Question of the Day: What grade do you give President Obama, as hawk or dove?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 04/11/2010 - 06:15.

Dispositions of U.S. and allied forces in Iraq, as reported in a Pentagon press briefing of April 30, 2004. Original URL:

I was trying to estimate the number of US troops overseas, right now, and came across an interesting list of facts about the war in Iraq, compiled by a Guide on, a New York Times Company. I'm pleased to see US Monthly spending in Iraq has declined from $12 billion to $7.3 billion, from 2008 to 2009... although the world-at-war is escalating military actions in Afghanistan. Ultimately, have we scaled-back the world-at-war machine globally, since Obama took office in January, 2009?

About six years ago, America had over 138,000 troops deployed in Iraq, along with about 25,000 other nations' troops - it is estimated about 200,000 multinational forces were deployed in Iraq, at any one time, and the maximum US troop deployment was approximately 172,000. As of March, 2010, the US is alone in Iraq and our troop deployment there is about 97,000, and that level is expected to drop below 50,000 this Summer, according to Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So, as of July, we expect US troops in Iraq to have dropped by over 120,000, and monthly spending to have been reduced more than 50%, since peaks.

Afghanistan 2010 is a whole other matter, as war is being escalated there. According to AFP:

There are 126,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, with the number set to peak at 150,000 by August as the anti-Taliban operations expand from Helmand into neighbouring Kandahar province, heartland of the insurgency.

A US military official said in Washington that NATO forces will begin the offensive on Kandahar in June.

Obama has said he wants to start drawing down troops from the middle of next year, putting pressure on the Afghan government to take over responsibility for its own security by then.

When you add the direct expense of the war in Afghanistan to the near $ trillion the US alone has spent in Iraq, as of 2010, as well as the costs of the war at home in America, and to the citizens of these war-torn nations, from war, relocation, rebuilding and lost potential, you see $ trillions sucked from good global economic potentials to death. The global economy may not have any real potential to serve the people of the world well, under these pathetic circumstances.

Hard to find any winners in that.

Have things gotten better since Obama took office - has war-mongering declined, as originating from America and worldwide? The evidence is not conclusive, and the interim pain is no less, but the trends and vision indicate yes, Obama is reducing our short term war harms, burdens and costs worldwide, and at home... but certainly not as radically as many people have hoped and expected.

Only time will tell how well Obama's and the other world leaders' military strategy of the day will work... today the horizon looks better than before Obama took office, on the Iraq front, but worse in Afghanistan.

All of the world's people suffer unnecessarily in the mean time.

Here is one interesting set of perspectives on the war in Iraq from, as an interim report card for our President...

Question of the Day: What grade do you give President Obama, as hawk or dove? :

Iraq War Facts, Results & Statistics at March 10, 2010

4,386 US Soldiers Killed, 31,716 Seriously Wounded

By , Guide

Mar 24 2010

For your quick reading, I've listed key statistics about the Iraq War, taken primarily from data analyzed by various think tanks, including The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, and from mainstream media sources. Data is presented as of March 10, 2010, except as indicated.


Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $900 billion of US taxpayers' funds spent or approved for spending through Sept 2010.

U.S. 2009 Monthly Spending in Iraq - $7.3 billion as of Oct 2009

U.S. 2008 Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion

U.S. Spending per Second - $5,000 in 2008 (per Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on May 5, 2008)

Cost of deploying one U.S. soldier for one year in Iraq - $390,000 (Congressional Research Service)

Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors. Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles.

Missing - $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces. (Per CBS News on Dec 6, 2007.)

Mismanaged & Wasted in Iraq - $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings

Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion

Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items - $20 billion

Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem "questionable or supportable" - $3.2 billion

Number of major U.S. bases in Iraq - 75 (The Nation/New York Times)


Troops in Iraq - Total 98,000 U.S. troops as of February 28, 2010. All other nations have withdrawn their troops.

U.S. Troop Casualties - 4,386 US troops; 98% male. 91% non-officers; 82% active duty, 11% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 9% African-American, 11% Latino. 19% killed by non-hostile causes. 54% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 72% were from the US Army

Non-U.S. Troop Casualties - Total 316, with 179 from the UK

US Troops Wounded - 31,716, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries. (Total excludes psychological injuries.)

US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems - 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home

US Military Helicopters Downed in Iraq - 74 total, at least 36 by enemy fire


Private Contractors in Iraq, Working in Support of US Army Troops - More than 180,000 in August 2007, per The Nation/LA Times.

Journalists killed - 140, 93 by murder and 47 by acts of war

Journalists killed by US Forces - 14

Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed - 9,411

Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated - A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated - 55,000

Non-Iraqi Contractors and Civilian Workers Killed - 569

Non-Iraqi Kidnapped - 306, including 57 killed, 147 released, 4 escaped, 6 rescued and 89 status unknown.

Daily Insurgent Attacks, Feb 2004 - 14

Daily Insurgent Attacks, July 2005 - 70

Daily Insurgent Attacks, May 2007 - 163

Estimated Insurgency Strength, Nov 2003 - 15,000

Estimated Insurgency Strength, Oct 2006 - 20,000 - 30,000

Estimated Insurgency Strength, June 2007 - 70,000


Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 - 2,255,000

Iraqi Refugees in Syria & Jordan - 2.1 million to 2.25 million

Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect

Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 - 50%

Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 28% in June 2007 (Per, July 30, 2007)

Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%

Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000

Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion - 12,000

Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 1 to 2 hours, per Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (Per Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2007)

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 10.9 in May 2007

Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 5.6 in May 2007

Pre-War Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 16 to 24

Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%

Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies - 70% (Per, July 30, 2007)

Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated - 22%

RESULTS OF POLL Taken in Iraq in August 2005 by the British Ministry of Defense (Source: Brookings Institute)

Iraqis "strongly opposed to presence of coalition troops - 82%

Iraqis who believe Coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security - less than 1%

Iraqis who feel less ecure because of the occupation - 67%

Iraqis who do not have confidence in multi-national forces - 72%

©2010, a part of The New York Times Company.

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