The War on Terror: Afghanistan and Iraq
The War on Terror: Afghanistan and Iraq
U.S. WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
A COALITION OF THE WILLING
AFGHANISTAN: POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITION
AFGHANISTAN: THE AMERICAN TOLL AND PUBLIC OPINION
WAR IN IRAQ
INSURGENCY AND SECTARIAN VIOLENCE
U.S. INTELLIGENCE—“DEAD WRONG”
IRAQ: THE AMERICAN TOLL AND PUBLIC OPINION
The United States’ immediate response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), was to invade Afghanistan. The goal was twofold: capture or kill Osama bin Laden (1957–; the mastermind of the attacks) and the other members of the al Qaeda terrorist organization and drive the Taliban government from power for harboring and supporting al Qaeda. The invasion was a resounding military success. The repressive Taliban was defeated and replaced by a more liberal, U.S.-friendly regime. Major terrorist training camps were destroyed and many members of al Qaeda were captured or forced to flee. The victory was not complete, however, because bin Laden was neither captured nor killed. Instead, he escaped and, as of September 2008, continued to motivate terrorist violence against the United States. Furthermore, the Taliban and its supporters have remained in Afghanistan and wage a surprisingly strong insurgency (resistance) against the occupying forces.
In 2003 the United States opened a new front in the War on Terror by invading Iraq. The invasion was driven by claims from the U.S. intelligence community that Iraq had collaborated with al Qaeda and was amassing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). These claims would later prove to be false. The U.S. military operation in Iraq was at first successful. The longtime Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (1937–2006) was ousted from power, and a new, more democratic government was slowly installed. However, a fierce insurgency erupted, driven by Hussein supporters and militant elements opposed to the occupation. Over time, the violence widened into a bitter and deadly civil struggle between Iraqi factions divided by religious and political differences.
As of September 2008, U.S. troops still occupied Afghanistan and Iraq. With the increasing number of U.S. casualties, particularly in Iraq, the American public has become more dissatisfied about the course of the War on Terror.
Afghanistan is a landlocked country in south central Asia. Its largest neighbors are Pakistan to the east and south and Iran to the west. (See Figure 4.1.) Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan border Afghanistan to the north. Its capital is Kabul in the east central portion of the country. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) indicates in The World Factbook: Afghanistan (September 4, 2008, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html) that Afghanistan covers 647,500 square kilometers (250,000 square miles) and is slightly smaller than the state of Texas. The population was estimated at 32.7 million as of July 2008.
A Legacy of War
The history of Afghanistan revolves around an ancient group of people called the Pashtun. As described by the article “Peoples: Pashtun” (National Geographic, July 2005), the Pashtun have lived in this region for centuries and survived conquest by many invaders, including the Persians, Macedonians, Turks, and Mongols. They have earned a reputation as being fierce fighters. However, the Pashtun are also known for in-fighting and waging blood feuds among themselves. They are a group of tribes that together make up the largest surviving tribal society in the world. They adhere to an ancient strict code of conduct called pakhtunwalimale that specifies rules for all areas of society and everyday life. The Pashtun were known by the Persian term Afghan long before their land was called Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Islamic history dates back to the seventh century and is described by the Library of Congress (LOC) in A Country Study: Afghanistan (November 7, 2005, http://lcweb2locgov/frd/cs/aftochtml). In 637Muslims from the Arab empire invaded the region and maintained power for several centuries. The LOC notes that “from the seventh
In World Factbook, the CIA reports that the founding of modern Afghanistan occurred in 1747, when warring Pashtun tribes were united under one leader. At that time the British Empire ruled the land to the east (India and modern-day Pakistan) and the Russians controlled the “stans” to the north. British and Afghan rulers warred over control of Afghanistan until 1919, when the country won its independence. What followed was a series of monarchies culminating in a 1978 coup that installed a highly unpopular communist government. In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to prevent a brewing revolution and preserve communist rule. The Soviets waged a decade-long war but were driven out by well-armed rebels who called themselves the mujahideen (holy warriors).
Mujahideen and bin Laden
The mujahideen were young Muslims who came from around the world to fight against the Soviet forces as part of a jihad (holy war). In 1980 a wealthy young man named Osama bin Laden traveled from his home-land in Saudi Arabia to help the mujahideen. His role is described at length by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States in The 9/11 Commission Report (2004, http://www9-11commissiongov/report/911Reportpdf). Bin Laden’s specialty was raising money and recruiting volunteers, who came to be known as the Arab Afghans. He excelled at organizing fund-raising networks that included charities and wealthy donors throughout the world. These funds were used to buy arms and provide training for the Arab Afghans.
