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Iraqi Battalion Readiness Drops from Three to One
The number of Iraqi battalions capable of combat without U.S. support has dropped from three to one, the top American commander in Iraq told Congress Thursday, prompting Republicans to question whether U.S. troops will be able to withdraw next year. . . . Gen. George Casey, softening his previous comments that a "fairly substantial" pull out could begin next spring and summer, told lawmakers that troops might begin coming home from Iraq next year depending on conditions during and after the upcoming elections there. . . . "The next 75 days are going to be critical for what happens." Casey told the Senate Armed Services Committee. . . . In June, the Pentagon told lawmakers that three Iraqi battalions were fully trained, equipped and capable of operating independently. On Thursday, Casey said only one battalion is ready. . . . "It doesn't feel like progress," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. . . . Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., questioned why the generals are discussing troop withdrawals when it's clear Iraqi security forces aren't ready. . . . Casey, the most senior commander of coalition forces in Iraq, said the result of the upcoming Iraqi referendum on a new constitution on Oct. 15 and December elections will affect whether conditions on the ground will be appropriate for withdrawing U.S. troops. . . . By the December elections, Casey said, the number of Iraqi security forces available will rise to 100,000, allowing the United States to ask for only 2,000 more U.S. troops compared with the 12,000 extra needed during last January's elections. . . . The four took great pains to stress that training of Iraqi security forces was steadily improving, even though the two battalions that were operating independently months ago now need U.S. assistance. . . . The hearing came on a day when five American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi in western Iraq. That brought the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq since the war began in 2003 to 1,934, according to a tally by The Associated Press. . . . President Bush sent the group to Capitol Hill for back-to-back House and Senate hearings to try to convince lawmakers - and their skeptical constituents - that the United States is making progress in the war. . . . While the Bush administration has refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Casey has repeatedly said a ''fairly substantial" pullout could begin next spring and summer as long as the political process stayed on track, the insurgency did not expand and the training of Iraqi security forces continued as planned. . . . But he told reporters Wednesday: "It's too soon to tell." . . . "I think right now we're in a period of a little greater uncertainty than when I was asked that question back in July and March," he said.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 12:56 PM

Depleted uranium tests for US troops returning from Iraq
(Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, 28 September 2005)
US troops returning from Iraq are for the first time to be offered state-of-the-art radiation testing to check for contamination from depleted uranium - a controversial substance linked by some to cancer and birth defects. Campaigners say the Pentagon refuses to take seriously the issue of poisoning from depleted uranium (DU) and offers only the most basic checks, and only when it is specifically asked for. But state legislators across the US are pushing ahead with laws that will provide their National Guard troops access to the most sophisticated tests. The science surrounding DU remains hotly contested though the majority of studies have concluded there is no genuine risk from battlefield contamination. One 2001 study by the Royal Society, concluded: "Except in extreme circumstances any extra risks of developing fatal cancers as a result of radiation from internal exposure to DU arising from battlefield conditions are likely to be so small that they would not be detectable above the general risk of dying from cancer over a normal lifetime." But, campaigners such as the British-based Campaign Against Depleted Uranium (CADU), cite other studies which suggest a risk. In 2003,New Scientist reported that a study by the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, found that human bone cells could suffer genetic damage when exposed to DU, even at levels deemed to be non-toxic. Gerard Matthew has no doubts about the effect of DU. The former member of the New York National Guard served in Iraq from April to September 2003. On his return he was not offered testing until a New York newspaper offered to arrange it for him and some friends. "[With the military] it never came up. They suppressed the whole DU thing," he said. Mr Matthew, who said he was found to have considerable radiation exposure, said two years on he suffers from migraines, erectile dysfunction and a swollen face - conditions that have developed since he returned from Iraq. But his conviction about the dangers of DU was fixed when his daughter, Victoria Claudette, was born with only two digits on her right hand. Dr Doug Rokke, a health physicist who was part of a Pentagon team that studied DU in the mid 1990s, concluded that there was no way DU weapons could be used without the risk of contamination. He said the Pentagon responded to his conclusions by denouncing him. He told the In These Times newspaper: "DU is a war crime. It's that simple. Once you've scattered all this stuff around and then refuse to clean it up you've committed a war crime."
. . . Read more!

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 1:13 PM

U.S. uses 250,000 bullets for every rebel killed
(Andrew Buncombe in Washington, The Independent, 25 September 2005)
US forces have fired so many bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan - an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed - that American ammunition-makers cannot keep up with demand. As a result the US is having to import supplies from Israel. . . . A government report says that US forces are now using 1.8 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition a year. The total has more than doubled in five years, largely as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as changes in military doctrine. . . . Estimating how many bullets US forces have expended for every insurgent killed is not a simple or precisely scientific matter. The former head of US forces in Iraq, General Tommy Franks, famously claimed that his forces "don't do body counts". . . . But senior officers have recently claimed "great successes" in Iraq, based on counting the bodies of insurgents killed. Maj-Gen Rick Lynch, the top US military spokesman in Iraq, said 1,534 insurgents had been seized or killed in a recent operation in the west of Baghdad. Other estimates from military officials suggest that at least 20,000 insurgents have been killed in President George Bush's "war on terror". . . . John Pike, director of the Washington military research group GlobalSecurity.org, said that, based on the GAO's figures, US forces had expended around six billion bullets between 2002 and 2005. "How many evil-doers have we sent to their maker using bullets rather than bombs? I don't know," he said. . . . "If they don't do body counts, how can I? But using these figures it works out at around 300,000 bullets per insurgent. Let's round that down to 250,000 so that we are underestimating." . . . Pointing out that officials say many of these bullets have been used for training purposes, he said: "What are you training for? To kill insurgents." . . . "Also, commercial producers within the national technology and industrial base have not had the capacity to meet these requirements. As a result, the Department of Defense had to rely at least in part on foreign commercial producers to meet its small-calibre ammunition needs."j . . . A report in Manufacturing & Technology News said that the Pentagon eventually found two producers capable of meeting its requirements. One of these was the US firm Olin-Winchester. . . . The other was Israel Military Industries, an Israeli ammunition manufacturer linked to the Israeli government, which produces the bulk of weapons and ordnance for the Israeli Defence Force.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 8:08 AM

The myth of Iraq's foreign fighters
(Tom Regan, csmonitor.com, September 23, 2005)
Report by US think tank says only '4 to 10' percent of insurgents are foreigners. . . . The US and Iraqi governments have vastly overstated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, and most of them don't come from Saudi Arabia, according to a new report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS). According to a piece in The Guardian, this means the US and Iraq "feed the myth" that foreign fighters are the backbone of the insurgency. While the foreign fighters may stoke the insurgency flames, they only comprise only about 4 to 10 percent of the estimated 30,000 insurgents. . . . The CSIS study also disputes media reports that Saudis comprise the largest group of foreign fighters. CSIS says "Algerians are the largest group (20 percent), followed by Syrians (18 percent), Yemenis (17 percent), Sudanese (15 percent), Egyptians (13 percent), Saudis (12 percent) and those from other states (5 percent)." CSIS gathered the information for its study from intelligence sources in the Gulf region. . . . The CSIS report says: "The vast majority of Saudi militants who have entered Iraq were not terrorist sympathizers before the war; and were radicalized almost exclusively by the coalition invasion." . . . "Most of the Saudi militants were motivated by revulsion at the idea of an Arab land being occupied by a non-Arab country. These feelings are intensified by the images of the occupation they see on television and the Internet ... the catalyst most often cited [in interrogations] is Abu Ghraib, though images from GuantŠnamo Bay also feed into the pathology." . . . The Associated Press reports that CSIS believes most of the insurgents are not "Saddam Hussein loyalists" but members of Sunni Arab Iraqi tribes. They do not want to see Mr. Hussein return to power, but they are "wary of a Shiite-led government." . . . The Los Angeles Times reports that a greater concern is that 'skills' foreign fighters are learning in Iraq are being exported to their home countries. This is a particular concern for Europe, since early this year US intelligence reported that "Abu Musab Zarqawi, whose network is believed to extend far beyond Iraq, had dispatched teams of battle-hardened operatives to European capitals." . . . Iraq has become a superheated, real-world academy for lessons about weapons, urban combat and terrorist trade craft, said Thomas Sanderson of [CSIS]. . . . Prince Saud al-Faisal said the US ignored warnings the Saudi government gave it about occupying Iraq. Prince al-Faisal also said he fears US policies in Iraq will lead to the country breaking up into Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite parts. He also said that Saudi Arabia is not ready to send an ambassador to Baghdad, because he would become a target for the insurgents. "I doubt he would last a day," al-Faisal said. . . . Finally, The Guardian reports that "ambitions for Iraq are being drastically scaled down in private" by British and US officials. The main goal has now become avoiding the image of failure. The paper quotes sources in the British Foreign department as saying that hopes to turn Iraq into a model of democracy for the Middle East had been put aside. "We will settle for leaving behind an Iraqi democracy that is creaking along," the source said.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:50 PM

