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The Cost of War in Iraq: 'Mission Accomplished' - 5 Years Later

On May 1, 2003, President Bush landed on the U.S.S. Lincoln, an aircraft carrier adorned with a banner reading ‘Mission Accomplished,' and declared major combat operations in Iraq over. Five years later, the war in Iraq continues to take a grave toll on our troops and their families, our military readiness, the fight against terrorism, our standing in the world and on the American economy.

The hundreds of thousands of brave men and women in uniform serving in Iraq - and their families - deserve reasonable rotations out of combat and a plan to responsibly redeploy from Iraq. The New Direction Congress has enacted the largest veterans' health care funding increase in history, and continues to work to rebuild our ability to respond to or deter threats around the globe.

THE COST TO OUR TROOPS & THEIR FAMILIES

  • Since the President declared ‘Mission Accomplished' on May 1, 2003, 3,908 brave American men and women in uniform have been killed and an estimated 29,366 have been wounded in Iraq. Furthermore, since the war began in March 2003, a total of 4,058 brave American men and women in uniform have been killed and an estimated 29,911 have been wounded in Iraq. [Defense Department, 4/30/08]
  • More than 1.7 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 2001 - nearly 611,000 have been deployed more than once. [Department of Defense, 3/31/08]
  • More than 782,000 servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are parents with one or more children - 40 percent have been deployed more than once. Nearly 35,000 troops have been separated from their children for four or more deployments. [Department of Defense, 2/29/08]
  • According to a report by the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team, “work-related problems due to stress, mental health problems and marital separations generally increased with each subsequent month of the deployment.” [3/6/08]
  • A recent RAND Corporation survey estimates “some 300,000 U.S. troops are suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 320,000 received brain injuries.” [AP, 4/17/08]
  • According to recently released internal emails from the VA's head of mental health “nearly 1,000 U.S. soldiers per month have attempted suicide after returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [GovExec.com, 4/30/08]

THE COST TO OUR ECONOMY

  • In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Comptroller General David Walker noted American taxpayers are bearing a considerable fiscal burden as the Iraqis experience budget surpluses. “The Iraqis have a budget surplus… We have a huge budget deficit…One of the question is who should be paying.” [AP, 3/11/08]
  • The United States has spent as estimated $46 billion on reconstruction contracts in Iraq - even as many of our needs - education, health care, roads and bridges, etc. - here at home go unmet. [Bloomberg, 4/30/08]
  • The price of oil in Iraq has skyrocketed since the war began - the per barrel price up 250 percent since 2003. New estimates show the Iraqi government is expected to take in a record $70 billion in oil revenues this year. [Wall Street Journal, 4/30/08]
  • The national average price per gallon of regular gasoline before the start of the Iraq war was $1.73.  Today, it is $3.62 - more than double what it was in March 2003.  This was predicted.  “[In March 2003,] Sung Won Sohn, then an economist for Wells Fargo Bank, noted that anytime there is conflict in the Middle East, oil prices hit record figures.  He warned that the longer the war lasted, the higher the prices would go.” [EIA; AAA 4/30/08; San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/30/08]
  • The U.S. military is being squeezed at the pump in Iraq as well - paying an average of $3.23 per gallon of fuel - compared to $1.36 per gallon paid by Iraqi residents. [AP, 4/2/08]


THE COST OF IRAQ WAR BROKEN DOWN

Second:    $3,919
Minute:     $235,160
Hour:     $14.1 million
Day:     $338.6 million
Week:     $2.4 billion
Month:     $10.3 billion
Year:    $123.6 billion
[Congressional Research Service, 2/22/08]

THE COST TO OUR MILITARY READINESS

  • More than 477,080 servicemembers in the National Guard and Reserves have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 - one quarter of these brave men and women have been deployed more than once. [Department of Defense, 3/31/08]
  • Even fewer Army National Guard units are combat-ready today than were in early 2007 when the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves determined that 88 percent of the units were not prepared for the fight, the panel said in its report.” [AP/MSNBC, 1/31/08]  [GAO Testimony, 2/14/08]
  • 88 percent of current and former military officers surveyed by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for New American Security believe the demands of the Iraq war have “stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin.” Sixty percent say the U.S. military is weaker than it was five years ago. [Foreign Policy/Center for New American Security, 2/19/08]
  • Army Vice Chief of Staff Richard Cody has testified that the U.S. Army “no longer has fully ready combat brigades on standby should a threat or conflict occur.”  [Washington Post, 4/2/08]
  • The Army estimates once operations in Iraq and Afghanistan end, it will cost between $12 billion and $13 billion a year for at least two years to replace, repair and rebuild equipment lost or destroyed in war. [GAO Testimony, 2/14/08]