Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Dec 9, 2011

The Increasing Toll of the Iraq War

The Iraq War is winding down by the end of 2011. However, the human and financial cost continues to increase.

According to a recent study done by McClatchy Newspapers, analysis of the Department of Veteran Affairs data points out that “While Vietnam extracted a far higher death toll – 58,000 compared with 6,300 so far in the war on terror – the number of documented disabilities from recent veterans is approaching the size of that earlier conflict”.

He continued to say that veterans leaving the military in recent years are filing for and receiving compensation for more injuries than did their fathers and grandfathers. The McClatchy report revealed that despite the death casualties in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars was 6,300 and 46,000 have suffered injuries, but more than 600,000 have filed for VA disability benefits and more than 70,000 have been treated in the VA’s medical system. The report emphasized that the vets of both wars health problems cover a broad range of both physical and mental disabilities.

Professor Linda Bilmes of Harvard University revealed in her latest studies (2010) that the disability payments to the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans could range from $355 billion to $534 billion over the next 40 years. This is in addition to the cost of the medical system, which might be between $201 billion and $348 billion, to treat the vets of both wars. (www.mcclatchyde.com, 12/5/2011).

In a previous study about the cost of the Iraq war, which was conducted by Profession J. Stieglitz of Colombia University and Professor L. Bilmes, it was estimated that the total cost would reach between $2.5 and $3 trillion. Furthermore, Professor Stieglitz, a Nobel Prize winner and economist at Colombia University, pointed out that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the first war in U.S. history paid for entirely on credit.

The reckless and irresponsible decision of George W. Bush to go to war unnecessarily is causing a heavy burden on American society, physically, financially and socially. This is the tragedy of the Bush administration’s fabrication of false reports, which they used to mislead the American public in order to gain support for the war. The previous president should be tried for crimes committed, according to international law.

Furthermore, the American congress should also be blamed for giving George W. Bush the green light to invade Iraq. The majority of its members have failed to investigate the secret reports that the president used to justify the Iraq invasion. The president lied and misled the American people by using fabricated secret reports that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and posed a threat to the security of the U.S., despite the fact that at the time, and according to U.N. reports, Iraq had no nuclear bombs.

It is unfortunate to say that lobbyists who represent big corporations and interest groups influence the majority of the members of congress. In this case, lobbyists representing the military industrial complex have supported the Iraq invasion. In a war situation, the military and defense contracts enhance the margin of their profit. Also, the American oil companies were eager to get into the Iraqi oil fields because Iraq’s oil reserve is the largest in the world.

Other lobbyist groups connected with the neo-cons, such as AIPAC, have played a role in supporting the invasion for the benefit of Israel.

It is unfortunate to point out that the prevailing attitude among many members of the American congress is to be reelected. The lobbyists, whose numbers were estimated to exceed 16,000, are the major contributors to their political campaigns. In this case, I would say personally that this type of money is a source of evil.

The CBS news poll (October 2011) stated that 77% of the respondents favored the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. They also stressed the fact that the war was not worth the loss of young Americans and its enormous cost.

It is also unfortunate to point out that the majority of the reports on the Iraq invasion did not analyze the impact of that war on Iraqi society. In previous posts, information was written regarding this case.

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