US accused of more abuse in Iraq
(BBC NEWS, 24 September 2005)
Human Rights Watch has published a report giving fresh details of alleged torture and abuse of detainees by US forces in Iraq. . . . The report quotes three US soldiers who described routine, severe beatings of prisoners, including a detainee's leg being broken with a baseball bat. . . . Other allegations included applying burning chemicals to detainees' eyes and skin, making them glow in the dark. . . . The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report is based on interviews with a captain and two sergeants who served in a battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division. . . . They said abuse, at a military base called Mercury near Falluja, was not only overlooked, but was sometimes ordered. . . . The punishments handed out included sleep deprivation, withholding food and water, "human pyramids" like those seen in photos from Abu Ghraib prison, and blows to the face, the report claimed. . . . One of the soldiers told HRW the abuse was ordered by intelligence officers in an attempt to gain information. . . . Another said it was seen as "sport". . . . "Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the [interrogation] tent," he reportedly said. . . . "As long as no PUCs [prisoners under control] came up dead, it happened," he said. . . . "We kept it to broken arms and legs." . . . HRW said the reports "suggest that the mistreatment of prisoners by the US military is even more widespread than has been acknowledged to date".
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:12 PM

Anti-war movement takes to streets on both sides of Atlantic
(Campbell and Jamie Wilson, The Guardian, September 24, 2005)
Anti-war rallies all around the world
Among those urging a withdrawal of coalition forces at today's rally in Hyde Park will be veteran anti-war campaigner Tom Hayden and the mother of a British soldier killed near Basra. . . . "We are hoping for 80,000 to 100,000," said Stop the War Coalition spokesman Andrew Burgin yesterday. He said events in Basra this week, when British troops were attacked, had shown how urgent it was for Britain to leave. "Bringing the troops home by Christmas is the aim of the rally," said Mr Burgin. . . . Views differed within the movement as to whether the troops should be replaced by UN soldiers or whether all foreign troops should leave, he said. "Our view is that the troops are part of the problem. The polls show that between 60% and 65% of the British people want the troops out but the problem is that the political class does not reflect what is happening." . . . The rally will be addressed by Tony Benn, Tariq Ali, journalist John Pilger, Tom Hayden, the anti-Vietnam war campaigner who became a Democratic party politician, and Susan Smith, whose son, Private Phillip Hewett, was killed in Basra in July. . . . In Washington tens of thousands are expected today for what is being billed as one of the biggest anti-war protests in the US since the Vietnam era. The figurehead of the United For Peace and Justice Mobilisation is Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who set up camp outside George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, during his summer holiday.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:05 PM

