FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

War Crime

 

On December 6 Pentagon boss Donald Rumsfeld promised four more years of death and destruction in Iraq. Assuming the war continues to cost the US taxpayers $6 billion per month–not including reconstruction costs, fat no-bid contracts for the Bush administration’s major contributors, and replacement costs of the military equipment that is being blown apart and worn out–that comes to $288 billion. Add that sum to the $149 billion the war has already cost US taxpayers for a total of $437 billion.

Turning to the human toll, from March 20, 2003 to December 7, 2004 (approximately 21 months) the Pentagon says 1,280 US troops have been killed and 9,765 wounded in Iraq. The Pentagon’s wounded figure conflicts with the report from the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, that as of Thanksgiving week the hospital has treated almost 21,000 Americans injured in Iraq. According to the hospital, more than half were too badly injured to return to their units.

Assuming no escalation in the insurgency, a continuation of four more years of war would result in another 2,925 US troops being killed for a total of 4,205. Using the Pentagon’s wounded figure, 22,320 more US troops would be injured for a total of 32,085. Using the US military hospital’s figure, another 48,000 US troops would be wounded for a total of 69,000.

Assuming the US is able to keep 138,000 US troops in Iraq during Bush’s second term, US dead and wounded (Pentagon figure) would comprise 26 percent of the US force in Iraq. Using the military hospital’s figure, US dead and wounded would comprise 53 percent of our entire army in Iraq.

The present military manpower system cannot provide replacements for these losses. Current troop strengths are being maintained by calling up reserve and national guard units and by extending soldiers’ tours of duty beyond the contractual period, a practice that US troops are contesting in court. Tens of thousands of careers, marriages, and family finances are being disrupted and destroyed by the commitment of reserve and national guard units to war in Iraq.

What is Bush achieving in return for such horrendous costs?

Bush has destroyed our alliances and the good will of a half century of US foreign policy.

Busy has created an insurgency were there was none.

Bush has destroyed US prestige in the Middle East and reduced America’s support among Middle Eastern populations to the single digits.

Bush has made Osama bin Laden a hero and recruited tens of thousands of terrorists to his ranks, while simultaneously alienating Middle Easterners from the secular puppet rulers we have imposed on them.

At a minimum Bush is responsible for between 14,619 and 16,804 Iraqi civilian deaths during the 21 months since the invasion. Compiled from hospital, morgue, and media reports, these figures understate civilian deaths. In keeping with Islam’s quick burial requirement, many Iraqis were buried in sports fields and in back gardens during protracted US assaults on urban areas. A recent report in the British medical journal, The Lancet, estimates that 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since March 20, 2003. This figure does not include the large number of Iraqi deaths from the embargo and US bombing for more than a decade prior to the US invasion.

Projecting the reported Iraqi civilian deaths for four more years of US occupation produces a figure of 51,621 civilians killed as “collateral damage.” Projecting the Lancet’s figure produces a figure of 328,571 civilian deaths by the end of Bush’s second term.

Then there are the civilian injured, for which there appear to be no figures. If we assume the same ratio of killed to wounded for civilian deaths as holds for the US military, the reported death figure gives a civilian wounded figure of 392,320. The Lancet estimate gives a wounded figure of 2,497,139.

The ratio of 7.6 wounded US troops for each soldier killed is probably low for calculating civilian Iraqi wounded. US forces travel in armored vehicles, are protected with helmets and body armor and are not on the receiving end of artillery and massive bombs that kill everything in a quarter mile radius. The ratio could easily be 10 or 15 wounded Iraqi civilians for every one killed.

Did the Americans who reelected Bush know that the president who will admit to no mistake is locked on a course that will squander a half trillion dollars for no purpose other than to kill and wound between 36,290 and 73,205 US troops, with “collateral damage” to Iraqi civilians ranging from 443,941 to 2,825,710 dead and wounded?

If Saddam Hussein is a “mass murderer,” what does that make President Bush and those who reelected him?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
Tracey Aikman
President Trump, I’m One of the Workers You Lied To
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
September 19, 2019
Richard Falk
Burning Amazonia, Denying Climate Change, Devastating Syria, Starving Yemen, and Ignoring Kashmir
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail