We at the Angrybear have argued that as President Bush emphasizes the benefits of his decision on 3/19/2003 to invade Iraq, we should also be mindful of the enormous costs. It is not simply the budgetary costs but also the costs in terms of lost lives both in terms of the over 1000 American soldiers and the number of Iraqis killed, wounded, or economically displaced. Of course, the loss in American prestige, resources devoted to the real war on Al Qaeda, and the rejuvenation of Al Qaeda’s recruiting efforts have dwarfed the benefits of ousting Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, which has made us less safe from terrorism.
And let’s not forget the number of our soldiers wounded, which via Juan Cole, we learn from this letter from Erik K. Gustafson, Executive Director – Education for Peace in Iraq Center is being underreported:
Of course, U.S. military deaths are only part of the total number of U.S. casualties we are suffering in Iraq. And judging from the numbers, these other casualties are clearly being under-reported by the Pentagon. The military is ONLY counting soldiers it classifies as wounded in action. Historically, casualty counts have always included injuries and illnesses…Here’s another article describing how the Department of Veterans Affairs counted 33,000 Iraq and Afghan war veterans seeking healthcare. Obviously, not all of these are related to the war. However, the fact that 33,000 have sought care already is highly alarming.
His letter ends with this comment about the death toil among Iraq civilians:
And we must not forget the toll the conflict is having on Iraq’s civilian population. According to Amnesty International and others, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed since the war began. The number of total Iraqi deaths may be as high as 30,000.
Yes, Saddam Hussein has been removed from power. But American safety from terrorism has been increased as a result, while the toll of human sufferring is being underreported by our government. Why?