A coinage by US military medical personnel to describe the multiple, extreme, totally incapacitating complex of traumatic injuries they see on individual US servicemen suffered in the course of the aftermath of the Iraq War, a multiplicity of wounds so severe that they would have been fatal in previous wars. These generally start with multiple, severe shrapnel injuries leading to multiple amputations, loss of normal bodily function, brain damage and partial-to-full paralysis. These are the kinds of injuries not even big city trauma centers accustomed to gang war shootouts ever encounters.
|notes= *Total deaths (all Iraqis) include all excess deaths due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poor healthcare, etc.. The IBC count is from English-language media reports. For more info, casualty estimates, and explanations for the wide variation in results, see: Casualties of the conflict in Iraq since 2003
Campaignbox Iraq Campaignbox Persian Gulf
The Iraq War (2003 to the present), also known as the Second Gulf War (and by the U.S. military as Operation Iraqi Freedom and the UK military as Operation TELIC), started with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Subsequent occupation of Saddam Hussein-led Ba'athistIraq by a United States-led coalition has resulted in ongoing asymmetric warfare between resistance forces and coalition forces. The New Iraqi Army was created to replace the old one that was disbanded after the U.S. led invasion. In the midst of fighting between resistance, coalition, and Iraqi forces, sectarian violence between the majority Shia and minority Sunni populations continues today. cite news|title=CBS on civil war|publisher=CBS News|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/09/26/eveningnews/main886305.shtml|date=Sep 26 The causes and consequences of the war remain controversial. cite web | url=http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/ | title=Casualties in Iraq | publisher= Antiwar.com |
Prior to invasion, the United States and other coalition forces involved in the 1991 Persian Gulf War had been engaged in a low-level conflict with Iraq, by enforcing the two Iraqi no-fly zones in the north and the south of the country. Iraqi air-defense installations repeatedly targeted American and British air patrols and were often engaged by the coalition aircraft shortly afterwards. Approximately nine months after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. initiated Operation Southern Focus as a change to its response strategy, by increasing the overall number of missions and selecting targets throughout the no-fly zones in order to disrupt the military command structure in Iraq.
The weight of bombs dropped increased from none in March 2002 and 0.3 in April 2002 to between 8 and 14 tons per month in May-August, reaching a pre-war peak of 54.6 tons in September - prior to Congress' 11 Octoberauthorization of the invasion. In retaliation for the Iraqi's now-daily air defense attacks on coalition aircraft, the September attacks included a 5 September 100-aircraft attack on the main air defence site in western Iraq. According to an editorial by Michael Smith for the New Statesman, this was "Located at the furthest extreme of the southern no-fly zone, far away from the areas that needed to be patrolled to prevent attacks on the Shias; it was destroyed not because it was a threat to the patrols, but to allow allied special forces operating from Jordan to enter Iraq undetected." cite news|title=The war before the war |publisher=News Statesman |date=2005-05-30 U.S. military personnel stationed at Southern Watch headquarters during this time, recall that this attack, on this particular Iraqi air defense unit, was taken solely in reaction to Iraq's continued attack on coalition aircraft operating in compliance with the UN-mandated overflights of the Iraq "no-fly" zone.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq began on March 19, later the invasion was changed to "Operation Iraqi Freedom" by the Bush administration. They cooperated with Kurdish forces in the north which numbered upwards of Other nations also participated in part of a coalition force to help with the operation by providing equipment, services and security as well as special forces. The 2003 Iraq invasion marked the beginning of what is commonly referred to as the Iraq War.
In May of 2003, after the defeat of Iraq's conventional forces, the coalition military noticed a gradually increasing flurry of attacks on the multinational troops in various regions, such as the "Sunni Triangle". In the initial chaos after the fall of the Iraqi government, there was massive looting of infrastructure, including government buildings, official residences, museums, banks, and military depots. According to The Pentagon, 250,000 tons (of 650,000 tons total) of ordnance was looted, providing a significant source of ammunition for the Iraqi insurgency. The hundreds of weapons caches already created by the conventional Iraqi army and Republican Guard further strengthened these looted supplies for the insurgents.
The initial insurgency in Iraq was concentrated in, but not limited to, an area referred to by Western media and the occupying forces as the Sunni triangle. This location includes Baghdad. cite news|title=Operation Iraqi Freedom Maps |publisher=GlobalSecurity.Org |date=Unavailable The three provinces that had the highest number of attacks were Baghdad, Anbar, and Salah Ad Din--these provinces account for 35% of the population. This resistance has been described as a type of guerrilla warfare. Insurgent tactics include mortars, missiles, suicide bombers, snipers (cf. Juba, the Baghdad Sniper), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), roadside bombs, car bombs, small arms fire (usually with assault rifles), and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), as well as sabotage against the oil, water, and electrical infrastructure.
The post-invasion environment began after the Hussein regime had been overthrown. It centers on Coalition and U.N. efforts to establish a stable democratic state capable of defending itselfcite news|title=Poll: Iraqis out of patience |publisher=USA Today |date=2004-04-30 and holding itself together cite news|title=Gloom descends on Iraqi leaders as civil war and overcoming insurgent attacks and internal divisions.
Coalition military forces launched several operations around Tigris River peninsula and in the Sunni Triangle. A series of similar operations were launched throughout the summer in the Sunni Triangle. Toward the end of 2003, the intensity and pace of insurgent attacks began to increase. A sharp surge in guerrilla attacks ushered in an insurgent effort that was termed the "Ramadan Offensive", as it coincided with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Coalition forces brought to bear the use of air power for the first time since the end of the invasion.
Suspected ambush sites and mortar launching positions struck from the air and with artillery fire. Surveillance of major routes, patrols, and raids on suspected insurgents were stepped up. In addition, two villages, including Saddam’s birthplace of al-Auja and the small town of Abu Hishma were wrapped in barbed wire and carefully monitored. On July 22, 2003, during a raid by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and soldiers from Task Force 20, Saddam Hussein's sons (Uday and Qusay) and one of his grandsons were killed.
With the capture of Saddam and a drop in the number of insurgent attacks (an average of 18 a day), some concluded the multinational forces were prevailing in the fight against the insurgency. With the weather growing cooler, Coalition forces were able to operate in full armor which reduced their casualty rate. The provisional government began training a security force intended to defend critical infrastructure, and the United States promised over $20 billion in reconstruction money in the form of credit against Iraq's future oil revenues. Of this, less than half a billion dollars had been spent in 10 months after it had been promised. Oil revenues were also used for rebuilding schools and for work on the electrical and refining infrastructure.
However, the failure to restore basic services to above pre-war levels, where over a decade of sanctions, bombing, corruption, and decaying infrastructure had left major cities functioning at much-reduced levels, also contributed to local anger at the IPA government headed by an executive council. On July 22003, President Bush declared that American troops would remain in Iraq in spite of the attacks, challenging the insurgents with "My answer is, bring 'em on", a line the President later expressed misgivings about having used. cite news| url=http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/1/13/232154.shtml | title=President Regrets 'Bring 'Em On' | publisher=NewsMax.com Wires |date=2005-01-14 | In the summer of 2003, the multinational forces focused on hunting down the remaining leaders of the former regime, culminating in the shooting deaths of Saddam's two sons in July. In all, over 300 top leaders of the former regime were killed or captured, as well as numerous lesser functionaries and military personnel.
Shortly after the capture of Saddam, elements left out of the Coalition Provisional Authority began to agitate for elections and the formation of an Iraqi Interim Government. Most prominent among these was the Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani. The United States and the Coalition Provisional Authority it helped install opposed allowing democratic elections at this time, preferring instead to eventually hand-over power to an unelected group of Iraqis. (The Guardian, January 19, 2004, free archived version at: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0119-08.htm, last visited Nov. 21, 2006). More insurgents stepped up their activities. The two most turbulent centers were the area around Fallujah and the poor Shia sections of cities from Baghdad to Basra in the south.
2004: Insurgency expands and the First Battle of Fallujah
The start of 2004 was marked by a relative lull in violence. Insurgent forces reorganized during this time, studying the multinational forces' tactics and planning a renewed offensive. Guerrilla attacks were less intense.
Insurgent activity soon increased, however, as hundreds of Iraqi civilians and police were killed over the next few months in a series of massive bombings. One hypothesis for these increased bombings is that the relevance of Saddam Hussein and his followers was diminishing in direct proportion to the influence of radical Islamists, both foreign and Iraqi. An organized Sunni insurgency, with deep roots and both nationalist and Islamist motivations, was becoming more powerful throughout Iraq. The Mahdi Army also began launching attacks on coalition targets in an attempt to seize control from Iraqi security forces. The southern and central portions of Iraq were beginning to erupt in urban guerrilla combat as multinational forces attempted to keep control and prepared for a counteroffensive.
The coalition and the Coalition Provisional Authority decided to face the growing insurgency with a pair of assaults: one on Fallujah, the center of the "Mohammed's Army of Al-Ansar", and another on Najaf, home of an important mosque that had become the focal point for the Mahdi Army and its activities. Just before the attack on Fallujah, four private military contractors, working for Blackwater USA, were ambushed, murdered and their corpses mutilated by a large crowd, receiving a great deal of media attention. The attention elicited a violent reaction from Donald Rumsfeld who then ordered Lt. General Conway to attack Fallujah at the earliest opportunity.
