After referring to Iraq as one of America’s costliest wars, observers of the decade-plus long engagement can now put some hard numbers on their critiques. The Congressional Research Service recently released the most detailed and accurate numbers yet on total U.S. spending in Iraq. The report came just weeks before Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham captured Mosul and other key cities. President Obama said on Friday that he will not deploy ground troops in Iraq but the data likely provides war critics fresh ammunition to question what the spending accomplished.
The report puts total projected U.S. spending in Iraq from 2003 to 2014 at $57,184,400,000. Here’s a year-by-year breakdown:
The Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund and the Pentagon each received more than $20 to bolster the Iraqi Army and Iraqi security forces. Here’s the agency breakdown of total spending:
Obama essentially acknowledged on Friday that the money was not well spent. Iraq’s security forces "have proven unable to defend a number of cities, which has allowed the terrorists to overrun a part of Iraq’s territory, and this poses a danger to Iraq and its people," he said. According to some reports, Iraq’s 800,000-strong security force put up little fight against ISIS. Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of U.S. spending on those forces:
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |