31 May 201031 May 2010 Main Posts The price tag for the forever war Jeff Sparrow At the Emerging Writers’ Festival on Sunday, I mentioned that the US had spent 900 billion dollars on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As it happens, my information was out of date. Actually, the bill now stands at a round trillion dollars. Yep. A trillion. That’s a one and then twelve zeroes. To put that in perspective, the cost of ending world hunger comes in at approximately $30 billion per year. In other words, for the money already spent, the US could have wiped out starvation across the planet for the next thirty-three years. What did the money go on instead? Well, here’s Wiki’s tabulation of the various casualty estimates from Iraq. Source Iraqi casualties March 2003 to … Iraq Family Health Survey 151,000 violent deaths. June 2006 Lancet survey 601,027 violent deaths out of 654,965 excess deaths. June 2006 Opinion Research Business survey 1,033,000 violent deaths from the conflict. August 2007 Associated Press 110,600 violent deaths April 2009 Iraq Body Count 94,902 – 103,549 violent civilian deaths from the conflict. December 2009 You can add to that that the numberless injured and the millions of Iraqis now living as refugees (there’s at least 1.5 million people displaced within the country, let alone those outside). And that’s even before we start talking about Afghanistan. To put it bluntly, a staggering sum of money – an amount capable of solving any number of the planet’s most intractable problems, from climate change to housing shortages – went instead to spreading misery and destruction. It’s something to bear in mind next time you hear a conservative boasting about responsible economic management. Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 24 February 202317 March 2023 Main Posts Final Results of the 2022 Judith Wright Poetry Prize Editorial Team Overland, the judges and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are thrilled to announce the final results of the 2022 Judith Wright Poetry Prize. First published in Overland Issue 228 24 February 202317 March 2023 Main Posts Final Results of the 2022 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize Editorial Team Overland, the judges and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are thrilled to announce the final results of the 2022 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize.