The Iraq War, 2003 to 2011

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President Obama announced today that U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of 2011. What has the 9 year long war accomplished?

Iraq is a democracy, sort of. Although it has a parliament, prime minister, elections and that sort of stuff, it is also pretty corrupt. There has not yet been a peaceful transition of power, a key feature of democracy, as prime minister al-Maliki was reelected to a second term in a troubled election in 2010. It has a polity score  of 3 on a scale from -10 to 10, which doesn’t quite qualify it as a democracy in common usage. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2010 it is a hybrid regime just a tad above authoritarianism and according to Freedom House it is not free.

In 9 years of war, 111,000+ civilian deaths (Iraq Body Count), and taking into account excess mortality maybe even upwards of 1 million (Opinion Research Business survey) out of a population of 31 million. The Iraq Body Count data is based on press reports of violent deaths and actual deaths are most likely higher. But basically around 1 out of every 50 was killed.

Upwards of 15,00o Iraq Security Forces deaths and around 24,000 insurgent deaths (Iraq War Logs summary at IBC).

About 4,800 U.S. and coalition deaths (iCasualties.org) and 32,000 U.S. wounded (DoD). Also, direct cost of $800 billion or so. But since most of that was financed through debt, the actual cost will probably end up in the low trillions.

Surprisingly, Iraq has surpassed it’s pre-war GDP per capita, even during the war. But then, oil prices have risen as well and most of Iraq’s economy is based on oil.

Weapons of mass destruction. Never mind.

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