Money Down the Drain: CRS Report Details U.S. Expenses on Iraq

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 ...

SAFIN HAMED/AFP PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
SAFIN HAMED/AFP PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
SAFIN HAMED/AFP PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

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:

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:

 

 

More from Foreign Policy

Soldiers of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflage an armoured vehicle during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17.
Soldiers of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflage an armoured vehicle during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17.

What Are Sweden and Finland Thinking?

European leaders have reassessed Russia’s intentions and are balancing against the threat that Putin poses to the territorial status quo. 

Ukrainian infantry take part in a training exercise with tanks near Dnipropetrovsk oblast, Ukraine, less than 50 miles from the front lines, on May 9.
Ukrainian infantry take part in a training exercise with tanks near Dnipropetrovsk oblast, Ukraine, less than 50 miles from the front lines, on May 9.

The Window To Expel Russia From Ukraine Is Now

Russia is digging in across the southeast.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken participate in a virtual summit with the leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries at the White House in Washington on March 12.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken participate in a virtual summit with the leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries at the White House in Washington on March 12.

Why China Is Paranoid About the Quad

Beijing has long lived with U.S. alliances in Asia, but a realigned India would change the game.

Members of the National Defence Training Association of Finland attend a training.
Members of the National Defence Training Association of Finland attend a training.

Finns Show Up for Conscription. Russians Dodge It.

Two seemingly similar systems produce very different militaries.