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Cost of Iraq War: More than $2.2 trillion

PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 19 (UPI) — The Iraq War killed 190,000 people, 70 percent civilians and 4,488 U.S. service members and will cost the U.S. taxpayer $2.2 trillion, U.S. researchers say.

Catherine Lutz, a professor at Brown University, and Neta C. Crawford, a professor of Boston University, co-directors of the Watson Institute for International Studies, said the Costs of War project involved 30 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, political scientists from 15 universities, U.N. staff and members of other organizations.

The report found 134,000 civilians died of direct war violence in Iraq. This number does not account for indirect deaths due to increased vulnerability to disease or injury as a result of war-degraded conditions. That number is estimated to be several times higher, the researchers said. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors died in Iraq as well, the report said.

Iraq’s healthcare infrastructure was devastated from sanctions before and during the war. More than half of Iraq’s doctors left the country during the 2000s, and tens of thousands of Iraqi patients are forced to seek healthcare outside the country, the report said.

The $60 billion spent on reconstruction in Iraq went for military and police — not infrastructure such as roads, healthcare and water treatment systems. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found massive fraud, waste and abuse of reconstruction funds, the report said.

Because the Iraq War appropriations were funded not by cutting U.S. expenses but from borrowing, the cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion, the report said.

The findings are published online at www.costsofwar.org.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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