Los costos para el pueblo
norteamericano de este incremento de la inseguridad en EE.UU. y en el
mundo provocados por la “guerra antiterrorista”, que el gobierno Bush
desatara para garantizar la seguridad en EE.UU. y en el mundo, también se
analizan en el informe IPS/FPIF No
son pocos, empezando por el costo humano. Durante el período estudiado
–del 19-3-03, fecha del inicio de la invasión a Irak, al 26-604–, según
cifras oficiales murieron en combate 836 efectivos estadounidenses; 693,
el 82,9 por ciento, cayeron desde el 1º de mayo de 2003, día que W. eligió
para declarar la finalización de la guerra. El número de heridos llegó a
5134, de los cuales 4593, el 89,4 por ciento, recibieron sus lesiones a
partir de ese 1º de mayo. El 64 por ciento de los heridos no está en
condiciones todavía de volver al trabajo, muchos fueron amputados y otros
padecerán enfermedades aún no detectadas por el uso de armamento con
uranio empobrecido. Un informe del Pentágono de diciembre de 2003 registra
que casi el 30 por ciento de los soldados que estuvieron o están en Irak
sufren algún tipo de trastorno mental: más del 15, estrés traumático; 7,3,
ansiedad; 6,9, depresión. El sistema de asistencia médica, al que los
veteranos de guerra tienen derecho, es insuficiente –en personal y en
presupuesto– para remediar esos desastres. Desde el comienzo de la
invasión, unos 340.000 miembros de la reserva y de la Guardia Nacional
fueron llamados a filas –algunos sirven hasta 20 meses en Irak– y del 30
al 40 por ciento de esos efectivos cobra salarios bastante inferiores a
los que percibía en sus ocupaciones civiles. La Dirección de Socorro de
Emergencia del Pentágono dio a conocer que, en comparación con el año
2002, en el 2003 “se multiplicó varias veces” la cantidad de familias de
militares que piden estampillas para conseguir alimentos subsidiados. El
85 por ciento de los estadounidenses se declara afectado por el aumento de
los precios que causa el alza guerrera del petróleo, informó en mayo la
cadena CBS. Los fondos destinados a la guerra y a la ocupación de Irak en
un solo año –151,1 billones de dólares aprobados por el Congreso– y la
reducción de impuestos a los sectores pudientes se solventan con drásticos
recortes de programas sociales. Sólo con la primera suma –calculan IPS/FPIF–
se podría pagar el salario de unos tres millones de maestros de la escuela
primaria, o cubrir a 27 millones de estadounidense que no tienen seguro
médico, o atender la salud de 82 millones de niños. Otro capítulo de esta
historia, mucho más negro y duro, es el sufrimiento iraquí. Lo cual no
quita que la “guerra antiterrorista” del gobierno norteamericano también
aseste golpes terroristas al pueblo norteamericano
Las inseguridades de la seguridad Juan Gelman
El presidente W. Bush no se cansa de repetir que gracias a la invasión a
Irak y al derrocamiento de Saddam Hussein el mundo se ha vuelto un lugar
más seguro desde abril del 2003. No se entiende bien entonces por qué el
secretario de Seguridad Interior de EE.UU., Tom Ridge, advirtió el
miércoles 8 que aumenta el peligro de un nuevo atentado de Al-Qaida en
territorio norteamericano a medida que se acercan las elecciones de
noviembre. La cadena NBC informó que los servicios de inteligencia de
Canadá y de Pakistán lograron abortar en sus países sendos ataques contra
grandes concentraciones de público similares al que el 11 de marzo último
se llevó la vida de doscientos civiles en Madrid. Un informe reciente del
Instituto de Estudios Políticos de Washington (IPS por sus siglas en
inglés) y de la red internacional de politólogos y analistas Política
Exterior en la Mira (FPIF) con sede en Silver City, Idaho, indica que W.
insiste en insultar la inteligencia del mundo.
El informe documenta con base en fuentes de la CIA y del Departamento de
Estado que 390 personas fueron muertas y 1892 resultaron heridas en el
2003 por acciones terroristas perpetradas en diferentes puntos de globo.
Además, el número de ataques suicidas cometidos ese año fue de 98 –más de
uno cada cuatro días–, la cifra anual más alta de la historia
contemporánea. El IPS y la FPIF remiten a un análisis del Instituto
Internacional de Estudios Estratégicos de Londres: revela que Al-Qaida,
lejos de haberse desarticulado y/o extinguido, cuenta ahora con 18.000
activistas, mil de ellos en Irak, para no mencionar sus células esparcidas
en todo el reino saudí. Unas encuestas que se llevaron a cabo en ocho
países árabes y europeos muestran que la gran mayoría de los interrogados
no coincide con Bush: piensan que la invasión a Irak ha fomentado el
terrorismo internacional en vez de liquidarlo. En el seno mismo del
invasor, altos jefes militares retirados, como el general de marines
Anthony Zinni –ex jefe del comando central de las fuerzas armadas
yanquis–, señalan que el enarbolamiento de razones falsas para desatar la
guerra, el desdén propinado a aliados tradicionales y a la ONU, así como
el fracaso de la reconstrucción de Irak, han convertido a EE.UU. en un
país más inseguro. También al mundo. El último informe anual sobre
terrorismo internacional del Departamento de Estado reitera que en el 2003
se tocó el nivel más elevado de “incidentes significativos” relacionados
con el terrorismo desde que compila esos datos.
Informe en inglés
IPS / FPIF 0604
Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War
A Study by the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign
Policy In Focus
Full report with citations available at:
(I. Costs to the
United States / II. Costs
to Iraq / III. Costs to
I. Costs to the United States
A. Human Costs
U.S. Military Deaths:
Between the start of war on March 19, 2003 and June 16, 2004, 952
coalition forces were killed, including 836 U.S. military. Of the total,
693 were killed after President Bush declared the end of combat
operations on May 1, 2003. Over 5,134 U.S. troops have been wounded
since the war began, including 4,593 since May 1, 2003.
Estimates range from 50 to 90 civilian contractors, missionaries, and
civilian worker deaths. Of these, 36 were identified as Americans.
Journalist Deaths: Thirty
international media workers have been killed in Iraq, including 21 since
President Bush declared the end of combat operations. Eight of the dead
worked for U.S. companies.
B. Security Costs
Terrorist Recruitment and Action:
According to the London-based International Institute for
Strategic Studies, al Qaeda's membership is now at 18,000, with 1,000
active in Iraq. A former CIA analyst and State Department official has
documented 390 deaths and 1,892 injuries due to terrorist attacks in
2003. In addition, there were 98 suicide attacks around the world in
2003, more than any year in contemporary history.
Low U.S. Credibility:
Polls reveal that the war has damaged the U.S. government's standing and
credibility in the world. Surveys in eight European and Arab countries
demonstrated broad public agreement that the war has hurt, rather than
helped, the war on terrorism. At home, 54 percent of Americans polled by
the Annenberg Election Survey felt that "the situation in Iraq was not
worth going to war over."
Military Mistakes: A
number of former military officials have criticized the war, including
retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, former commander of the U.S.
Central Command, who has charged that by manufacturing a false rationale
for war, abandoning traditional allies, propping up and trusting Iraqi
exiles, and failing to plan for post-war Iraq, the Bush Administration
made the United States less secure.
Low Troop Morale and Lack of Equipment:
A March 2004 army survey found 52 percent of soldiers reporting low
morale, and three-fourths reporting they were poorly led by their
officers. Lack of equipment has been an ongoing problem. The Army did
not fully equip soldiers with bullet-proof vests until June 2004,
forcing many families to purchase them out of their own pockets.
Loss of First Responders:
National Guard troops make up almost one-third of the U.S. Army troops
now in Iraq. Their deployment puts a particularly heavy burden on their
home communities because many are "first responders," including police,
firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. For example, 44 percent
of the country's police forces have lost officers to Iraq. In some
states, the absence of so many Guard troops has raised concerns about
the ability to handle natural disasters.
Use of Private Contractors:
An estimated 20,000 private contractors are carrying out
work in Iraq traditionally done by the military, despite the fact that
they often lack sufficient training and are not accountable to the same
guidelines and reviews as military personnel.
C. Economic Costs
The Bill So Far: Congress
has already approved of $126.1 billion for Iraq and an additional $25
billion is heading towards Congressional approval, for a total of $151.1
billion through this year. Congressional leaders have promised an
additional supplemental appropriation after the election.
Long-term Impact on U.S. Economy:
Economist Doug Henwood has estimated that the war bill will add up to an
average of at least $3,415 for every U.S. household. Another economist,
James Galbraith of the University of Texas, predicts that while war
spending may boost the economy initially, over the long term it is
likely to bring a decade of economic troubles, including an expanded
trade deficit and high inflation.
Oil Prices: Gas prices
topped $2 a gallon in May 2004, a development that most analysts
attribute at least in part to the deteriorating situation in Iraq.
