In March, a group of academics released their estimate of the costs of the Iraq war: 1.7 trillion dollars, with an additional 490 billion dollars in benefits owed to wounded veterans. Given that wounded veterans will need a lifetime of care, the estimated costs could rise to 6 trillion dollars over the next four decades. The academics also estimated that the war killed between 176,000 and 189,000 people, including thousands of American servicemen. The major beneficiary of all the blood and treasure lost by America in a futile effort to relieve Saddam Hussein of weapons he did not have is Iran, which has seen a hostile regime replaced by a friendly, Shiite-dominated regime.
Another cost was recently highlighted by the patriarch of the Chaldean Church, a Christian body that has been in Iraq since apostolic times. Patriarch Louis Raphael I told reporters that “we are a ruined church.” He noted that “1,400 years of Islam could not uproot us from our land and our churches, while the policies of the West [have] scattered us and distributed us all around the world.”
Before we went into Iraq, Chronicles predicted that American intervention would be calamitous for both for the United States and for Iraq's ancient Christian communities. And so it proved to be. It turns out that the "unpatriotic conservatives" were those who pushed us into this mess, not those with the foresight to oppose it.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.