As demonstrated by the CIA plan.
I’m pretty sure that some people pointed this out at the time.
While it’s not incoming Secretary Hagel’s fault, this is the sort of thing I’ll expect from his tenure. I see two problems here. First, the US is fighting a conflict at a disadvantage in order to preserve appearances. Second, this is the sort of activity that gets us into unplanned wars.
As has been noted before, the initial invasion of Iraq was a planned war. The subsequent conflict with insurgency was an unplanned conflict which had significant costs for the US and Iraq as a result. Yet here we are repeating those errors.
At this point, what difference does it make? After all, what would it matter to maintain close relationships with an ally in the middle east? Why would it be important to have a strong military presence in the midst of Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Egypt? It’s a quiet region where nothing is going on of importance.
“Does Obama regret…”
No, Obama doesn’t regret what he did in Iraq or is doing in Afghanistan. Obama doesn’t care about the outcome only that he can claim he got America out. And it isn’t just that Obama doesn’t care about winning, he doesn’t care about what happens to the people in those countries after we are gone.
Somehow Obama has made it five years without the media examining his disasterous performance in managing the war in Afghanistan. He can’t blame Bush, things were going better under Bush.
From day one, Obama’s preferred course was to immediately pull our troops out but he couldn’t do that politically but instead of working in good faith to see our efforts were successful, he undercut our troops at everyturn. He never listed to the generals on the ground, didn’t even meet with his initial hand picked head general for nearly a year. He ignored calls for more troops and undercut any requests he did grant. Then mid-surge pulls the short staffed forces out before they could complete their planned course of action.
And our media doesn’t even bother to cover the war.
Yes, Obama is an idiot, but I wouldn’t count the CIA out. We should be using the CIA rather than troops more often in more countries. We are in a high stakes game of risk in every part of the world and should be playing to win… the enemy is.
“playing to win…”
I fear the current administration is playing T-Ball, with instructions to not cheer too loudly for our side to avoid upsetting our opponents…
Yes, Obama is playing T-ball where everyone gets a trophy and gets to feel good. In the meantime, my youngest son is in Afghanistan. He tells me that since Obama announced the pullout for next year, the Taliban has increased their attacks. It’s a very Darwinean process where the stupid insurgents don’t last very long. They keep changing their tactics to counter ours. For example, in past years, when they fired mortar rounds at some of the larger bases, C-RAM (ground-based version of CWIS) could destroy them in the air. So they changed their tactics to fire cheap, unguided rockets on depressed trajectories. C-RAM can give a few seconds of warning but isn’t able to destroy the rockets.
This is quite timely, given that we’re coming up on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion and that a comprehensive analysis of the cost of the war has just been released by Brown University. Leaving aside the human cost (134K people killed by direct violence, 30K US troops wounded), the US will pay 2.2 trillion for GWB’s grand adventure, and because the money was borrowed it could reach 3.9 trillion by 2053. That last figure includes a half a trillion for caring for wounded veterans. The thought that we could’ve continued this kind of expenditure is ridiculous.
Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t even exist until after we invaded. Our presence in the country didn’t stop its formation, its growth, or its export to foreign countries. Staying in Iraq wouldn’t have helped our situation there one bit.
Wow. The Brown study claims higher casualties than Iraq Body Count, which counted each victim as two deaths (once in the newspaper account, and once again in a morgue count). Their estimate of $500 billion for treatment of wounded veterans comes to $15.5 million dollars per wound, and only 20% of the wounded were brain or spinal injuries, so that means we’ll be spending about $77 million on the serious cases, or about $2 million a year per patient, so they’ll each have 20 personal nurses and a helicopter. Given that over the same period 500 times as many Americans were injuried in auto accidents and 60 times as many were killed, the long-term cost of not sending everyone in America to the Iraq War, where they wouldn’t have been in so many traffic accidents, should come to $250 Trillion dollars by 2050. That sounds big, but it’s only $6.25 trillion a year, or $19,000 per capita per year just to pay for the horrendous death-toll of driving around bitching about the Iraq War and not paying attention to stop signs – or something.
Garbage in, garbage out, and more evidence that innumeracy thrives in college humanities departments, which is why physics, math, and engineering majors make fun of them.
Bravo, George. People like Dave feel safe in making up their own reality, now that the danger has passed. But, had we done nothing, the sanctions would have collapsed, Saddam would have restarted his WMD programs which were basically turnkey, and would be employing the terrorists to further his ends, perhaps already invaded his neighbors again.
Only a fool turns his back on a poisonous snake. Fortunately for Dave, the adults were in charge at the time.
