Stars and Stripes – Mideast edition, Saturday, November 25, 2006
On Sunday, war in Iraq will match length of U.S. involvement in World War II:
The war in Iraq will reach another milestone this weekend, when it equals the number of days the U.S. was involved in World War II. Sunday (November 26, 2006) will mark the Iraq war’s 1,347th day the same amount of time American troops fought in World War II. But from there, the similarities are largely over.
While the earlier war saw massive campaigns pitting hundreds of thousands of troops in direct combat, the Iraq war has largely been a guerrilla campaign, with U.S. troops rebuilding infrastructure; fostering elections and governments on both the local and national level; and weeding out insurgents from innocents.
According to historians, some 16 million Americans fought in World War II; more than 406,000 U.S. troops died.
By comparison, nearly 1.5 million Americans have now served in Iraq; more than 2,870 have died in the war.
The U.S. involvement in World War II began on Dec. 7, 1941, with the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945, the Japanese surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945.
The war in Iraq began in March 2003, and its end date will likely be confused by the fact that the enemy in Iraq is an amalgam of groups largely without a central figure.
In terms of dollars spent, Iraq is becoming one of the most expensive wars in American history. The Congressional Research Service estimates the costs of the war has exceeded $300 billion. The Korean War cost around $350 billion (in dollars adjusted for inflation), and Vietnam cost some $530 billion.
The costs of the war in Iraq are averaging around $8 billion a month, the CRS found.
Stars and Stripes is a daily newspaper published for the U.S. military, DoD civilians, contractors, and their families.
From the Financial Times:
Hidden costs wait to surface from Iraq war’s depths
“But the extended tours of duty imposed on volunteer part-timers in the National Guard and Reserves as well as regular units has ruptured military morale, according to Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, Mr Bush’s first secretary of state.
As a result the Pentagon has been forced to dilute recruitment standards, waiving academic requirements and lifting the age limit from 35 to 40. This is a war that is being fought by poor people while the rest of the country drives round in its SUVs barely noticing it is happening, said Mr Wilkerson, who served in Vietnam.
Mr Campbell, a former naval officer, describes Iraq as a war that is being “funded by debt on a national credit card that is being financed by China”. America’s public debt has risen by more than a third to over $8,000bn (€6,240bn, £4,215bn) since the start of the Bush administration. China’s foreign reserves, mostly held in US treasury bonds, are close to $1,000bn.”The Financial Times claims to be “arguably the world’s biggest name in business news, is synonymous with integrity, accuracy and authority.”