Friday, 1 May 2009

The CO$T of removing a dictator

179. It seems like a small figure given that we have been involved in a war for 6 years, though I don’t suppose it will seem like a small figure to the families and friends of those young men and women who gave their lives for their country.

By comparison, the Americans who clearly saw far more ‘action’ did not fare nearly so well and given that they are going to be hanging around in the 50 degree heat for a while longer there are sure to be more grieving American families until their final bugle call. 4000 US deaths and 60,000 injured to date (‘injured’ obviously includes the countless amputees). Total cost to the US tax payer? $3 Trillion(US). Even at one per second it would take over 100,000 years to even think of a trillion better ways to spend that money, but I don’t doubt that there are.

And for what? We are told it was to topple Saddam (how the goalposts changed as those elusive WMDs failed to materialise). A murderous dictator was indeed removed – but is this how much it costs to remove a dictator these days? No wonder another ‘coalition of the willing’ hasn’t been formed to topple all the remaining tyrants that continue to terrorise their populations.

Nearly 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, not to mention their wounded, and the collapsed infrastructure of bombed-out and bullet riddled towns and cities. We must measure the cost of this war in their human suffering as well, not just our own. It’s enough to make Iraqis positively nostalgic about life under Saddam.

But surely the British legacy in Iraq can’t be all bad? Well from what I saw of the BBC coverage last night pretty much the only thing we left behind in our patch in the south was 'lakes of sewage'. I wonder what new monsters will emerge from that fetid swamp.

The only thing to be happy about is that at least our soldiers are out of there. May their lives never be thrown away so carelessly again.


  1. "And for what? We are told it was to topple Saddam (how the goalposts changed as those elusive WMDs failed to materialise)."

    The main goal was always to replace Saddam, WMD's were a smoke screen. As far as the coalition concerned their goals have been achieved.

    Saddam toppled (check)
    Pro-west goverment forced into power (check)
    Limited casualties compared to other campaigns (check)
    Oil deals secured (check)

    In the Blair/Bush book it's been a great success.

  2. Hopefully the rest of humanity gauge success and disaster according to different criteria.

  3. ...and perhaps (I should have said) more importantly (because us ordinary folk do not direct world affairs) the new US President and the (soon to be) new UK Prime Minister will gauge things differently too. But then my tendency towards idealism (and optimism)has not diminished with age.