That figure is generally in line with a source you should trust, namely the US Army. The 2004-2009 field reports leaked to Wikileaks recorded 109K deaths, and obviously we didn’t pull out until this year, so the 134K in the BU study is entirely plausible and probably conservative. It’s certainly not the half million number estimated by Lancet, which is probably not accurate.
As for veterans and the cost through 2053: “As of December 2010, 1.25 million service men and women had returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have been wounded or injured in some way — over 90,000 seriously enough to require medical evacuation from the conflict. A much larger number suffer from other injuries, ranging from brain injuries to hearing loss. To date, 650,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been treated in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities for a wide range of medical conditions. Nearly 500,000 of these veterans are receiving compensation from the VA for injuries sustained or worsened during their military service. The US has already spent $32.6 billion in constant dollars providing medical care and disability benefits to these veterans.”
…”The history of previous wars shows that the cost of caring for war veterans rises for several decades and peaks 30 to 40 years or more after a conflict. This will be especially true for veterans of the current wars. Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are utilizing VA medical services and applying for disability benefits at much higher rates than in previous wars. Based on current patterns of benefit claims and medical usage, it is estimated that the total present value of such costs for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans over the next 40 years is in the range of $600 billion to $1 trillion.”
And that just shows more biased innumeracy and blatant nonsense.
There were only 30,490 wounded in Iraq. Only 776 lost a limb. Only 181 lost two limbs. Seven lost three limbs, and one lost four.
Only 35,411 Purple Hearts were awarded in Iraq, and we’ve included concussions as a reason to award one. Dizziness, headache, nausea or light sensitivity, with medical treatment consisting only of Tylenol, now qualifies for the Purple Heart. If we had that standard in past wars they’d have had to hand everyone a medal every Saturday morning just from the hangovers.
Yet back in WW-II when the standard was an obvious bullet through the chest, missing leg, or dead body, we awarded 1,076,024 Purple Hearts, which is 30 times more than for Iraq. The total number of casualties in WW-II was 60 times greater than Iraq, and the number killed was 78 times higher. (We also awarded about 137,000 Purple Hearts in Korea and 200,000 in Vietnam.)
Even ignoring the huge changes in the requirements of a Purple Heart award, the Iraq War was still only 2.5 percent of our military casualties.
Use some common sense. If the casualties from Iraq disappear into the round-off error of earlier wars, the medical costs cannot be orders of magnitude higher. For example, the VA performs about 7,000 to 8,000 amputations a year. The Iraq War, counting the battlefield as “VA”, added about 90 a year to that. Most of the VA’s amputation are from diabetes. Do you think the veterans got diabetes from Hitler, or do you think those would be medical costs whether or not they’d joined the military?
So when someone is citing 650,000 Iraq veterans who went to the VA, you know they’ve got an agenda because they aren’t telling you why they visited. Cold? Flu? Check-up? Vasectomy reversal? Obviously only a tiny fraction is from anything that occured on the battlefield, and the costs they incur would’ve been incurred in the non-VA system had they not switched plans by joining the military.
And this is why humanities majors shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a number, financial spreadsheet, or budget.
If we had that standard in past wars they’d have had to hand everyone a medal every Saturday morning just from the hangovers.
It’s so comforting that we now have George Turner to decide who has been wounded, who is deserving of a purple heart, who has no physical damage but may be suffering from PTSD, or who may have had some other injury that actually affects their life in some egregious way that George Turner never has to worry about.
You guys all want to cut the VA, even as you wish for an expansion of wars in places like Iran. I hope you quietly fail.
The total number of casualties in WW-II was 60 times greater than Iraq, and the number killed was 78 times higher.
You’re very fond of bringing up statistics that have no bearing on the modern battlefield. Modern medicine has reduced the number of deaths in warfare. These people still have to be cared for — we’re morally and legally obligated to — even while conservatives would like to cut the funding for their treatment. I’d invite you to go talk to a wounded vet and tell them about the “millions in treatment” they’ll have and their “own personal helicopter”, based on your highly numerate back-of-the-napkin estimates.
Most of the VA’s amputation are from diabetes.
Cite a source that only applies to vets from recent wars, which is the subject of this discussion.
So when someone is citing 650,000 Iraq veterans who went to the VA,
Who the hell is just citing that? We’re talking about raw numbers of vets who WE the people are obligated to care for through the rest of their lives. Damaging those people in a war has a cost that all of us will bear until they’re dead. Do you get that?
And this is why humanities majors shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a number, financial spreadsheet, or budget.
