As of 1 Jan 2012, according to President Barak Obama on Oct 21, the relationship between Iraq and the United States will be as one sovereign nation to another. Most of the US troops occupying Iraq will be home by Christmas. The remainder will have left by Dec 31, bringing to an end the almost 9-year long US occupation of Iraq and inviting a final tally of its costs and benefits. The cost, particularly in civilian lives and livelihoods, could be found to be staggering.
Reporting a Pew poll on Oct 5, the Christian Science Monitor notes that, like much of the rest of the country, a substantial number of American veterans of war in Iraq and Afghanistan don't think the 10-year effort has been worth the cost. The Nation, reporting a study on Oct 21 by scholars Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz, states that the direct cost of the Iraq War to the United States over the past decade has been US $800 billion, with indirect expenditures like veterans' care pushing the long-term cost into the range of US $6 trillion. Other sources say the occupation cost the United States US $1 trillion. More than 4,500 Americans have lost their lives in the conflict, the magazine noted, while more than 30,000 were wounded. Iraq itself remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with millions of Iraqis dead, wounded and displaced as a result of the war. A British organization that has tallied Iraqi civilian deaths from media reports since the occupation began, Iraq Body Count, put the figure at 600,000. The figure is thought to be considerably higher because many deaths are not reported. An elusive number is the figure for wounded Iraqi civilians and the number displaced internally and to other countries by the war. It is assumed to be well into the millions. It is known that over half of Iraq's Christian population -; some 400,000 people -; were forced to leave the country in a wave of Islamist pogroms following the fall of Saddam Hussein. President Barak Obama had pledged during his 2008 campaign to wind down the war, but there was no plan for a radical retreat. The original plan was for a few thousand US troops to remain into 2012 as trainers. But after Iraq's Parliament refused an American demand to give soldiers immunity from legal prosecution, the Pentagon decided to pull all but a few troops out: some 160 US troops will be left behind to guard the US embassy in Baghdad, the world's largest US Embassy. Thousands more US troops will likely be redeployed over the border to Kuwait. (WRITTEN Oct 2011)
Date written/update: 2011-12-31