8 April 2013, 13:30

10th anniversary of US invasion to Iraq: cost of war tremendous, violence remains

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The US Army in Iraq
The US Army in Iraq

In March 2003, the US and its allies invaded Iraq which as they claimed had weapons of mass destruction constituting a threat to their security. 10 years after the onset of the armed conflict, escalated by insurgents’ fighting against the occupation and by terrorist organizations taking advantage of the chaos in the country, the country continues its struggle for a life without pain, though violence has not ended.

On March 19, 2003 speaking from the Oval Office US President George W. Bush declared a war between the US and Iraq. The announcement came in just a few minutes after massive air-strikes had hit Baghdad, mass media wrote back then.

The pretext for the US invasion is often called false and illegitimate since some days prior to the US-led attacks a special UN commission had announced they had found no evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

189,000 people were killed during the conflict, including soldiers, militants, police, contractors, journalists, humanitarian workers and Iraqi civilians, according to the report “The Cost of War” drawn up by a team of 30 economists, anthropologists, political scientists, legal experts and physicians and released in March 2013. The researchers have claimed that over the 10 years approximately $2.2 trillion of US taxpayers’ money was spent, this including long-term benefits for veterans’ care, but the figure likely to soar to $4 trillion if increased by the amount of interests the US government is committed to pay on the money they borrowed to fund the war.

The US forces remained in Iraq till December 2011 when the last US troops had left the country. The withdrawal was first announced by President Barack Obama in February 2009, shortly after his taking the US President’s office. On December 15, 2011, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially declared the Iraq War over and the US flag was lowered in Baghdad. By that time a new elected representative body has come to rule the country. However, The Shi’ite-led Iraqi government still faces challenges caused by numerous Sunni insurgencies.

Among numerous problems Iraqi people are addressing now, one should be mentioned separately. According to a mass media report, about 400 tons of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition have been fired during the continuous conflict. And now about $30 million is needed to clean up the contamination. In March 2013 a British daily cited the Iraqi Health Ministry who said cancer cases and birth defects have increased in the country, which can be accounted for by the area’s exposure to DU.

The humanitarian catastrophe born by the conflict will demand considerable efforts to change the refugee situation to the better. Almost 2.7 million Iraqis fled their homes, reports say, half of them leaving for neighboring countries, while others remaining in the country. In 2011 over 20,000 Iraqis have applied to other countries for asylum.

There is still no peace in Iraq. Reports of violence continue to come from the region. The most recent one claimed 20 people were killed after a suicide bomber blew himself up last Saturday at a lunch hosted by a Sunni candidate in Iraq's upcoming regional elections.

Voice of Russia, BBC, euronews, Press TV, Democracy.now, Wikipedia.org

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