, lives were lost, lots of lives.  And we didn’t do a good job on winning the victory.  Electricity continues to be an issue as does running water.  Trust is low and tensions are high.  We could’a done that and been gone 3-4-5 years ago.

And the cost.  How much money did we spend in Iraq for all of this questionable gain?

For some reason I hear trillions.  Like several, maybe 3.  But is that accurtae?


The correct answer to my question, according to the Congressional Budget Office, is $709 billion. The Iraq War cost $709 billion.

The CBO breaks that cost down over the eight calendar years of 2003-2010. Below is a picture of federal deficits over those years with and without Iraq War spending.

A lot of money to be sure.  But certainly not the contributing factor to the debt that I had thought it was.

2 responses to “Iraq: Looking Back

  1. I wouldn’t call Iraq exactly “stable”. The unfortunate history and nature of that country has made it so that when Saddam’s autocratic iron fist was removed, sectarian war could erupt. But beyond that you wrote a good, tidy article. Must say I am surprised and impressed.

    Where did you get that nifty chart if I may ask? I also thought that the Iraq war stacked your country’s fiscal deficit far greater than the drop-in-the-bucket I am seeing!

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