British "Undercover Soldiers" Caught driving Booby Trapped Car
(Reuters, 20 September 2005)
The following Reuters report raises some disturbing questions. . . . Why were undercover British soldiers wearing traditional Arab headscarves firing at Iraqi police? . . . The incident took place just prior to a major religious event in Basra. . . . The report suggests that the police thought the British soldiers looked "suspicious". What was the nature of their mission? . . . Occupation forces are supposesd to be collaborating with Iraqi authorities. Why did Britsh Forces have to storm the prison using tanks and armoured vehicles to liberate the British undercover agents? . . . British forces used up to 10 tanks " supported by helicopters " to smash through the walls of the jail and free the two British servicemen." . . . Was there concern that the British "soldiers" who were being held by the Iraqi National Guard would be obliged to reveal the nature and objective of their undercover mission? . . . A report of Al Jazeera TV, which preceeded the raid on the prison, suggests that the British undercover soldiers were driving a booby trapped car loaded with ammunition. The Al Jazeera report (see below) also suggests that the riots directed against British military presence were motivated because the British undercover soldiers were planning to explode the booby trapped car in the centre of Basra: [Anchorman Al-Habib al-Ghuraybi] We have with us on the telephone from Baghdad Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly. What are the details of and the facts surrounding this incident? . . . [Al-Shaykh] In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. There have been continuous provocative acts since the day before yesterday by the British forces against the peaceful sons of Basra. There have been indiscriminate arrests, the most recent of which was the arrest of Shaykh Ahmad al-Farqusi and two Basra citizens on the pretext that they had carried out terrorist operations to kill US soldiers. This is a baseless claim. This was confirmed to us by [name indistinct] the second secretary at the British Embassy in Baghdad, when we met with him a short while ago. He said that there is evidence on this. We say: You should come up with this evidence or forget about this issue. If you really want to look for truth, then we should resort to the Iraqi justice away from the British provocations against the sons of Basra, particularly what happened today when the sons of Basra caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market. However, the sons of the city of Basra arrested them. They [the two non-Iraqis] then fired at the people there and killed some of them. The two arrested persons are now at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime. . . . Is this an isolated incident or is part of a pattern?
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 11:24 AM

Chicago biggest city yet to call for bringing troops home
(Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times, Septebmer 15, 2005)
After a wrenching debate that reopened 37-year-old wounds, Chicago on Wednesday became the nation's largest city to demand an "orderly and rapid withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq. . . . Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said she protested the Vietnam War and was in the crowd in 1986 when Chicago held a cathartic and long-overdue parade for soldiers. "I made it a point to come out and applaud. One of the chants was, 'Honor the warriors, not the war.' That's truly where I am today," Preckwinkle said. . . . Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) said he supported the war in Iraq to get rid of a "dreadful enemy" in a "strategic position in the world" who needed to be removed from power, whether or not he had weapons of mass destruction, before he "created World War III." . . . But Stone said, "I changed my mind when I saw 25 [soldiers] from the suburbs of Cleveland being brought back in a box, all from the same town on one day. I said, 'This cannot go on. Why should this slaughter continue? What purpose does it serve?' "
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 9:55 AM

Scores killed in Baghdad attacks
(BBC NEWS, 14 September 2005)
More than 150 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a series of bomb attacks and shootings across Iraq. . . . In the worst incident, at least 114 people were killed and 160 injured when a car bomb exploded in Baghdad's mainly Shia district of Kadhimiya. . . . During the night, gunmen killed 17 people in the nearby town of Taji after dragging them from their homes. . . . Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed it had begun a nationwide bombing campaign to avenge a recent major offensive on rebels. . . . In a statement on a website, the group said it acted after US and Iraqi forces attacked insurgents in the northern town of Talafar. . . . Wednesday became one of the deadliest days in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003. . . . The attacks once again showed the limits of military might as a solution to the insurgency, the BBC's Rob Watson says. . . . When under military pressure in one part of Iraq, the insurgents simply strike elsewhere, our defence and security correspondent says. . . . The attacks came as a final draft of the Iraqi constitution was handed to the UN. . . . A suicide bomber drove his car at 0630 (0230 GMT) into queues of labourers who had gathered on Oruba Square in Kadhimiya, Iraqi police spokesman Maj Musa Abdel Kerim said. . . . The BBC's Richard Galpin in Baghdad says that every day large numbers of construction workers gather in the square in the north of the city to be picked up by their employers. . . . According to some reports the attacker lured the workers towards the vehicle before detonating the bomb. . . . "We gathered and suddenly a car blew up and turned the area into fire and dust and darkness," one of the workers, a man named Hadi, told Reuters news agency. . . . The shootings in Taji took place a few hours before the bomb attack in Oruba Square. . . . The victims, said to be civilians, were shot dead in execution-style killings. . . . According to an interior ministry official quoted by AFP news agency, the attackers in Taji, 15km (nine miles) north of Baghdad, arrived in the town in "military vehicles" dressed as soldiers, gathered several people in a square and shot them. . . . Witnesses said the victims were Shias. Hours later in the same town gunmen are reported to have opened fire on a group of Sunni Muslims at a market, killing six. . . . There have been frequent sectarian killings in Baghdad and central Iraq as mainly Sunni insurgents seek to incite fear and hatred between the Muslim communities.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 7:25 AM

