On March 20, 2008, it was the 5th year anniversary of the war in Iraq. A war that has been opposed by a majority of the Americans! The general feeling is: it should not have had been authorized, waged and conducted. Therefore, it is high time to find out what we have achieved and what we have lost.
The cost of war in Iraq goes way beyond dollars and cents. It involves anguish, terror, humiliation, loss of life, wealth and property, not counting the loss of honor world wide. As Americans, it is our right to express our opinion about the consequences of the war in Iraq without being labeled unpatriotic. Living in the democratic country like ours, we should have the freedom to express our opinions without fear.
In the case of Iraq war, it has become a common practice to differ with the government about our foreign policy abroad while at the same time supporting our troops and working to bring them home safely. Now that facts are out, we all agree that it was a war of choice not imposed on us. This makes the terrible consequences of the war even harder to tolerate. Since all the pretext for war didn’t materialize, it is important for us to make an extraordinary effort to have the war brought to its conclusion sooner rather than later.
During this war Americans have suffered a lot. The total US casualties are approaching 4000, with over 29,000 wounded. There are many estimates about the cost of this war and estimates run from $500 Billion to 2 trillion. According to Congressional budget office, the Iraq war is costing $6 Billion per month or $200 Million per day and the total cost of war so far is $2 trillion.
This cost goes higher especially when we take into account the costs of deaths, wound treatment, long term rehabilitation, and psychiatric care for example post-traumatic stress disorder (PSD). Suicide rate among GI’s also remains high. Our hard earned tax money that is subsidizing the war can better be spent on our educational system or to improve our healthcare system.
Iraqi civilians have also suffered enormously. Iraq‘s civilian casualty is from 700, 000 to 1.7 million depending on the source of the report. Four million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes. Many have become refugees in their own country. Innocent men and women have been kept behind the bars without a valid reason and suffered abuse and torture in the prisons.
The current unemployment rate among Iraqis runs from 60 to 70 per cent in some areas while before the war rates were similar to some areas in the US. This war has made life for many innocent people quite intolerable.
Another important casualty of war has been the loss of US prestige in the Muslim world as well as among many allies especially in Europe. US had always good relations with Muslim countries throughout the history. It helped liberate Bosnia and Kosovo. It never invaded a Muslim country before Iraq except Kuwait out of necessity.
It is a historical fact that after US had declared its Independence from Britain, the first country to recognize it was Morocco, a Muslim country. Due to invasion of Iraq and suffering of Muslims there, Muslims at large have lost a great deal of goodwill towards America. It might take decades before this damage can be repaired.
Another victim of Iraqi war and war on terrorism has been American Muslims themselves. They have suffered with increasing hate crimes, attacks on the mosques; innocent people have been deported on minor visa violations, humiliating searches on airports, and racial profiling. Many organizations have been unfairly targeted and, Muslim charities closed.
Let us add our voice to the millions of people around the world who want peace and end to this war. It is this kind of people’s voices that have brought change in governments in the United Kingdom, Spain and now in Australia. War protest has recorded some of the largest crowd in London and Rome in the past. In this time of election, we must remind our politicians which side of this issue we stand. The need of the hour is that we belonging to different religions stand together as the people of faith to push our leaders towards bringing this terrible and tragic war to a peaceful end.
---Dr Anis Ansari is a former President of Islamic Society of Clinton County and a board certified nephrologist at Medical Associate in Clinton Iowa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
US Death Toll in Iraq War Hits 4,000