The United States, anxious to see its communist enemy defeated in Afghanistan, supported the mujahideen in its efforts. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that the United States and Saudi Arabia secretly supplied billions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment to the mujahideen through Pakistani military intelligence. However, there is no record of U.S. involvement with bin Laden or the Arab Afghans, who had their own funding sources. In 1988 the Soviets decided to withdraw from Afghanistan in the face of unrelenting resistance from the mujahideen. Bin Laden and his compatriots were reluctant to dismantle their well-funded and highly trained organization, so they decided to maintain it for future jihads. They began calling it al Qaeda, which means “the base” or “the foundation.” In 1989 many of al Qaeda’s operations were moved to Sudan at the invitation of that country’s leader. However, some training camps were maintained in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan to train young militant Muslims as jihadists.
The Taliban and bin Laden
The demise of the communist government in Afghanistan left a power vacuum. Rival mujahideen factions began fighting for control. In A Country Study: Afghanistan, the LOC describes these events and notes that during the Soviet occupation the mujahideen were often described in the Western press as “‘freedom fighters’—as if their goal were to establish a representative democracy in Afghanistan—in reality these groups each had agendas of their own that were often far from democratic.” Civil war racked the country until the mid-1990s, when a new political-military force—the Taliban—achieved power. The LOC points out that most members of the Taliban were Pashtun who attended or had recently graduated from religious schools called madrassas in southern Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, madrassas are privately funded religious schools that teach strict fundamentalist forms of Islam. The schools abounded in southern Pakistan, because the government could not afford to educate the many Afghan refugees who had fled there to escape the violence in their own country. The report notes that “these schools produced large numbers of half-educated young men with no marketable skills but with deeply held Islamic views.” Eventually, Pakistan became concerned about the presence of so many militant young
men within its borders, so it encouraged them to return to Afghanistan and restore order there.
By 1996 the Taliban had seized control over most of Afghanistan. In May of that year bin Laden moved the bulk of his al Qaeda organization from Sudan back to Afghanistan. By this time he had enlarged his focus from regional Islamic causes to what the 9/11 Commission Report calls “hatred of the United States.” This development traces back to the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. At that time bin Laden reportedly approached Saudi rulers and offered to organize a mujahideen force to drive out the Iraqis, but he was turned down. Saudi Arabia allied with the United States during the subsequent Persian Gulf War and allowed U.S. troops to deploy from Saudi soil. This decision infuriated Islamic fundamentalists, because they oppose the presence of nonbelievers in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Muhammad (c. 570–632). After criticizing Saudi leaders, bin Laden had his passport taken away. However, he managed to leave the country in 1991 and eventually turned up in Afghanistan, where he developed a close relationship with the Taliban leader Mohammed Omar (1958–).
Throughout the remainder of the decade bin Laden expanded his al Qaeda network with the blessing of the Afghan Taliban regime. In 1998 he publicly announced his intention to wage a jihad against the United States by issuing a fatwa (a religious declaration) that was published in an Arabic-language newspaper in England. As described in Chapter 3, al Qaeda operatives then carried out a series of attacks against U.S. interests, including the 1998 bombings at two U.S. embassies in Africa, the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, and 9/11.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, on the evening of the 9/11 attacks President George W. Bush (1946–) addressed the nation about the tragedy and warned, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” The United States quickly identified the 9/11 hijackers as al Qaeda operatives under the control of bin Laden and knew that it was Afghanistan that had harbored them.
U.S. View of the Taliban
Peter L. Bergen claims in Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (2001) that the U.S. government was optimistic about the Taliban when it first seized power in Afghanistan. Bergen writes, “The State Department, which relied heavily on the Pakistanis for information on Afghanistan, was willing to embrace any group that looked as if it might bring some degree of stability to the country.” Besides security concerns, the U.S. government had other priorities in Afghanistan, including a planned oil pipeline by a U.S. energy company and curbing Afghanistan’s enormous illegal drug trade. There was hope that the new Afghan regime could help in these areas. However, U.S. leaders quickly became disillusioned with the Taliban.