Iraq rebuilding under threat as US runs out of money
(Rory Carroll and Julian Borger, The Guardian, September 9, 2005)
Key rebuilding projects in Iraq are grinding to a halt because American money is running out and security has diverted funds intended for electricity, water and sanitation, according to US officials. . . . Plans to overhaul the country's infrastructure have been downsized, postponed or abandoned because the $24bn (£13bn) budget approved by Congress has been dwarfed by the scale of the task. . . . "We have scaled back our projects in many areas," James Jeffrey, a senior state department adviser on Iraq, told a congressional committee in Washington, in remarks quoted by the Los Angeles Times. "We do not have the money." . . . Water and sanitation have been particularly badly hit. According to a report published this week by Government Accountability Office, the investigative branch of Congress, $2.6bn has been spent on water projects, half the original budget, after the rest was diverted to security and other uses. . . . The report said "attacks, threats and intimidation against project contractors and subcontractors" were to blame. A quarter of the $200m-worth of completed US-funded water projects handed over to the Iraqi authorities no longer worked properly because of "looting, unreliable electricity or inadequate Iraqi staff and supplies", the report found. . . . Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress also said administrative bungling had played a part. . . . It is in this context that many of the estimated 20,000 foreign security contractors now in Iraq - some paid more than $1,000 a day - are employed. Mr Bowen said $5bn had been diverted to security. . . . Some areas now get less than four hours of electricity a day, and there has been a surge in cases of dehydration and diarrhoea among children and the elderly. The cost of providing enough electricity for the country by 2010 is put at $20bn. . . . Fuel shortages have produced mile-long queues at petrol stations. Crude oil production is around 2.2m barrels a day, still below its pre-war peaks, according to the Brookings Institution in Washington.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 6:36 AM

Katrina Shifts Attention From Iraq War
(Robert Burns, The Associated Press, September 7, 2005)
Hurricane Katrina's devastating blow has put a spotlight on the military's helping hand and largely diverted Americans' attention from the mix of grim and hopeful events playing out in Iraq. . . . Even as thousands more troops poured into Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday to accelerate the search and rescue of stranded Katrina survivors, military officials in Iraq reported the deaths of four more U.S. troops and Marine jets bombed targets near the Syrian border where al-Qaida has expanded its presence. . . . At a Pentagon news conference Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld stressed that the enormous effort being made in hurricane relief will not diminish the military's ability to fight wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. . . . During the news conference no one asked about developments in Iraq, such as the airstrikes near the border city of Qaim, major parts of which have fallen under control of al-Qaida-linked foreign fighters. . . . Lt. Gen. John Vines, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, told reporters last Friday that only about 2,000 troops would be added in the weeks leading up to a scheduled Oct. 15 national referendum on an Iraqi constitution. Previously, U.S. officials had indicated that as many as 20,000 could be added, and Vines' remark sparked speculation that the demands of Katrina relief had forced the Pentagon to change plans. . . . The Pentagon has accelerated the return from Iraq of about 2,800 members of a Louisiana combat brigade, who are already beginning to arrive at Fort Polk, northwest of New Orleans. The unit had been scheduled to come home later this month, but its departure was hastened because of Hurricane Katrina. . . . Also, a few Mississippi National Guard infantry members are being sent home early, and any other service members who have close family or homes in the hurricane-devastated region may request emergency leave from their unit commanders. . . . "We're working to reunite the men and women in uniform that are deployed overseas with their families here at home," said Rumsfeld. "A number of the families that are stationed in that area obviously lost all their possessions." . . . Myers offered a spirited defense of the military's response to calls for help on the Gulf Coast. He said he told the service chiefs on Tuesday, after learning that levees in New Orleans had been breached, that they should consider what useful resources they could offer even before they were formally asked to help. . . . [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Why do you think the military didn't even beging to think about this problem until after the levees had been breached?] . . . Confusion persisted about the scale of the military contribution. . . . The Pentagon has insisted for days that no more than 5,200 active-duty Army soldiers, plus 2,000 Marines, would be sent to help with Katrina relief.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 11:33 AM

