PARIS – At least 116,000 Iraqi civilians and more than 4,800 coalition troops died in Iraq between the outbreak of war in 2003 and the U.S. withdrawal in 2011, researchers estimated Friday.
Its involvement in Iraq has so far cost the United States $810 billion and could eventually reach $3 trillion, they added.
The estimates come from two U.S. professors of public health, reporting in the British peer-reviewed journal The Lancet.
They base the figures on published studies in journals and on reports by government agencies, international organizations and the news media.
“We conclude that at least 116,903 Iraqi noncombatants and more than 4,800 coalition military personnel died over the eight-year course” of the war from 2003 to 2011, they said.
“Many Iraqi civilians were injured or became ill because of damage to the health-supporting infrastructure of the country, and about 5 million were displaced.
“More than 31,000 U.S. military personnel were injured and a substantial percentage of those deployed suffered posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other neuropsychological disorders and their concomitant psychosocial problems.”
Citing figures from the website costofwar.com, which looks at funding allocated by Congress, the study said that as of Jan. 15 this year, the Iraq war had cost the United States about $810 billion, “not including interest on debt.”
“The ultimate cost of the war to the USA could be $3 trillion,” it said. “Clearly, this money could have been spent instead on domestic and global programs to improve health. The diversion of human resources was also substantial, in Iraq, the USA, and other coalition countries.”
The paper was authored by Barry Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and Victor Sidel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
It appears in a package of investigations into the health consequences of the Iraq war, published by The Lancet to mark the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict.
In 2006, estimates by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, also published in The Lancet, said 655,000 people had died in the first 40 months of the conflict. That figure was widely contested.
In 2008, a study by the Iraqi government and World Health Organization said between 104,000 and 223,000 Iraqis had died violent deaths between March 2003 and June 2006.