After this incident, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force began plans to re-establish a coalition presence in Fallujah. On April 4, the multinational forces began assaults to clear Fallujah of insurgents. On April 9, the multinational force allowed more than 70,000 women, children and elderly residents to leave the besieged city, reportedly also allowing males of military age to leave. Meanwhile, insurgents were taking advantage of the lull in combat to prepare defenses for a second assault. On April 10, the military declared a unilateral truce to allow for humanitarian supplies to enter Fallujah. Troops pulled back to the outskirts of the city; local leaders reciprocated the ceasefire, although lower-level intense fighting on both sides continued.
The usage by the U.S. of white phosphorus in Fallujah attracted controversy. In the documentary "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre", aired on the Italian state television network RAI, a former soldier testified "I saw the burned bodies of women and children. The phosphorus explodes and forms a plume. Who ever is within a 150 metre radius has no hope." cite news|title=Did the U.S. military use chemical weapons in Iraq? |publisher=The Christian Science Monitor |date=2005-11-08cite news|title=Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" on the U.S. Use of Napalm-Like White Phosphorus Bombs |publisher=DemocracyNow.Org |date=2005-11-08cite web| url=http://www.rainews24.rai.it/ran24/inchiesta/video/fallujah_ING.wmv| title=fallujah_ING| publisher=Rainews24.rai.it| The U.S. State department first dismissed such claims, cite news|title=Did the U.S. Use "Illegal" Weapons in Fallujah? |publisher=U.S. Department of State |date=2004-11-12 but was later corrected in other reports. Lt Col Barry Venable stated to the BBC, "it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants." According to Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, white phosphorus can be used, but only against enemy combatants and not civilians. cite news|title=US used white phosphorus in Iraq |publisher=BBC |date=2005-11-16The Independent later reported that "there remain widespread reports of civilians suffering extensive burn injuries. While U.S. commanders insist they always strive to avoid civilian casualties, the story of the battle of Fallujah highlights the intrinsic difficulty of such an endeavour." cite news|title=The Fog of War: White Phosphorus, Fallujah and Some Burning Questions |publisher=CommonDreams.Org |date=2005-11-15
When the Iraqi Governing Council protested against the U.S. assault to retake Fallujah, the U.S. military halted its efforts. In the April battle for Fallujah, Coalition troops killed about 600 insurgents and a number of civilians, while 40 Americans died and hundreds were wounded in a fierce battle. The Marines were ordered to stand-down and cordon off the city, maintaining a perimeter around Fallujah. A compromise was reached in order to ensure security within Fallujah itself by creating the local "Fallujah Brigade". While the Marines attacking had a clear advantage in ground firepower and air support, LtGen Conway decided to accept a truce and a deal which put a former Baathist general in complete charge of the town's security. The Fallujah Brigade's responsibility was to secure Fallujah and put a stop to insurgent mortar attacks on the nearby U.S. Marine bases. This compromise soon fell apart and insurgent attacks returned, causing Marine commanders to begin preparations for a second attack in the coming fall. By the end of the spring uprising, the cities of Fallujah, Samarra, Baquba, and Ramadi had been left under guerrilla control with coalition patrols in the cities at a
Early-mid 2004 – the Shi'ite south
Meanwhile, the fighting continued in the Shiite south, and Italian and Polish forces were having increasing difficulties retaining control over Nasiriya and Najaf. United States Marines were then shifted there to put down the overt rebellion and proceeded to rout Muqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militia. In all, April, May and early June saw more fighting. Over the next three months, the multinational forces took back the southern cities. Also, various insurgent leaders entered into negotiations with the provisional government to lay down arms and enter the political process.
Toward the end of June 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred the "sovereignty" of Iraq to a caretaker government, whose first act was to begin the trial of Saddam Hussein. However, fighting continued in the form of the Iraqi insurgency. The new government began the process of moving towards open elections, though the insurgency and the lack of cohesion within the government itself, had led to delays. Militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr took control of Najaf and, after negotiations broke down, the government asked the United States for help dislodging him.
Through the months of July and August, a series of skirmishes in and around Najaf culminated with the Imam Ali Mosque itself under siege, only to have a peace deal brokered by Grand AyatollahSistani in late August. The new Iraq Grain Board has started to import wheat from Australia Wheat Board which had been long banned by Saddam Hussein. cite news|title=Australian wheat export to Iraq resumes |publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald |date=2006-07-06
November 2004: The Second Battle of Fallujah
The First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004 created an area of extreme instability and a de facto insurgent safe zone. After several months of this situation, in November 2004 coalition forces attacked and successfully captured Fallujah in the Second Battle of Fallujah. This battle resulted in the reputed death of over 5,000 insurgent fighters. The U.S. Marines (the main coalition force in combat) also took substantial casualties with 95 dead and around 500 wounded in action. According to local sources, hundreds of civilians were also killed and much of the city was destroyed in the battle.
On January 31, an election for a government to draft a permanent constitution took place. Although some violence and lack of widespread Sunni Arab participation marred the event, most of the eligible Kurd and Shia populace participated. On February 4, Paul Wolfowitz announced that 15,000 U.S. troops whose tours of duty had been extended in order to provide election security would be pulled out of Iraq by the next month. "http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4235787.stm U.S. to pull out 15,000 from Iraq; The U.S. is to withdraw about 15,000 troops from Iraq from next month, the deputy defence secretary has announced". BBC News, 4 February2005.February, March and April proved to be relatively peaceful months compared to the carnage of November and January, with insurgent attacks averaging 30 a day from the prior average of 70.
Hopes for a quick end to an insurgency and a withdrawal of U.S. troops were dashed at the advent of May, Iraq's bloodiest month since the invasion by U.S. forces in March and April of 2003. Suicide bombers, believed to be mainly disheartened Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Syrians and Saudis, tore through Iraq. Their targets were often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations mainly of Shias. As a result, over 700 Iraqi civilians died in that month, as well as 79 U.S. soldiers.
During early and mid-May, the U.S. also launched Operation Matador, an assault by around 1,000 Marines in the ungoverned region of western Iraq. Its goal was the closing of suspected insurgent supply routes of volunteers and material from Syria, and with the fight they received their assumption proved correct. Fighters armed with flak jackets (unseen in the insurgency before this time) and using sophisticated tactics met the Marines, eventually inflicting 30 U.S. casualties by the operation's end, and suffering 125 casualties themselves. The Marines succeeded, recapturing the whole region and even fighting insurgents all the way to the Syrian border, where they were forced to stop (Syrian residents living near the border heard the American bombs very clearly during the operation). The vast majority of these armed and trained insurgents quickly dispersed before the U.S. could bring the full force of its firepower on them, as it did in Fallujah.
2006: Sectarian violence, possible outbreak of civil war
The beginning of 2006 was marked by government creation talks, growing sectarian violence, and continuous anti-coalition attacks.
February 2006: Al-Askari shrine bombing and Sunni-Shia fighting
:See Al Askari Mosque bombing thumb|200px|A U.S. soldier with Diwaniyah.">[M240 machine gun on patrol in Diwaniyah.] On February 222006, at 6:55 a.m. local time (0355 UTC) two bombs were set off by five to seven men dressed as personnel of the Iraqi Special forces who entered the Al Askari Mosque during the morning. Explosions occurred at the mosque, effectively destroying its golden dome and severely damaging the mosque. Several men, one wearing a military uniform, had earlier entered the mosque, tied up the guards there and set explosives, resulting in the blast.
Shiites across Iraq expressed their anger by destroying Sunni mosques and killing dozens. Religious leaders of both sides called for calm amid fears this could erupt into a long-feared Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq.
As of October 20 the U.S military announced that operation Together Forward had failed to stem the tide of violence in Baghdad, and Shiite Militants Under al-Sadr seized several southern Iraq Cities http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15343811/.
:See 2006 Sadr City Bombing On November 23, 2006 the deadliest attack since the beginning of the Iraq war occurred. According to The Associated Press, suspected Sunni-Arab militants used five suicide car bombs and two mortar rounds on the capital's Shiite Sadr City slum to kill at least 215 people and wound 257 on Thursday. Shiite mortar teams quickly retaliated, firing 10 shells at Sunni Islam's most important shrine in Baghdad, badly damaging the Abu Hanifa mosque and killing one person. Eight more rounds slammed down near the offices of the Association of Muslim Scholars, the top Sunni Muslim organization in Iraq, setting nearby houses on fire. Two other mortar barrages on Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad killed nine and wounded 21, police said late Thursday.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15866123/ "Bombs in Shiite slum kill at least 161", MSNBC http://www.example.com link title
When the ruling Ba'ath party organization disintegrated after the fall of the Iraqi government, elements of the secret police and Republican Guard formed guerrilla units, since some had simply gone home rather than openly fight the multinational forces. Many of these smaller units formed the center of the initial anti-coalition insurgency, based primarily around the cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah. These guerrilla units were the precursor to the eventual formation of what came to be known as the Iraqi insurgency, or those Iraqis and foreigners who attacked coalition or government forces.
More recently in late 2005 and 2006, due to increasing sectarian violence based on either tribal/ethnic distinctions or simply due to increased criminal violence, there has been the formation of various militias. Many of these militias have been formed in response to violent acts committed on the basis of the Shia/Sunni distinction, with whole neighborhoods and cities sometimes being protected or attacked by ethnic or neighborhood
The insurgents and guerrilla units favored attacking unarmored vehicles and avoiding major battles. The early Iraqi insurgency was concentrated in, but not limited to, an area referred to by the Western media and the occupying forces as the Sunni triangle which includes Baghdad. The insurgents dead are numbered between 45-60,000. cite web| url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraqi_freedom-ops-maps.htm | title=Operation Iraqi Freedom Maps | publisher=GlobalSecurity.org |
By the fall of 2003, these insurgent groups began using typical guerrilla tactics such as ambushes, bombings, kidnappings, and improvised explosive devices. Other tactics included mortars, suicide bombers, roadside bombs, small arms fire, and RPGs, as well as sabotage against the oil, water, and electrical infrastructure. Multi-national Force-Iraq statistics (see detailed BBChttp://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41982000/gif/_41982058_insurg_att_08_06_graph416.gif graphic) show that the insurgents primarily targeted coalition forces, Iraqi security forces and infrastructure, and lastly civilians and government officials. The civilian death log reveals that a large majority of the deaths were by car bombs, booby traps, throat slitting, beheading and other techniques that are known to be associated with These irregular forces favored attacking unarmored or lightly armored Humvee vehicles, the U.S. military's primary transport vehicle. In November 2003, some of these forces successfully attacked U.S. rotary aircraft with SAM-7 missiles bought on the global black market. Insurgent groups such as the al-Abud Network have even attempted to constitute their own chemical weapons programs, attempting to weaponize traditional mortar rounds with ricin and mustard toxin. cite web|url=http://www.npr.org/documents/2004/cia_wmd/vol3.pdf|publisher=Central Intelligence Agency|title=Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's
One of the more influential insurgents, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed on June 72006 in the town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, when U.S. warplanes dropped two 500-pound bombs on his isolated safe house. cite news|url=http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1201981,00.html|title=How They Got Zarqawi: The Manhunt That Snared Him|publisher=Time|date=2006-06-08|author=Tony Zarqawi, a Syrian, did not fit the usual profile of an Iraqi insurgent and had closer ties to the al Qaeda terrorist organization. Still, President George W. Bush said the killing was "a severe blow to al-Qaida and it is a significant victory in the war on terror" but cautioned: "We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continuing patience of the American people."cite news|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2006-06-08-al-zarqawi-airstrike_x.htm|title=U.S. airstrike kills Iraq terror chief Zarqawi|publisher=USA Today|date=2006-06-22|author=Bill Nichols|co-author=Matt
Despite Zarqawi's death Al-Qaeda in Iraq vowed to continue its "holy war", according to a statement posted on a Web site announcing: "We want to give you the joyous news of the martyrdom of the mujahed sheik Abu Musab al-Zarqawi." Zarqawi's death may have had little impact on the violence since evidence of continued violence in Iraq could still be seen in the month of June with over 1,600 Iraqi deaths that month, the highest monthly total to date since the Al Askari Mosque bombing. cite news|url=http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13715637/|title=Bodies flood morgue despite Zarqawi’s death|publisher=MSNBC|date=
The war in Iraq was originally justified as part of the U.S.-led War on Terrorism. Specifically, the Bush Administration argued that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda, and that his overthrow would lead to democratization in the Middle East, decreasing terrorism overall. The alleged ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda were never confirmed, however, and numerous reports of intelligence agencies investigating the matter -- including several reports of the CIA, the U.S. State Department, the FBI, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the investigations of foreign intelligence agencies -- concluded that no evidence had been found supporting an operational connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. The New York Times commented in September 2006 on the conclusions of the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein had prewar ties to Al Qaeda and one of the terror organization’s most notorious members, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/08/washington/09intelcnd.htmlhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/08/AR2006090800777.html (See main article: Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda).
However, al-Qaeda leaders have seen the Iraq war as a boon to their recruiting and operational efforts, providing both evidence to jihadists worldwide that America is at war with Islam, and the training ground for a new generation of jihadists to practice attacks on American forces. In October 2003, Osama bin Laden announced: "Be glad of the good news: America is mired in the swamps of the Tigris and Euphrates. Bush is, through Iraq and its oil, easy prey. Here is he now, thank God, in an embarrassing situation and here is America today being ruined before the eyes of the whole world."http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ACB47241-D25F-46CB-B673-56FAB1C2837F.htm Al-Qaeda commander Seif al-Adl gloated about the war in Iraq, indicating, "The Americans took the bait and fell into our trap."http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/623/60/ A letter thought to be from al-Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman found in Iraq among the rubble where al-Zarqawi was killed and released by the U.S. military in October 2006, indicated that al-Qaeda perceived the war as beneficial to its goals: "The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness ... indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest."http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1006/p01s04-woiq.html
In the years since the war began, a consensus has developed among intelligence experts that the Iraq war has increased terrorism. Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna frequently referred to the invasion of Iraq as a "fatal mistake"Rohan Gunaratna, "The Post-Madrid Face of Al Qaeda," Washington Quarterly 27:3 (Summer 2004) p. 98. that had greatly increased terrorism in the Middle East. London's conservative International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in 2004 that the occupation of Iraq had become "a potent global recruitment pretext" for jihadists and that the invasion "galvanized" al-Qaeda and "perversely inspired insurgent violence" there.http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0526-05.htm The U.S. National Intelligence Council concluded in a January 2005 report that the war in Iraq had become a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists; David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, indicated that the report concluded that the war in Iraq provided terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills... There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries." The Council's Chairman Robert L. Hutchings said, "At the moment, Iraq is a magnet for international terrorist activity."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7460-2005Jan13.html And the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, which outlined the considered judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, held that "The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement."http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/Declassified_NIE_Key_Judgments.pdf
The icasualties.org website reports the death toll since the invasion in March 2003 as being 2,890 American lives (as of December 2nd, 2006). There have been a further 247 deaths among the troops of other coalition nations: Australia 2. Bulgaria 13. Denmark 6. El Salvador 5. Estonia 2. Hungary 1. Italy 33. Kazakhstan 1. Latvia 1. Netherlands 2. Poland 18. Romania 2. Slovakia 4. Spain 11. Thailand 2. Ukraine 18. United Kingdom 126. http://antiwar.com/casualties
The Lancet study states: "Aside from Bosnia, we can find no conflict situation where passive surveillance used by the IBC recorded more than 20% of the deaths measured by population-based methods used in the Lancet studies. In several outbreaks, disease and death recorded by facility-based methods underestimated events by a factor of ten or more when compared with population-based estimates. Between 1960 and 1990, newspaper accounts of political deaths in Guatemala correctly reported over 50% of deaths in years of low violence but less than 5% in years of highest violence."
seealso|Iraq Body Count project|Lancet surveys of mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of
:The Iraq nation's health has deteriorated to a level not seen since the 1950s, said Joseph Chamie, former director of the U.N. Population Division and an Iraq specialist. "They were at the forefront", he said, referring to healthcare just before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. "Now they're looking more and more like a country in sub-Saharan Africa."
As of September 292006, over $379 billion has been allocated by the U.S. Congress for the Iraq war. cite web| url=http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Defense-Spending.html?hp&ex=1159588800&en=73dffaa3995d31e7&ei=5094&partner=homepage |title=Senate, 100-0, Approves Budget for Pentagon | publisher=New York Times | date=2006-09-29 | The direct costs of the war and occupation have not been included in the regular defense spending request (with the exception of FY 2007); instead, President Bush has submitted emergency spending bills to Congress to cover those costs. cite web | url=http://zfacts.com/p/272.html | title=Congressional Reports: Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan since 9/11 | publisher=zFacts.org | date=2006-04-24 | The current rate of U.S. expenditure in Iraq is approximately $6.4 billion a month. cite web| url=http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB114178357697392103-TjKUdWN4qoenDbAFbOI8Ywp2O_M_20070308.html?mod=blogs |title=LU.S. Annual War Spending Grows | publisher=Wall Street Journal | date=2006-03-08 |
As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq. All of this money has come from a government fund called the "Special Reserve" which has a current allocation of £6.44 billion. cite web | url=http://www.iraqanalysis.org/publications/235 | title=The Rising Costs of the Iraq War (March 2006) | publisher=IraqAnalysis.org | date=2006-03-22 |
It is not known how much more money has been spent by other members of the coalition; however, the US's share of the cost is by far the largest.
Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and Nobel Prize in Economics, has suggested the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be $1 trillion in a conservative scenario and could top $2 trillion in a moderate one.cite web | url=http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/download/2006_Cost_of_War_in_Iraq_NBER.pdf | title=THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF THE IRAQ WAR: AN APPRAISAL THREE YEARS AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE CONFLICT | publisher=National Bureau of Research | author=Linda Bilmes | coauthors=Joseph Stiglitz | Month=February | year=2006 | The Congressional Research Service recently estimated weekly spending at almost $2 billion per week, and that total expenditures have now topped half a trillion dollars.cite news | url=http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/09/28/cost_of_iraq_war_nearly_2b_a_week/ | title=Cost of Iraq war nearly $2b a week | publisher=Boston Globe | date=2006-09-28 | Additionally, the extended combat and equipment loss have placed a severe financial strain on the U.S Army, causing the elimination of non-essential expenses such as travel and civilian hiring.cite news | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-07-20-army-money_x.htm | title=Strapped for money, Army extends cutbacks on spending | publisher=USA Today | date=2006-07-20 | cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14122053/site/newsweek/ | title=End of Days? | publisher=Newsweek | date=2006-07-21 | author=Michael Hirsh |
In addition to the human casualties suffered in the war, the U.S. has also lost a number of pieces of military equipment. This total includes those vehicles lost in non-combat related accidents - numbers are an approximation. Recently, the Army has said that the cost of replacing its depleted equipment has tripled from that of 2005. cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13563055/ |title=Army’s Iraq, Afghanistan equipment costs triple | publisher=MSNBC | date=2006-06-27 |
Combat losses: Land equipmentcite web | url=http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/docs/773.pdf | title=Army Equipment After Iraq | publisher=Center for American Progress | author=Loren B. Thompson | coauthors=Lawrence J. Korb, Caroline P. Wadhams | *20 M1 Abrams tanks *55 Bradley fighting vehicles *20 Stryker wheeled combat vehicles *20 M113 armored personnel carriers *250 Humvees *500+ Mine clearing vehicles, heavy/medium trucks, and trailers *10 Amphibious Assault Vehicles cite news| url=http://www.military.com/forums/0,15240,91677,00.html | title=The Fog of War | publisher=Marine Corps Gazette | author=Maj Karl C. Rohr | date=2006-03-21 | cite news | url=http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2004/Jan/Marine_Vehicle.htm | title=Marine Vehicle Upgrades Reflect Combat Demands | publisher=National Defense Magazine | date=January 2006 | author=Roxana Tiron | Combat losses: Air equipment thumb|right|250px|The September 21, 2004">[UH-60 Black Hawk that crashed on September 21, 2004] *27 Apache attack helicopters *21 Blackhawk utility helicopters *14 Chinook cargo helicopters *23 Kiowa surveillance helicopters *4 CH-46E Sea Knight cargo helicopters cite news| url=http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2006/april/marinesstruggle.htm | title=Marines Struggle to Begin Rebuilding Force in ‘07 | publisher= National Defense Magazine | date=April 2006 | author=Harold Kennedy | *1 A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft *1 F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft cite news | url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,83618,00.html | title=Two Airmen Missing After F-15 Fighter Lost Over Iraq | publisher=FOXNews | date=2003-04-08 | *2 UH-1N Huey utility helicopters *8 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters *5 CH-53E Super Stallion or MH-53 Pave Low helicopters *2 H-3 Sea King helicopters *25+ RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles *3 F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft *2 C-130 Hercules aircraft *1 F-16 Fighting FalconCG (90-0776)
A growing number of citizens in coalition nations have urged their governments to withdraw from Iraq. Supporters of withdrawal argue that the Iraq war is unwinnable, that it has no purpose, or that it has become another Vietnam war. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7166.htmhttp://www.commondreams.org/views05/0606-25.htm Those who oppose the war also argue that the huge financial cost, as well as the loss of innocent human life, will be ended by a withdrawal of troops. Another consideration is the destabilization to the Middle East region that may occur as a consequence of the sudden departure of the United States military. Given the strained relations between the United States and Iraq's neighbor, Iran, and considering the powerful influence of Iran among Iraq's Shi'aMuslim community, some people fear that Iraq is going to convert into a fundamentalist-lead client state of Iran. The civil strife between the Sunni and Shi'a communities, as well as Kurdish hopes of establishing an independent state of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, could lead to a full-scale civil war.
Stay in Iraq
In addition to the criticism of the war itself, there is also a large amount of criticism from people that support the war but criticize the current military strategy, believing that the current strategy causes unnecessary deaths and injuries of coalition and Iraqi troops, as well as civilian contractors, and does not adequately meet the insurgent threat. Included within this is the criticism that, if the military strategy were much more effective, then there would be much more support for the war among the people of the coalition countries, especially the United States, except in the case of the strict pacifists and isolationists, who are always opposed to foreign wars regardless of the efficacy of the strategy.
Many specific strategic criticisms have been made by various individuals and publications. Some major criticisms include:
*Prisoners in Iraq detained by U.S. troops are treated badly, and it is estimated that about 1/4th of them are innocent, and many prisoners are subsequently released. The bad treatment of those prisoners angers the civilian population and turns them against the United States. These critics say that prisoners should be treated humanely. (this criticism was made on Nightlinehttp://abcnews.go.com/WNT/IraqCoverage/story?id=1312282, among other places)
*There is a very large number of explosion-induced injuries to soldiers' arms, legs, and faces, including many losses of limbs. Such injuries could be greatly reduced if the soldiers wore light-weight, ventilated, heat-resistant polymer (such as aramid) over their arms and legs, and transparent polycarbonate face masks, which not strong enough to stop a bullet, can prevent much of the damage from the hot particles of This also applies to the Iraqi police, who are severely under-equipped http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1246074,00.html, and who suffer far more deaths and injuries than coalition troops http://icasualties.org, and are the permanent stabilizing force that, if strong enough, may allow the coalition troops to withdraw. (This criticism was made in Discover Magazinehttp://www.discover.com/issues/dec-04/departments/reviews/?page=2, among other places.)
*Many civilian contractors in Iraq, who are involved in rebuilding Iraq, are killed by insurgents http://icasualties.org, and the improvements that they build are often destroyed soon after they are
*The Pentagon has refused to tabulate the number of insurgents killed http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/189877_civilians08.html.
Geraldo Rivera is one of the major critics of the military strategy in Iraq. Geraldo advised, among other things, that U.S. troops should only use roads that are monitored 24-7, so as to avoid roadside bombs, and that civilian contractors, except for those working on military and security projects, should pull out until most insurgents are dead and it is safe to build. from the Fox television show 'Geraldo At Large'
Criticisms of U.S. media coverage
main|News media (United
thumb|300px|A Shiite clericMoqtada al Sadr fires a Dragunov sniper rifle at U.S. positions in the cemetery in Najaf. Though there had been concerns that the US media failed to show both sides properly, when The New York Times published this photo, it was severely criticized as being non-patriotic.">[sniper loyal to Shiite clericMoqtada al Sadr fires a Dragunov sniper rifle at U.S. positions in the cemetery in Najaf. Though there had been concerns that the US media failed to show both sides properly, when The New York Times published this photo, it was severely criticized as being non-patriotic.] Concerns have been raised of insufficiently critical coverage of the activities of U.S. forces in Iraq. However, the argument has also been made that coverage has been unfair to U.S. forces, and has failed to send a message adequately supportive of U.S. forces.
Some critics suggest that the U.S. news media is extremely reluctant to criticise the conduct of American soldiers, for fear of upsetting their viewers and thus losing This could hypothetically keep certain concerns over soldiers' conduct off the U.S. political agenda.
Thus it has been often reported in European media, including countries involved in operations in Iraq, that a large minority of American soldiers and marines in Iraq have been able to behave irresponsibly in Iraq, causing unnecessary deaths of civilians. At the same time, many believe that U.S. forces have come under little U.S. media scrutiny, except in the most extreme cases.citation
Even in the most extreme cases, such as the Haditha massacre, U.S. media coverage has been considerably less than in European countries such as the United Kingdom, especially when the massacre was a rumour, when it was rejected by the U.S. media.
The killing of Nicola Calipari by an American soldier, which Italian prosecutors are now classifying murder, received U.S. media coverage because the victim was an Italian Major-General. The killing fits a pattern, which has been suggested by most of the mainstream European media for some time (among many others, in the British Guardian newspaper and French Le Monde newspaper) of widespread unprovoked fatal incidents. Another cited example is the killing of British reporter Terry Lloyd, who was found by the coroner to have been unlawfully killed by U.S. marines in Iraq. The Independent on Sunday (15 October2006) suggested that this death was the result of U.S. soldiers' hostility to his decision to report independently rather than being "embedded "with coalition forces.
Throughout the entire Iraq war there have been numerous human rights abuses on all sides of the conflict.
U.S. Armed Forces
WARNING: These links have graphic content depicting a decapitation; some of the most publicized abuses include: * Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse * Haditha killings - alleged murder of 24 civilians, including women and children (Under investigation) * Ishaqi incident - alleged murder of 11 civilians, including five children (Under investigation) * Hamadiya incident - alleged kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man named Hashim Ibrahim Awad (Under investigation) * Mahmudiyah incident - alleged gang-rape and murder of a 14 year old girl, the murder of her parents and 7 year old sister. (Under investigation) * Mukaradeeb - alleged bombing and shooting of at least 42 civilians cite news|url=http://www.sundayherald.com/42229| title=Iraq: The Wedding Party Massacre|publisher=Sunday Herald|date=2004-03-14|author=Neil (Under investigation)
Private military contractors
There have been reported human rights abuses by some of the thousands of private military contractors working in Iraq. The most famous incident involving contractors was the Abu Ghraib incident.
A 2005 Human Rights Watch report analysed the insurgency in Iraq and highlighted, "The groups that are most responsible for the abuse, namely al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna and the Islamic Army in Iraq, have all targeted civilians for abductions and executions. The first two groups have repeatedly boasted about massive car bombs and suicide bombs in mosques, markets, bus stations and other civilian areas. Such acts are war crimes and in some cases may constitute crimes against humanity, which are defined as serious crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population."cite web | url=http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/10/03/iraq11804.htm |title=Iraq: Insurgent Groups Responsible for War Crimes | publisher=Human Rights News | date=2005-10-03 |