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Letter: The Costs of the Iraq War

To the Editor:

This week marks 10 years since we sent our service members to invade Iraq. There were 4,488 U.S. service members who were killed in Iraq. An estimated 134,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by direct warfare — and almost 190,000 when including those who died from illness caused by war-degraded conditions, according to a recent Brown University study on the costs of war.

Veterans face average wait times of nine months to get disability claims processed because there currently is a backlog of about 900,000 cases. The VA recently increased its estimated rate of veteran suicide from 18 to 22 per day.

A 2010 health study of Fallujah, Iraq, reveals the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied. Residents have high rates of cancer, birth defects and sterility from U.S. bombs that used depleted uranium and white phosphorus.

According to a study by Brown University, the Iraq war will cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.

It is not too late to hold our government accountable by demanding better care for our veterans and environmental cleanup in Iraqi.

And let’s get out of Afghanistan.

Elizabeth Jane Whittington