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    0 WMDs Found In Iraq And Other Things You Won't Believe Your Tax Dollars Supported!

    #BuzzfeedRetrospective into the '00s we wish we could forget.

    1. At Least Half a Million Iraqis have Been Killed Since the 2003 Invasion

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    Since 2004, there have been a number of studies (seriously, click that link even if it's just going to be summarized for you here) that have provided estimates on the number of Iraqis who have been killed during the ten year war. In October 2004, the Lancet published findings from household surveys conducted by local Iraqi medical personnel and the John Hopkins School of Public Health. it was estimated that within the first eighteen months of the war, there had been "excess deaths" of 98,000.

    In a 2006 survey by John Hopkins, published in the Lancet, it was found that the total number of dead Iraqis - fighters and civilians - was at 650,000. The Iraqi Ministry of Health also conducted a survey at the same time as JH (using the same method of house-hold surveys) found excess deaths of 400,000. Of these near half-million deaths, 151,000 were by the violence. According to the report, "[overall] mortality from nonviolent causes was about 60% higher in the post-invasion period than in the pre-invasion period. "

    That was from 2002-2006.

    The most recent study was published in October 2013. A collaborative effort between John Hopkins, Simon Fraser, Washington and Mustansiriya universities, the survey explores the numbers from 2003 to 2011 and suggests that the 'excess deaths' in the Iraq war can be estimated at 461,000.

    From the report's Abstract's conclusion (emphasis added):

    "Beyond expected rates, most mortality increases in Iraq can be attributed to direct violence, but about a third are attributable to indirect causes (such as from failures of health, sanitation, transportation, communication, and other systems). Approximately a half million deaths in Iraq could be attributable to the war."

    2. Over 3 Million Displaced in One Way or Another

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    According to the UNHCR, the number of Iraqi refugees, IDPs, asylum seekers, returned refugees, returned IDPs, and stateless persons in Iraq is just over 1.3 million. The number of Iraqi refugees, IDPs, asylum seekers, stateless persons, returned IDPs, returned refugees and asylum seekers who 'originate from Iraq' is just under 1.5 million.

    The surge of Syrian refugees into Iraq has also developed further strains on already weak and disturbed infrastructure and institutions.

    UNHCR:

    "Iraq is not only receiving large numbers of Syrian refugees, but is also seeing the return of many Iraqi refugees, particularly from Syria. Often these returnees cannot go back to their places of origin, leading to new secondary displacement inside Iraq.
    ...

    With the growing number of Syrian refugees putting additional strains on local infrastructure and essential services, which were already significantly weakened by the years of war and instability, access to basic services for the Iraqi population itself remains problematic....
    "

    3. The Rise of Sectarian Violence

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    Despite the sectarianism that was a part of Saddam Hussein's Baathist rule, the relationships between Sunni and Shia (and the ethnic group Kurds) saw a significant and violent breakdown following the 2003 invasion. The breakdown of the relationships and division of Iraqis into strict ethnic and sectarian enclaves was part of a concerted strategy led by General Petraeus who employed the classic 'divide and rule'. The 'strategy', however, has left Iraq in a state of bloody sectarian strife, hindering on a civil war, and mitigated an environment allowing Al Qaeda to gain significant footing and support in Iraq amongst many Sunni-majority areas.

    It was recently revealed that the Pentagon assisted in the creation of sectarian detention and torture centers, used to get information from primarily Sunni Iraqi insurgents.

    The UN estimates that 2013 was the 'deadliest' year in five years -since 2008- for Iraq, with almost 9,000 killed in sectarian violence.

    4. Iraqi Women Don't Have it Better. In fact, They Have it Worse

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    Despite the usual rah-rah-sis-boom-bah chant of 'saving Muslim women' and all that freedom love, Iraqi women are not exactly joyously parading their love for democracy-by-force. Independent journalist Rania Khalek outlines the severe setbacks faced by Iraqi women as a result of the war in a piece written for the MENA blog, Muftah.

    She writes (emphasis added):

    "The loss of husbands and fathers over the last decade has left 2 million Iraqi women widowed. Furthermore, estimates put the number of orphaned Iraqi children at 5 million, most of whom are growing up without an education. As a result, says OWFI, there are now “more than 3 million women and girls with no source of income or protection, thereby turning them into a helpless population” and making them vulnerable to “trafficking, sexual exploitation, polygamy, and religious pleasure marriages.”

    Khalek continues (emphasis added):

    "Human Rights Watch (HRW) declared in a 2011 report that “life in Iraq is actually getting worse for women” and accused the U.S.-backed Iraqi government of “violating with impunity the rights of Iraq’s most vulnerable citizens, especially women and detainees.”

    According to HRW’s 2013 Iraq Report, the torture and rape of women detainees in pre-trial detention has continued with impunity under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, but the United States is partly responsible. “The failure of the US and UK to hold their troops accountable for abuses in detention and extra judicial killings during their presence in the country seems to have paved the way for the current government to make excuses for abuses, failure of law and order, and lack of accountability,” argues HRW.
    "

    5. The War in Iraq has Cost You More than $2 trillion

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    Nothing really compares to the human cost of war. But when your (just ONE of the declared two!) war costs hit over $2 trillion, estimated to rise to $6 trillion over the next four decades - it's a pretty shitty fiscal situation to be in.

    The Bush administration had estimated the war to cost only $50-$60 billion.

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