Mass burials for stampede victims
(BBC NEWS, 1 September 2005)
Large crowds have been attending mass funerals in the Iraqi capital Baghdad for some of those killed in Wednesday's stampede during a Shia ceremony. . . . Friends and relatives of some victims are still searching for their loved ones, as bodies continue to be recovered from the River Tigris. . . . More than 960 people died in the stampede, apparently triggered by rumours of an imminent suicide attack. . . . Shia leaders accuse Sunni Arab militants of starting the rumours. . . . Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari - himself a Shia - apparently accepted this theory, and called for tough action. . . . "The coming period will witness a strategic development in confronting terror and terrorists. And we will hit hard those murderers, radical militants and Saddamists," he said. . . . Funeral tents were set up in the district, but many of the dead were taken to the holy city of Najaf for final burial. . . . Security was tight on the Baghdad-Najaf road, which was choked with coffins loaded onto minivans and coaches. . . . But the BBC's Jon Brain in Baghdad says the mood is turning from shock to anger, with many Shia people blaming the government for what they see as a failure of organisation over the procession. . . . Cabinet ministers fell out over the stampede but the prime minister has rejected calls for sackings. . . . Community leaders are calling for calm, fearful that Wednesday's tragedy could stoke further violence. . . . The stampede was the largest single loss of life in Iraq since the US-led invasion more than two years ago. . . . It occurred after mortars were fired on crowds near the Kadhimiya mosque - the burial place of a venerated Shia religious leader. At least seven died and more than 30 were wounded. . . . About one million pilgrims were said to have converged at the Kadhimiya mosque when the crush happened. . . . Many of the dead were women, children, or elderly, who drowned when railings along a bridge over the River Tigris gave way under pressure. . . . More than 800 people were injured in the incident. . . . Health officials said on Thursday that bodies were still being retrieved from the river. . . . Dozens of tents have been set up in predominantly Shia areas of Baghdad to house the dead. . . . Distraught Iraqis continue to search for their missing relatives among lines of corpses laid out in hospitals and makeshift morgues.

[COMMENT by Lorenzo: How ironic that a similar scene is unfolding in the U.S. right now in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:05 PM

Iraq war 'costlier than Vietnam'
(BBC NEWS, 31 August 2005)
The monthly cost to the US of the war in Iraq is now greater than the average monthly cost of the Vietnam War . . . The report put costs in Iraq at $500m (£278m) a month more than in Vietnam, adjusted for inflation. . . . This makes Iraq the most expensive US war in the past 60 years, they say. . . . But an analyst from the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) said the cost was small in the context of the whole US economy. . . . The report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF), called The Iraq Quagmire, calculates the cost of current military operations in Iraq at $5.6bn (£3.1bn) every month. . . . By comparison, the eight-year campaign in Vietnam cost on average $5.1bn (£2.8bn) a month. . . . The IPS and FPIF say this is partly down to differences in the way modern war is waged. . . . Although there are fewer troops in Iraq than Vietnam, they are paid more and weapons are more expensive, the report says. . . . "Broken down per person in the US, the cost so far is $277 per person, making the Iraq War the most expensive military effort in the past 60 years," it concludes. . . . Co-author Erik Leaver told the BBC costs in Iraq hspiraledled since 2003 because the US had not been well-prepared. . . . "We have deployed now roughly one million troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the numbers just keep going up and up," he said. . . . "We are going to continue to see costs not only from the fighting now but also from the health care of these soldiers and veterans when they come home."

[COMMENT by Lorenzo: Also, keep in mind the cost in human lives. Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed as have over 9,000 U.S. troops! The "official" lower number of U.S. deaths is due to the fact that they only count troops who die while in Iraq. However, over 7,000 others died in German and U.S. hospitals where they had been evacuated to.]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:09 AM

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