As Bergen notes, the Taliban imposed laws blending “ultrapurist” Islam with traditional Pashtun customs. The result was a society in which men were forbidden to shave or trim their beards. All forms of entertainment, such as listening to the radio or flying a kite, were outlawed. Women were forced to cover themselves with thick head-to-toe cloaks called burkas and were not allowed in public unless accompanied by a male relative. The vast majority of women were forbidden to work or obtain an education. Taliban laws were enforced by religious police who roamed the streets beating violators with sticks. Bergen includes a 1997 quote from the U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright (1937–) in which she said, “We are opposed to the Taliban because of their despicable treatment of women and children, and their general lack of respect for human dignity.” By this time the Afghan people had suffered from decades of war that had destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure; their economy was in shambles and food was in short supply.
As 2001 began the United States was well aware that the Taliban was harboring terrorists. In 1999 and 2000 the United Nations (UN) Security Council imposed economic sanctions on Afghanistan as punishment for its actions. In December 2000 the UN demanded that bin Laden be surrendered and that all terrorist training camps be closed within a month. The article “Taliban Reacts to Sanctions with Boycott of American, Russian Goods” (CNN.com, December 20, 2000) notes that the demands were spurred by the United States and Russia, who claimed that Afghanistan was a “haven of lawlessness.” The Taliban angrily refused to comply, insisting that there was no evidence against bin Laden and that the sanctions were motivated by anti-Islamic sentiment.
United States Invades Afghanistan
Within days after 9/11 the United States had decided to target Afghanistan. In an address to Congress on September 20, 2001, President Bush publicly blamed al Qaeda and bin Laden for the attacks and demanded that the Taliban hand over bin Laden and his top lieutenants or the United States would strike. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the demands had already been privately passed to the Taliban through the Pakistani government, which the United States had warned “would be at risk” unless it helped the United States against Afghanistan. Bush’s speech also noted, “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” As expected, Afghanistan refused to comply with U.S. demands.
By October 2001 a U.S. war plan had been compiled that was originally called Infinite Justice, but fears about offending religious sensibilities prompted a quick name change to Operation Enduring Freedom when U.S. officials learned that Muslims associate the term infinite justice with God’s power. The 9/11 Commission Report states that Operation Enduring Freedom had four phases:
- Phase One—deploy U.S. forces to Afghanistan’s neighbors in readiness for an invasion. This step was begun almost immediately and entailed the cooperation of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
- Phase Two—conduct air strikes on Afghan targets and pair U.S. Special Operations teams with Taliban opposition groups to conduct damaging raids on al Qaeda strongholds. Even before this time, the CIA had been collaborating with opposition groups in northern Afghanistan known collectively as the Northern Alliance. Phase two began on October 7, 2001, and proceeded quickly. By the end of the month the United States had achieved most of its objectives.
- Phase Three—launch a ground invasion of Afghanistan to “topple the Taliban regime and eliminate al Qaeda’s sanctuary.” By early December 2001 the coalition of U.S. and Northern Alliance forces had captured all major Afghan cities. However, bin Laden and Omar escaped.
- Phase Four—the United States called this phase “security and stability operations.” It began on December 22, 2001, when a new leader—Hamid Karzai (1957–; an Afghani Pashtun)—was installed as the head of the nation’s interim government. However, bringing security and stability to Afghanistan proved to be a daunting task.
In December 2001 Afghan opposition leaders met with UN officials at the Bonn Conference in Bonn, Germany, to work out a plan for establishing a new permanent government for Afghanistan. The Bonn Agreement established three priorities: security, reconstruction, and political stability. The UN called for a multinational military force to secure the area in and around Kabul (Afghanistan's capital). The result was the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) points out in “ISAF History” (September 2, 2008, http://www.nato.int/isaf/topics/history/index.html) that the “ISAF is not a UN force, but is a coalition of the willing deployed under the authority of the UN Security Council.” The countries contributing troops to the ISAF fund its operations.
In 2003 NATO assumed control of the ISAF and began expanding its area of responsibility beyond Kabul to the remainder of Afghanistan. ISAF expansion has included the formation of provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs). These are small teams including both military and civilian personnel who are stationed around the country to protect and support international aid agencies and reconstruction workers. In “Provincial Reconstruction Teams Reconnecting Afghanistan” (March 14, 2008,http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2008/March/20080313173952idybeekcm0.581402.html), the U.S. Department of State indicates that in March 2008 twenty-six PRTs were operating throughout Afghanistan, fourteen of them led by the United States. The PRTs assist the Afghan people through infrastructure, education, and economic development projects, such as building roads, hospitals, and schools and supplying agricultural supplies and aid.
In 2006 the ISAF relieved U.S. and allied troops and expanded its command to include the entire country. According to NATO, in “ISAF Regional Commands & PRT Locations” http://www.nato.int/ISAF/docu/epub/pdf/isaf_placemat.pdf), as of September 1, 2008, approximately 47,600 troops from forty nations were in the ISAF. Over 37% (17,790) of the troops were American. The countries with the next largest contingents were the United Kingdom (8,380), Germany (3,332), France (2,660), and Canada (2,500). Approximately 34,600 of the ISAF troops were in the southern and eastern regions of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan.
Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) explains in Afghanistan: Post-war Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy (September 2, 2008 http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL30588.pdf) that in September 2008 there were approximately 33,600 U.S. forces in Afghanistan including those in the ISAF and those conducting antiterrorism missions under Operation Enduring Freedom. Katzman notes that the United States has given more than $25 billion in aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban fell in late 2001.
The Taliban Resurges
In 2006 there was an upswing in militant violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the southern part of the country. In “Who Are the Militants in Afghanistan?” (BBC News, August 18, 2006), Pam O’Toole reports that the insurgents represent a multitude of factions, including former Taliban leaders, warlords, people engaged in the lucrative drug trade, new graduates of Pakistani madrassas, and an assortment of radical Islamic militants. O’Toole states that the situation is complicated by a “complex web of shifting allegiances, tribal, ethnic and local rivalries and feuds within Afghan society.”
According to the LOC, in Country Profile: Afghanistan (August 2008, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Afgha nistan.pdf), in 2008 Taliban fighters were crossing in and out of neighboring Pakistan to elude ISAF and U.S. forces. Figure 4.2 shows the western region of Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The
FATA is one of the poorest and most rugged regions of the country and has a separate legal structure that makes it difficult to control by the central Pakistani government. As a result, the FATA is believed to provide safe haven for Afghan Taliban fighters. The LOC estimates that in early 2008 the Taliban controlled an estimated 10% of Afghanistan, and the Afghan government controlled 30%. The remainder was controlled by various local tribes.
Following the U.S. invasion, Afghanistan began a series of democratic reforms. In “Karzai Wins Afghan Election” (Associated Press, November 4, 2004), Stephen Graham reports that in 2004 national presidential elections were held in which Karzai won 55% of the vote. His closest competitor captured just 16% of the vote. Even though the election itself was relatively violence-free, the country has struggled with internal problems, including battling warlords and drug traffickers. Karzai will serve a five-year term and has pledged to double the country’s income by 2009.
According to the LOC, in Country Profile: Afghanistan, Afghanistan has tried to rebuild its educational system with the help of international aid. Approximately ninety-five hundred schools were open around the country in 2008. However, Taliban forces frequently attack and destroy public schools. In 2007, 35% of public schools in the southern provinces had to be closed due to Taliban activity. The Taliban has reportedly opened its own Islamic fundamentalist schools in the territory it controls. In 2002 Kabul University reopened with approximately twenty-four thousand students enrolled, including females. By 2007 seven additional universities had opened. However, the total university enrollment dropped to 22,700 students.
Illiteracy among adults is a tremendous problem. The LOC estimates that in 2006 approximately 57% of men and 87% of women were illiterate. Decades of war have left the population impoverished with little access to health care and high rates of malnutrition. The LOC estimates that a quarter of the population has no access to health care at all. The mortality rates for Afghan infants, children, and women in childbirth are among the world’s highest. Lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation have allowed parasitic and infectious diseases to flourish. An estimated eight hundred thousand Afghans are disabled. Approximately one million Afghans were believed to be drug addicts in 2005. Health authorities worry that high rates of intravenous drug use combined with poor overall health and sanitation conditions make Afghans extremely susceptible to infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Thousands of people are believed to be infected with the disease.
The LOC notes that despite the influx of billions of dollars of aid since 2001, the Afghan government provides little welfare to its people. Wealth has become concentrated in a small elite portion of the population, and government corruption is a problem. The vast majority of people subside on less than $2 per day and are dependent on nongovernmental foreign aid organizations. The LOC warns that “widespread economic hardship” increasingly weakens support for the government among the Afghan people.
Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan has become a major producer of opium poppies, the source of heroin. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicates in 2008 Opium Winter Rapid Assessment Survey in Afghanistan (February 2008, http://www.unodc.org/documents/crop-monitoring/Afghan-winter-survey-Feb08-short.pdf) that the nation produces more than 90% of the
world’s illegal opium. Approximately 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) of opium poppies were grown in Afghanistan in 2007, nearly two-thirds of it in the southern provinces. This is the area most troubled by insurgent and Taliban activity. The UNODC reports that Afghan opium poppy farmers earn as much $5,000 per hectare (just over $2,000 per acre). Most pay an usher (tax) of 10% on their earnings to nongovernmental elements, such as Taliban fighters, who provide security for the farmers. Opium poppy farming is believed to be a source of major financial support for the Taliban.
In “Afghanistan’s Soaring Drug Trade Hits Home” (Christian Science Monitor, March 13, 2008), Anand Gopal states that Afghanistan produces approximately $4 billion worth of opium poppies per year, accounting for just over half of the nation’s total economic production. Aid agencies in the country report that drug abuse by Afghans is “the fastest-growing social problem in the country.”
Between October 7, 2001, and August 2, 2008, 561 U.S. military personnel died during Operation Enduring Freedom. (See Table 4.1.) Nearly two-thirds (354) of the deaths were because of hostilities (i.e., active combat). The remaining 207 deaths were classified as nonhostile. Most of the nonhostile deaths were because of accidents. (See Table 4.2.) Furthermore, 2,309 U.S. military personnel were wounded in battle during this period. An additional 1,845 suffered nonhostile injuries, and 5,192 came down with diseases or other medical conditions serious enough to require medical air transport.
Table 4.3 was compiled in June 2008 by the CRS. The table lists the money appropriated to Operation Enduring Freedom from fiscal year (FY) 2001 to FY 2009. Note that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and other federal agencies are appropriated money by Congress in two ways: through the regular annual budget process and through occasional supplemental appropriations known as bridge funds. According to the CRS, appropriations for the war in Afghanistan totaled $172.6 billion as of June 2008. This amount included all regular and supplemental appropriations that had been enacted and those that were pending, but expected to be approved. The vast majority of the money ($159.8 billion) was appropriated to the DOD. Another $12.4 billion went for related foreign aid and diplomatic operations. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had received approximately $400 million for its medical operations.
In September 2006 and July 2008 the Gallup Organization conducted polls to determine American attitudes about U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. (See Table 4.4.) The pollsters asked: “In general, how would you say things are going for the U.S. in Afghanistan—very well, moderately
|TABLE 4.1 U.S. military deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), by demographic characteristics, October 7, 2001–August 2, 2008|
|Note: Casualty areas include in/around Afghanistan, Republic of the Philippines, Southwest Asia and other locations.|
|SOURCE: Adapted from “Operation Enduring Freedom Military Deaths, October 7, 2001 through August 2, 2008,” in DoD Personnel and Military Casualty Statistics: Military Casualty Information, U.S. Department of Defense, August 2, 2008, http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/OEFDEATHS.pdf (accessed August 8, 2008)|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||8|
|Black or African American||46|
|Hispanic or Latino||48|
|Multiple races, pending, or unknown||2|
|Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||8|
well, moderately badly, or very badly?” The results indicate a nearly even split. In the 2008 poll 46% of those asked believed things were going well in Afghanistan (5% very well and 41% moderately well). Fifty-one percent of respondents thought things were going badly (33% moderately badly and 18% very badly). These percentages are similar to those recorded in the 2006 poll.
