This report attempts to look comprehensively at the human, economic, social, security, environmental, and human rights costs of this war and the ensuing occupation. An Iraq Task Force of the Institute for Policy Studies spent several months scouring sources as diverse as professional engineers, economists, non-profits with expertise in Iraq, the United Nations, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, and the most accurate journalistic accounts we could find.
The accounting of costs for the United States (Chapter 1) was the easiest to gather, although there are conflicting assessments on some aspects, such as the short- and long-term impacts of the war on the U.S. economy.
By contrast, in looking at the war’s consequences for Iraq (Chapter 2), even such basic facts as how many people have been killed since the fighting began are only partially available, and we try to help the reader by carefully explaining the sources and limitations of the data. Yet, as difficult as it is to get accurate statistics on a country in the midst of war and occupation, a good overall assessment has been possible.
The costs to the rest of the world (Chapter 3) was perhaps the most difficult to quantify, as some of the broader consequences are just now emerging. Yet, we think we offer some useful and provocative categories to begin to understand such longerterm costs.
It is our conviction that democracy is strengthened through informed debate. If this report helps stimulate broader debate and discourse in this country and around the world about the costs and legitimacy of the war and occupation in Iraq, then we
will consider this report a success.