According to a mid-May CBS survey, 85 percent of Americans said they had
been affected measurably by higher gas prices. According to one estimate,
if crude oil prices stay around $40 a barrel for a year, U.S. gross
domestic product will decline by more than $50 billion.
Economic Impact on Military Families:
Since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 364,000 reserve
troops and National Guard soldiers have been called for military service,
serving tours of duty that often last 20 months. Studies show that
between 30 and 40 percent of reservists and National Guard members earn
a lower salary when they leave civilian employment for military
deployment. Army Emergency Relief has reported that requests from
military families for food stamps and subsidized meals increased "several
hundred percent" between 2002 and 2003.
D. Social Costs
U.S. Budget and Social Programs:
The Bush administration's combination of massive spending on the war and
tax cuts for the wealthy means less money for social spending. The
$151.1 billion expenditure for the war through this year could have paid
for: close to 23 million housing vouchers; health care for over 27
million uninsured Americans; salaries for nearly 3 million elementary
school teachers; 678,200 new fire engines; over 20 million Head Start
slots for children; or health care coverage for 82 million children.
Instead, the administration's FY 2005 budget request proposes deep cuts
in critical domestic programs and virtually freezes funding for domestic
discretionary programs other than homeland security. Federal spending
cuts will deepen the budget crises for local and state governments,
which are expected to suffer a $6 billion shortfall in 2005.
Social Costs to the Military:
Thus far, the Army has extended the tours of duty of 20,000 soldiers.
These extensions have been particularly difficult for reservists, many
of whom never expected to face such long separations from their jobs and
families. According to military policy, reservists are not supposed to
be on assignment for more than 12 months every 5-6 years. To date, the
average tour of duty for all soldiers in Iraq has been 320 days. A
recent Army survey revealed that more than half of soldiers said they
would not re-enlist.
Costs to Veteran Health Care:
About 64 percent of the more than 5,000 U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq
received wounds that prevented them from returning to duty. One trend
has been an increase in amputees, the result of improved body armor that
protects vital organs but not extremities. As in previous wars, many
soldiers are likely to have received ailments that will not be detected
for years to come. The Veterans Administration healthcare system is not
prepared for the swelling number of claims. In May, the House of
Representatives approved funding for FY 2005 that is $2.6 billion less
than needed, according to veterans' groups.
Mental Health Costs: A
December 2003 Army report was sharply critical of the military's
handling of mental health issues. It found that more than 15 percent of
soldiers in Iraq screened positive for traumatic stress, 7.3 percent for
anxiety, and 6.9 percent for depression. The suicide rate among soldiers
increased from an eight-year average of 11.9 per 100,000 to 15.6 per
100,000 in 2003. Almost half of soldiers surveyed reported not knowing
how to obtain mental health services.
II. Costs to Iraq
A. Human Costs
Iraqi Deaths and Injuries:
As of June 16, 2004, between 9,436 and 11,317 Iraqi civilians have been
killed as a result of the U.S. invasion and ensuing occupation, while an
estimated 40,000 Iraqis have been injured. During "major combat"
operations, between 4,895 and 6,370 Iraqi soldiers and insurgents were
Effects of Depleted Uranium:
The health impacts of the use of depleted uranium weaponry in Iraq are
yet to be known. The Pentagon estimates that U.S. and British forces
used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of weaponry made from the toxic and radioactive
metal during the March 2003 bombing campaign. Many scientists blame the
far smaller amount of DU weapons used in the Persian Gulf War for
illnesses among U.S. soldiers, as well as a sevenfold increase in child
birth defects in Basra in Southern Iraq.
B. Security Costs
Rise in Crime: Murder,
rape, and kidnapping have skyrocketed since March 2003, forcing Iraqi
children to stay home from school and women to stay off the streets at
night. Violent deaths rose from an average of 14 per month in 2002 to
357 per month in 2003.
Living under occupation without the most basic security has devastated
the Iraqi population. A poll by the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority
in May 2004 found that 80 percent of Iraqis say they have "no confidence"
in either the U.S. civilian authorities or in the coalition forces, and
55 percent would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign troops left the
C. The Economic Costs
joblessness doubled from 30 percent before the war to 60 percent in the
summer of 2003. While the Bush administration now claims that
unemployment has dropped, only 1 percent of Iraq's workforce of 7
million is involved in reconstruction projects.
