The Iraq War, also known as the Third Gulf War, began on March 20th, 2003. Causes of the war are the Global War on Terrorism in response to the attacks on September 11th, the intention to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and the intention to arrest Saddam Hussein and then abolish his regime.
Here are 10 facts about the Iraq War:
- The Domino Effect: Iraq has the world’s second largest reserves of oil, which makes it a very influential country in the middle east. President Bush hoped that toppling Hussein’s government would catalyze change for the surrounding countries.
- Iraqi Casualties: According to a 2011 Iraq Body Count, between 103,013 and 112,571 Iraqi civilians died in the violence.
- American Casualties: Four thousand four hundred and eighty-three American soldiers were killed and 33,183 were wounded.
- Journalist Death Toll: One hundred and fifty reporters and 54 media support workers were killed throughout the course of the war, the majority of which were deliberately targeted. This is higher than any other wartime death toll for journalists on record.
- Bloody Period: March 2003 was a period of invasion that resulted in the highest number of deaths for Iraqis. According to IBC, 3,977 were killed in March and another 3,437 were killed in April.
- IDPs: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that as many as 1.6 million Iraqis, or 5.5 percent of the population, were internally displaced. This means that they were forced to leave their homes but remained within their countries.
- Money Lost: The Iraq War cost the U.S treasury 1 trillion dollars, excluding benefits and long-term care for the wounded. Taxpayers collectively spent 1 trillion dollars — $3,200 per citizen — on the war between 2003 to 2011.
- Debt to Veterans: $490 billion of war benefits were owed to veterans following the war.
- Debt to Iraq: The U.S owed Iraq 4 billion dollars before the invasion and 7 billion dollars after.
- State of U.S soldiers after the Iraq war: Twenty percent of wounded U.S soldiers had serious brain or spinal injuries. Thirty percent of soldiers developed serious mental health problems within four months of returning home.
Both the U.S and Iraq suffered severe financial and human life losses by the time the war officially ended in December 2011. Although Saddam Hussein’s government was officially overturned, no weapons of mass destruction were found. Nevertheless, the war has made lasting impacts on U.S. and Iraqi relations for years to come.
– Liliana Rehorn