I don’t see anything in any of your arguments that makes me think I should trust you with policy.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but not only weren’t the Republican’s cutting the VA budget, they were doubling it. The 1999 VA Budget under Clinton was $43.2 billion. Bush’s 2003 VA Budget was $56.6 billion, an 11% increase over 2002. His 2004 Budget was $63.6 billion, which is half again as much as Clinton had spent. His 2009 Budget was $99.4 billion, whereas Clinton’s 1993 Budget was only $35.1 billion. In constant dollars Bush doubled the VA budget, and idiot liberals still thought he’d cut it because all they listen to is talking points from other idiots. It was so bad that the VA budget office contacted me because my blogging on the issue was to the top Google hit for their budget, and they wanted me to help spread the truth to all the families who kept getting worried about the non-sense anti-war groups were spouting.
78 times as many deaths in WW-II, and 60 times as many casualties, back when we didn’t count every concussion as an injury. That implies that the total number of wounded during WW-II is probably 100 times higher if we used the same baseline for categorizing injuries.
There’s no way to distort the basic mathematics of that, as much as you might try to balance the numbers with pure, unthinking emotions. For every soldier injured in Iraq, we had somewhere around one hundred soldiers injured in WW-II. The ones injured in WW-II (or Korea) didn’t have modern body armor, medevac helicopters, and the level of trauma care we do now. They were being hit not just with IED’s or low-velocity 7.62×39, but everything from 7mm Mauser to .50′s to 20mm cannon, along with constant artillery, flak, naval gunfire, aerial bombing, and everything else the Axis could throw at them. Heck, in WW-II we had three times as many fatalities as in the entire Iraq War just in the Continental US, just from aircraft training accidents (14,903 deaths – on the home front!).
Contrary to what the Brown study claims, the peak VA cost in constant dollars occured in 1947, not 30 or 40 years later, and had dropped to about a third of the peak by 1952 (even during the Korean War). Yet also in constant dollars, the VA budget forever passed the post WW-II peak in 1998.
Recent warfare is not burdening the VA budget. The budget is big because we have maintained a large military throughout the Cold War and afterwards and military members can get their routine medical care through the VA system instead of other channels. The more people you cover with any health care provider, the greater the costs will be. This doesn’t mean that those costs could somehow be avoided since there isn’t some free alternative, but that’s exactly the game people like the ones in the Brown study are playing.
For example, for every American injured in Iraq, 500 Americans were injured in car accidents during the same period. So if the Iraq War’s health costs are eventually going to cost us $500 billion, the Iraq War’s home-front traffic accidents should eventually cost us $250 Trillion, a number which is utter nonsense.
“134K people killed by direct violence”
And how many of those people were killed by partisans? And what is the net difference between the number of people Sadam killed every year?
“the US will pay 2.2 trillion for GWB’s grand adventure, and because the money was borrowed it could reach 3.9 trillion by 2053. ”
$3.9t over 50 years? Incredibly small number year to year. So, I am sure you are upset about adding $6t over four years and since that is all debt what are the long term costs? The Iraq war did not cost a lot of money when compared our yearly budgets and deficits and especially when compared to our current President’s spending.
“Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t even exist until after we invaded.”
There were AQ members in Iraq at the time. This is just more birther type conspiracy theories from the delusional anti-Iraq crowd. What are you going to claim next, that Bush said Iraq planned 9/11?
“Our presence in the country didn’t stop its formation, its growth, or its export to foreign countries.”
Not being in Iraq would not have stopped these things either.
“Staying in Iraq wouldn’t have helped our situation there one bit.”
Actually staying in Iraq would have helped control AQ’s support of the rebels in Syria but seeing how we are funding and training the militant Islamist rebels there…
President Bush received a classified President’s Daily Brief on September 21, 2001 indicating the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks and that “there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission concluded that there was no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda. A Pentagon report on documents recovered in Iraq after the invasion concluded the same thing.
The only reason the US public drew a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda was that the Bush administration consistently and breathlessly talked about the two as being one and the same threat, when in actuality Bin Laden’s objectives were completely at odds with the Baathists.
Your affection for one of the great mass murderers of the 20th century is touching. Sorry you can’t get over your man-crush, but the guy is dead. Let it go.
Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t even exist until after we invaded.
Thanks for clarifying a fact you have no way of knowing. There were two Iraq wars. Should we have let them keep Kuwait? Ignoring your Al Qaeda red herring, how long should we have allowed them to shoot at our pilots securing the no fly zone?
Did Bush spend the money wisely. No. It could have been done much more efficiently. Actually, his father should have taken care of it the first time around so we didn’t need a second time. How about our NATO allies not allowing us to have another front from the north, delaying us and perhaps leading to disaster? We found gas, they just didn’t use it.
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