Corporate War Profiteering:
Most of Iraq's reconstruction has been contracted out to U.S. companies,
rather than experienced Iraqi firms. Top contractor Halliburton is being
investigated for charging $160 million for meals that were never served
to troops and $61 million in cost overruns on fuel deliveries.
Halliburton employees also took $6 million in kickbacks from
subcontractors, while other employees have reported extensive waste,
including the abandonment of $85,000 trucks because they had flat tires.
Iraq's Oil Economy: Anti-occupation
violence has prevented Iraq from capitalizing on its oil assets. There
have been an estimated 130 attacks on Iraq's oil infrastructure. In
2003, Iraq's oil production dropped to 1.33 million barrels per day,
down from 2.04 million in 2002.
After more than a decade of crippling sanctions, Iraq's health
facilities were further damaged during the war and post-invasion looting.
Iraq's hospitals continue to suffer from lack of supplies and an
overwhelming number of patients.
estimates that more than 200 schools were destroyed in the conflict and
thousands more were looted in the chaos following the fall of Saddam
Hussein. Largely because of security concerns, school attendance in
April 2004 was well below pre-war levels.
Environment: The U.S-led
attack damaged water and sewage systems and the country's fragile desert
ecosystem. It also resulted in oil well fires that spewed smoke across
the country and left unexposed ordnance that continues to endanger the
Iraqi people and environment. Mines and unexploded ordnance cause an
estimated 20 casualties per month.
Human Rights Costs: Even
with Saddam Hussein overthrown, Iraqis continue to face human rights
violations from occupying forces. In addition to the widely publicized
humiliation and abuse of prisoners, the U.S. military is investigating
the deaths of 34 detainees as a result of interrogation techniques.
Despite the proclaimed "transfer of sovereignty" to Iraq, the country
will continue to be occupied by U.S. and coalition troops and have
severely limited political and economic independence. The interim
government will not have the authority to reverse the nearly 100 orders
by CPA head Paul Bremer that, among other things, allow for the
privatization of Iraq's state-owned enterprises and prohibit preferences
for domestic firms in reconstruction.
III. Costs to the World
Human Costs: While
Americans make up the vast majority of military and contractor personnel
in Iraq, other U.S.-allied "coalition" troops have suffered 116 war
casualties in Iraq. In addition, the focus on Iraq has diverted
international resources and attention away from humanitarian crises such
as in Sudan.
International Law: The
unilateral U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq violated the United
Nations Charter, setting a dangerous precedent for other countries to
seize any opportunity to respond militarily to claimed threats, whether
real or contrived, that must be "pre-empted." The U.S. military has also
violated the Geneva Convention, making it more likely that in the future,
other nations will ignore these protections in their treatment of
civilian populations and detainees.
The United Nations: At
every turn, the Bush administration has attacked the legitimacy and
credibility of the UN, undermining the institution's capacity to act in
the future as the centerpiece of global disarmament and conflict
resolution. The recent efforts of the Bush administration to gain UN
acceptance of an Iraqi government that was not elected but rather
installed by occupying forces undermines the entire notion of national
sovereignty as the basis for the UN Charter.
Coalitions: Faced with
opposition in the UN Security Council, the U.S. government attempted to
create the illusion of multilateral support for the war by pressuring
other governments to join a so-called "Coalition of the Willing." This
not only circumvented UN authority, but also undermined democracy in
many coalition countries, where public opposition to the war was as high
as 90 percent.
Global Economy: The
$151.1 billion spent by the U.S. government on the war could have cut
world hunger in half and covered HIV/AIDS medicine, childhood
immunization and clean water and sanitation needs of the developing
world for more than two years. As a factor in the oil price hike, the
war has created concerns of a return to the "stagflation" of the 1970s.
Already, the world's major airlines are expecting an increase in costs
of $1 billion or more per month.
Global Security: The U.S.-led
war and occupation have galvanized international terrorist organizations,
placing people not only in Iraq but around the world at greater risk of
attack. The State Department's annual report on international terrorism
reported that in 2003 there was the highest level of terror-related
incidents deemed "significant" than at any time since the U.S. began
issuing these figures.
Global Environment: U.S.-fired
depleted uranium weapons have contributed to pollution of Iraq's land
and water, with inevitable spillover effects in other countries. The
heavily polluted Tigris River, for example, flows through Iraq, Iran and
Human Rights: The Justice
Department memo assuring the White House that torture was legal stands
in stark violation of the International Convention Against Torture (of
which the United States is a signatory). This, combined with the widely
publicized mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. intelligence
officials, gave new license for torture and mistreatment by governments
around the world