Stephen Zunes: Remembering Those Responsible on the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War

by Stephen Zunes, Common Dreams, March 11, 2013


This March 19 marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The U.S. war and occupation has resulted in the deaths of up to half a million Iraqis, the vast majority of whom are civilians, leaving over 600,000 orphans.

More than 1.3 million Iraqis have been internally displaced and nearly twice that many have fled into exile.

Almost 4,500 Americans were killed and thousands more have received serious physical and emotional injuries which will plague them for the rest of their lives.

Iran has advanced its influence in the region since the overthrow of its arch-enemy Saddam Hussein, and is now the most influential foreign power in Iraq.

Sectarian and ethnic tensions remain high and violence and terrorism — despite being less pervasive than a few years ago — are endemic.

A whole generation of Salafi extremists in Iraq and throughout the Islamic world have been radicalized and gained experience in urban terrorism by fighting U.S. forces. Combined with the unprecedented wave of anti-Americanism that resulted from the war, the invasion — according to U.S. intelligence agencies — has resulted in a backlash that could threaten the United States and other countries for decades to come.

The war has cost U.S. taxpayers close to $1 trillion dollars, contributing greatly to the national debt, which has resulted in the sequester and is being used as an excuse to cut back vital social programs. Counting interest (since money to pay for the war was borrowed), care for wounded veterans, and other residual costs, the final tally could be close to $3 trillion dollars.

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