How Much Did The Iraq War Cost?


It is a well-known saying, “War does not determine who is right – only who is left”. War might have given various achievements and riches to the winning side, but has left the people with sadness and atrocities on both the sides. War doesn’t necessarily bring peace but brings the silence of gloom and misery. Not only thousands of soldiers die, but the loss to their family is beyond repair and any compensation. History is has witnessed the worst faces of man-slaughter. One such dreadful war was the Iraq War, which will be a shameful blot on the face of humanity for centuries. In this article, we will discuss How much did the Iraq War cost? Additionally, we shall discuss facts related to the Iraq War.



First of all, let me tell you that there has always been a dispute between the official figures released and the hidden expenditures estimated by some experts. It was stated by the officials that around 60 billion USD have been spent on the Iraq War. But economists Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz do not agree with the figures and have estimated the cost to have exceeded 3 trillion USD.

Now, let us see the cost distribution in different categories to know whether it was all worth or not.

Direct Costs:

The Iraq War that started in the year 2003 and lasted up to the year 2010 cost a fortune to the U.S. economy. There is a strong dispute after the State released the official figures. As per the reports submitted by the Brown University, titled as ‘Costs of War’, the expense crossed a whopping sum of 1.1 trillion USD. Direct spending by the Department of Defence alone incurred a cost of more than 757.8 billion USD. Moreover, the U.S. had to pay complementary costs like interest on the borrowed funds to finance the war for so many years.

Those figures are drastically more than the generalized estimates released just before the onset of the Iraq War. Most of the costs were estimated for a short term of involvement basis. For instance, on March 16, 2003 the Press interview with Dick Cheney, the then Vice President of the U.S. which was held less than a week prior to the Iraq War, host Tim Russert stated that “every analysis said this war itself would cost about $80 billion, recovery of Baghdad, perhaps of Iraq, about $10 billion per year. We should expect as American citizens that this would cost at least $100 billion for a two-year involvement.”

According to the research done by The Brooking’s Institute and reports of Costs of War Project, following is the estimated total loss of money and man-power:

  • The U.S. Treasury Department spent 1.7 trillion USD on the Iraq War during the period of 2003-2010.
  • 350,000 USD was the cost to deploy one member of the American military.
  • The amount spent per second on the war was 5,000 USD.
  • The war was continued with the help of borrowed war. So the interest that U.S. would have to pay till the year 2053 is estimated to be 7 trillion USD.
  • The war benefits that are to be paid to the veterans of the war cost 490 billion USD.
  • KBR, who was the contractor to supply equipment and services, was paid a sum of 20 billion USD. Moreover, the auditors of Pentagon stated this sum to be just 3 billion USD, which is controversial.
  • The cost of reconstruction came to 60 billion USD. The work was unorganised and full of corruption though.
  • Before the start of the war, Iraq owed an amount of 4 billion USD to the U.S.
  • Each day, the military spent 1.6 million gallons of oil in the war. The cost of each gallon was 127.68 USD, on an average.
  • By 2008, the cost of the war each month was an average of 12 billion USD.
  • The annual cost of Air-conditioning alone was 20 billion USD.
  • 4,488 of the U.S. soldiers lost their lives in the war.
  • The direct death occurred due to the war were 189,000. The figure does not involve the number of people that died due to other hardships related to the war.
  • Excluding PTSD, 32,223 troops got injured in the war.
  • Even 134,000 civilians were killed directly.
  • 150 reporters were killed too.
  • 655,000 people were killed due to the invasion that could have lived if the invasion was avoided.
  • 8 million people are accounted to have either hidden in the country or have fled from Iraq.

Apart from loss of lives and money, the emotional distress and the damage to the mental peace of people in the U.S. as well as Iraq cannot be counted in terms of any unit. All that can be done is to provide help to the people who have been affected by the war and avoid such wars in future.

Well, let us also see how this horrific war started and what the important events that took place were.

  • The invasion of Iraq occurred between 19th March 2003 and 1st May 2003. Later on the conflict turned into Iraq War.
  • The U.S. named the war as Operation Iraqi Freedom, which was called Operation Enduring Freedom prior to the episode of invasion.
  • The invasion that lasted for 21 days was carried on by the combined military forces of United States, Poland, United Kingdom and Australia.
  • As a result of the invasion, Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist government was deposed. Also, the capital city of Baghdad was captured by the American forces.
  • Apart from the four main countries involved in the invasion, 36 other countries were also involved in the aftermath of the war in direct or indirect ways.
  • Moreover, the Kurdish irregulars living in Iraqi Kurdistan also supported the troops that had gathered in Kuwait.
  • The aim of U.S. President George. W. Bush and Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair was to take away the weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and to free the citizens of Iraq by ending the rule of Saddam Hussein and his terrorism supporting activities.
  • The governments of Germany, France and New Zealand strongly opposed the decision of the U.S. to invade Iraq, as there was actually no strong evidence available that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
  • Even many of the U.S. citizens stated in their poles that the invasion and war will increase the incidences if terrorism and hatred towards the U.S.
  • The Guinness Book of World Records has noted a record of a rally of 3 million people in war, in opposition to the Iraq War, 15th February 2003. It is noted to be the largest anti-war protest rally till date.
  • Between 3rd January and 12th April 2003, 3,000 protests were held worldwide, in which approximately 36 million people took part.
  • Before the invasion, on 19th March 2003, an air strike was made on the President’s palace in Baghdad.
  • As a result of the invasion, Saddam Hussein and other central leaders went into hiding. Later on, he was captured and punished.

Legality of the invasion:

The invasion was decided on the basis of speculation that Saddam Hussein’s government had developed biological and nuclear weapons and also supported Al-Qaeda, a terrorist organisation. After an investigation, it was found that the speculation had no base. Also, it was alleged that the Bush Government had manipulated the facts and evidence to showcase links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.

The war which lasted for almost 8 years might have solved issues like the terror of Saddam Hussein and the conspiracy to harm the U.S. by Al-Qaeda. But the amount of grief and turmoil caused by the war can never be underrated. The world has enough of pain and sorrow. So after learning on – “How much did the Iraq War cost?” let us strive towards the world that is free from rivalry and war between nations.