Despite the relative pessimism about how the war is proceeding, a majority of Americans believed sending military troops to Afghanistan is not a mistake. Figure 4.3 shows the results of Gallup polls on this issue dating back to late 2001. At that time and during January 2002 the vast majority of respondents (89% and 93%, respectively) said the United States had not made a mistake in sending
|TABLE 4.2 U.S. military casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), by demographic characteristics, October 7, 2001–August 2, 2008|
|a Includes died of wounds where wounding occurred in theater and death occurred elsewhere.|
|b Pending means final category to be determined at a later date.|
|c Reported by Force Health Protection and Readiness.|
|SOURCE: Adapted from “Global War on Terrorism—Operation Enduring Freedom by Casualty Category within Service, October 7, 2001 through August 2, 2008,” in DoD Personnel and Military Casualty Statistics: Military Casualty Information, U.S. Department of Defense, August 2, 2008, http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/WOTSUM.pdf (accessed August 8, 2008)|
|Killed in action||286|
|Died of woundsa||68|
|Died while missing in action||*|
|Died while captured||*|
|Total hostile deaths||354|
|Total non-hostile deaths||207|
|Total—wounded in action (WIA)||2,309|
|Wounded—no medical air transport required||1,075|
|Wounded—medical air transport requiredc||1,234|
|Total—Non-hostile-related medical air transports||7,037|
|Non-hostile injuries—medical air transport requiredc||1,845|
|Diseases/other medical—medical air transport requiredc||5,192|
|Total—medical air transports (hostile and non-hostile)||8,271|
military forces to Afghanistan. The question was asked again in mid-2004, mid-2007, and mid-2008. During these polls slightly lower percentages (72%, 70%, and 68%, respectively) agreed that sending troops to Afghanistan had not been a mistake.
In addition, Gallup finds that a majority of Americans favor sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. (See Figure 4.4.) In July 2008, 59% of respondents favored sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan to fight al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, whereas 38% opposed this measure. The percentages are close to those recorded by Gallup in a poll conducted in August 2007.
Iraq is bordered on the east by Iran, on the north by Turkey, on the west by Syria and Jordan, and on the south by Saudi Arabia. (See Figure 4.5.) The tiny nation of Kuwait also lies to the south and abuts Iraq’s small stretch of coastline on the Persian Gulf. The capital of Iraq is Baghdad. According to the CIA, in The World Factbook: Iraq (September 4, 2008, https://www.cia.gov/ library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/iz.html), Iraq covers 437,072 square kilometers (168,754 square miles) and is slightly larger than twice the size of the state of Idaho. Iraq is crossed by two large rivers—the Tigris and Euphrates—whose waters provide a broad fertile plain in the center of the country. The remainder of the landscape is primarily desert. The population of Iraq was estimated at just over 28.2 million as of July 2008. Most of the population is Arab (75% to 80%) but includes a Kurdish sector (15% to 20%) and other ethnic minorities. Nearly all Iraqis are Muslim (97%), with approximately two-thirds Shiite and one-third Sunni.
The history of Iraq is described at length by the LOC in Country Profile: Iraq (August 2006, http://lcweb2locgov/frd/cs/profiles/Iraqpdf). In ancient times this land was called Mesopotamia (land between the rivers) and attracted many great civilizations. Over the centuries it was ruled by the Sumerians, Amorites, Babylonians, Hittites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Macedonians, Parthians, and Sassanians. From the eighth century through the thirteenth century the Arab empire had Baghdad as its capital. This is the time period when most of the population adopted Islam. However, disagreements between followers of the Shiite and Sunni sects plagued the empire throughout its history. The Arab dynasty was conquered by the Mongols, which then fell to the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s. During World War I (1914–1918) the Ottomans lost control to the British, who occupied Iraq until it became independent in 1932.
The LOC reports that ethnic, tribal, and religious differences made political stability impossible to maintain after the country achieved its independence. Iraq was ruled by a variety of leaders who seized power via coups and revolts. During the mid-1950s a secular (nonreligious) movement arose called the Baath Party that had the support of the nation’s intellectuals and military. By 1970 the Baathist Saddam Hussein had consolidated his political power and became Iraq’s new dictator. He began a campaign of extermination against his internal enemies. In 1980 Hussein decided to invade neighboring Iran, a country that had recently undergone a revolution that put Islamic clerics in power. Both countries had long-standing border disputes with each other. The LOC estimates that the eight-year war killed between five hundred thousand and one million people.
