We should be shamed by this arithmetic
Posted By Neta C. Crawford, Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 8:09 AM
Neta C. Crawford, a Professor of Political Science at Boston University, is Co-Director with Catherine Lutz of the Costs of War Project based at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
While observers of the Iraq War anniversary argue over the scale of the mistake -- a colossal folly rooted in imperial ambition and hubris, or simply an error based on faulty intelligence and misplaced fear -- the devil is in the details. These numbers, assembled by some of the 29 contributors to the Costs of War Project based at Brown University, help put the past 10 years in perspective.
0: Al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion. But a new organization, known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, has since formed and has attacked U.S. and Iraqi forces, and wages regular attacks on Iraqi civilians. Additionally, by 2013, AQI had spread offshoots and technical know-how to Syria, Jordan, and Libya. If Iraq became a "front" in the war on terrorism, as Jessica Stern, former member of the National Security Council and current fellow at the Hoover Institution, and her co-author Megan McBride, say "it is a front that the United States created."
2 plus 2: Conflicts exacerbated by the Iraq War. Iran and North Korea were apparently not intimidated by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, nor deterred from pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Conversely, the war in Afghanistan was arguably prolonged by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and has escalated into Pakistan, with a corresponding increase in military spending and loss of life.
8th: Iraq's ranking on a scale of corruption. While Iraq has established the formal institutions and practices of a democracy, it was ranked the eighth most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International last year. Middle East Politics expert Melani Cammett of Brown University points to increasing authoritarianism in Iraq, such as the creation of an approximately 6,000 person Iraqi Special Forces para-military force under the direct command of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the "Fedeyeen al-Maliki." Nadje Al-Ali of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) finds that women continue to be underrepresented politically, in Iraqi government ministries, and in the labor force, but overrepresented in the population of unemployed, illiterate, and poor.