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Iraq

Not surprisingly to anyone who has followed politics over the years - and saw the Iraq War for what it really was! - Iraq is back in the news as its sinks into utter chaos.    Now there is even talk of the US, and its allies, having troops back in Iraq.

Bernard Keane, political editor for the online Crikey, in reflecting on the present situation in Iraq and what the neo-conservatives (the same scourge as always!) are saying what should be done, records some sobering stats...

"The United States is estimated to have spent $1.7 trillion on the Iraq War so far, with much more to come via healthcare and veterans’ costs -- the real corporate winners from the war aren't so much defence companies or even services companies, but US healthcare companies. The final total may be around $4 trillion, decades hence. The cost to the United Kingdom of its participation was US$14 billion in 2010; the cost to Australian taxpayers of our role had, by 2011, reached $2.4 billion. The war led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis -- estimates vary between 100,000 and 600,000. So many Iraqis died during the allied occupation and ensuing civil war that according to the World Bank, life expectancy fell by two years between 2002 and 2007 and had still not recovered to pre-war levels in 2010. Nearly 4500 US troops died, along with 179 UK servicemen and women, with many thousands more injured and crippled.

As we all know, the justification for the war, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, didn’t exist. But the broader strategic goal of making the West safer from terrorism was never achieved. In fact, quite the opposite: while the Blair and Howard governments rejected any link between Iraq and the increasing risk of terrorism, in 2006, a US intelligence report concluded that “the Iraq War has made the overall terrorism problem worse”. That conclusion was echoed by a UK government report that year into the 2005 London bombings and confirmed by the head of British intelligence service MI5 in 2010 in evidence to the Chilcott Inquiry. The then-head of the Australian Federal Police, Mick Keelty, also reached that conclusion in 2004.

The Iraq War thus was a multitrillion-dollar exercise in making Western citizens materially less safe from terrorism, at least in the view of the intelligence agencies paid to make such assessments, but then again they said Saddam had WMDs."

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