U.S. Relations with Iraq: 1960s to 1990s
In 1967 Iraq fought with other Arab countries against Israel in the Six-Day War. In protest of U.S. support for Israel during the war, Iraq severed diplomatic ties with the United States. Ties were restored in 1984 because the United States and Iraq shared a common enemy at that time: Iran. Iranian militants had seized the U.S. embassy in Iran in late 1979 and held American personnel hostage for 444 days before releasing them. As a result, the United States had a vested interest
|TABLE 4.3 Budget authority for Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001-09 [CRS estimates in billions of budget authority]|
|By operation and funding source||FY01 & FY02a||FY03||FY04||FY05||FY06||FY07||FY08b||Cum. enacted thru FY08 consol. approp.||Pending FY08 req.a||Pdg. FY09 req.c||Cum: FY01-FY09 bridge in house-passed H. R. 2642, 6-19-08c|
|Notes: Because DOD has not provided a breakdown by operation for all appropriations received, CRS estimates unobligated budget authority using past trends as shown in DOD's Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) reports, Supplemental & Cost of War Execution Reports and other budget justification materials.|
|CRS budget authority (BA) totals are higher than DOD figures because CRS includes all funding provided in supplementals, bridge funds or baseline appropriations for Iraq and the Global war on Terror as well as transfers from DOD's baseline funds for GWOT requirements, and enhanced security. CRS also splits the $25 billion provided in the FY2005 Title IX bridge between the $1.8 billion obligated in FY2004 and the remainder available for FY2005; all those funds are scored as FY2004 because they were available upon enactment in August 2005. Figures include funds provided in P.L. 107-38, the first emergency supplemental after 9/11, and funds allocated in P.L. 107-117. Numbers may not add due to rounding.|
|CRS = Congressional Research Service. GWOT = Global War on Terror.|
|aCRS combined funds for FY2001 and FY2002 because most were obligated in FY2002 after the 9/11 attacks at the end of FY2001. In FY2008, CRS includes funds for enhanced security in DOD's regular budget, and excludes as non-war related DOD request for funds to cover higher fuel prices for its regular program and accelerate the replacement of Walter Reed for a more consistent definition of war costs.|
|bIncludes funds provided in the First Continuing Resolution (H.J.Res 52/P.L. 110-92), FY2008 DOD Appropriations Act (H.R. 3222/P.L. 110-116) and the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R 2764/P.L. 110-161).|
|cReflects H.R. 2642 as passed by the House on June 19, 2008 excluding funding not related to Iraq and Afghanistan and $4.9 billion in DOD funds notrelatedto war; excludes $1.4 billion in the regular FY2009 State/USAID request for Iraq and Afghanistan.|
|dForeign operations figures include monies for reconstruction, development and humanitarian aid, embassy operations, counter narcotics, initial training of the Afghan and Iraqi army, foreign military sales credits, and Economic Support Funds. For FY2007, figures reflect State Department figures; for FY2008, figures reflect Joint Explanatory Statement for Division J, FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) in December 17, 2007 Congressional Record; may be revised by State Department at a later date.|
|eMedical estimates reflect figures in VA's FY2008 budget justifications, and CRS estimate of OIF/OEF shares of $3.6 billion added by Congress to VA Medical in FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161).|
|source: Adapted from Amy Belasco, “Table 4. Budget Authority for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror (GWOT) Operations: FY2001-FY2009 Bridge Request,” in The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations since 9/11, Congressional Research Service, June 23, 2008, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf (accessed July 25, 2008)|
|Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Afghanistan and GWOT|
|Department of Defense||20.0||14.0||12.4||17.2||17.9||34.9||13.0||129.2||21.3||14.0||159.8|
|Foreign aid and diplomatic opsd||0.8||0.7||2.2||2.8||1.1||1.9||1.1||10.6||0.9||1.1||12.4|
|TABLE 4.4 Public opinion on how the Afghanistan war is going, July 2008 .|
|IN GENERAL, HOW WOULD YOU SAY THINGS ARE GOING FOR THE U.S. IN AFGHANISTAN–VERY WELL, MODERATELY WELL, MODERATELY BADLY, (OR) VERY BADLY?|
|SOURCE: Frank Newport, “In General, How Would You Say Things Are Going for the U.S. in Afghanistan–Very Well, Moderately Well, Moderately Badly, (or) Very Badly?” in Afghan War Edges out Iraq As Most Important for U.S., The Gallup Organization, July 30, 2008, http://www.gallup.com/poll/ 109150/Afghan-War-Edges-Iraq-Most-Important-US.aspx?version_print (accessed August 9, 2008). Copyright © 2008 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.|
|Very well||Moderately well||Moderately badly||Very badly||No opinion||Total well||Total badly|
|2008 Jul 25–27||5||41||33||18||3||46||51|
|2006 Sep 15–17||6||43||30||16||5||49||46|
in seeing Iraq succeed in its war against Iran. However, Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980–1984 (February 25, 2003, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/) notes that the U.S.-Iraqi relationship cooled after U.S. officials publicly condemned Iraq for using chemical weapons during the war.
The article “On This Day: 1990” (BBC News, 2006) notes that in August 1990 Iraqi military forces invaded nearby Kuwait after Hussein accused the Kuwaitis of taking oil from an oil field near the border between the two countries. The international community almost universally condemned Iraq’s actions. Other Arab countries and the UN Security Council demanded that Iraq leave Kuwait, but to no avail. The UN imposed strict economic sanctions that would remain in place for many years. President George H. W. Bush (1924–) put together a U.S.-led coalition of international military forces for Operation Desert Storm, which began in January 1991 with the bombing of strategic
targets within Iraq. By the end of February the coalition had liberated Kuwait and seriously damaged Iraq’s infrastructure and military capabilities. The DOD states in DoD
Personnel and Military Casualty Statistics: Military Casualty Information (May 2008, http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/WCPRINCIPAL.pdf) that the United States lost 382 troops in the Persian Gulf War. More than 2.2 million U.S. military personnel served in that war.
In April 1991 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 687 (http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Invo/resolutions/res687.pdf), which set forth the terms of the cease-fire between Iraq and Kuwait. It also called on Iraq to “agree not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons” or any related technology and to declare the “locations, amounts, and types” of all existing nuclear weapons and usable materials within Iraq and turn them over to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for destruction. For the remainder of the decade Iraq followed a pattern of denial and deception with IAEA inspections and refused to abide by Resolution 687 and subsequent Resolutions 707, 715, 1051, 1284, and 1441. In 1998 a defiant Hussein had the inspectors kicked out of the country. (For a timeline of events, see the IAEA's “In Focus: IAEA and Iraq” [2003, http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIraq/indexshtml].)
The Kurds are an ethnic group found mostly in the mountainous regions of northern Iraq. Their history is
described by Lokman I. Meho in “The Kurds and Kurdi-stan: A General Background” (Lokman I. Meho and Kelly L. Maglaughlin, comp., Kurdish Culture and Society: An Annotated Bibliography, 1997). The area inhabited by the Kurds was once called Kurdistan. The land was divided in the 1500s between the Persian and Ottoman empires. After World War I, predominantly Kurdish territory was split between the modern states of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. However, the Kurds see themselves as a distinct group and have long pursued their own independent nation.
The struggle of the Iraqi Kurds against Hussein and the Iraqi government is reviewed by Frank Viviano in “The Kurds in Control” (National Geographic, January 2006). During the 1980s and early 1990s Hussein’s government killed an estimated 100,000 to 180,000 Kurds and destroyed thousands of their villages. Much of the killing occurred near the end of the Iran-Iraq War as punishment for Kurdish support of Iran. The genocide included the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds during the so-called Anfal Campaign. (For more information about this campaign, see the Human Rights Watch report Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign against the Kurds [July 1993, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/].)
According to Viviano, the United States chose at first to ignore the genocide so as not to antagonize Hussein, a would-be American ally during the late 1980s. This attitude changed following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991. Immediately after the war, U.S., British, and French military forces began enforcing a no-fly zone over the Kurdish territories in northern Iraq to prevent Hussein from attacking the Kurds with aircraft or bombs. International protection allowed the Kurdish population to flourish; by the end of the decade they had developed their own semi-independent government and a highly trained militia called the Peshmerga, which means “those who face death.”
U.S. Relations with Iraq: Post 9/11
By the time of 9/11, the United States had experienced an entire decade of problems with Iraq. A no-fly zone had been put in place over southern Iraq to protect the largely Shiite population from a crackdown by Hussein’s government (which was predominantly Sunni Muslim). Iraq had quickly denounced the no-fly zones as illegal and often fired at U.S. and British warplanes enforcing them. As reported in “Western Warplanes Bomb Iraq No-Fly Zone, U.S. Says” (CNN.com, October 23, 2000), the result was that the Iraqi ground-based air defense system was bombed many times. Hussein’s continuing defiance of UN resolutions was worrying to U.S. officials, who feared that Iraq was hiding a program to build WMDs.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report President George W. Bush “wondered immediately after the [9/11] attack whether Saddam Hussein's regime might have had a hand in it.” The U.S. intelligence community investigated President George W. Bush “wondered immediately after the [9/11] attack whether Saddam Hussein's regime might have had a hand in it.” The U.S. intelligence community investigated possible connections and found no compelling case of Iraqi involvement. Nevertheless, some members of the Bush administration, particularly the U.S. deputy secretary of defense Paul D. Wolfowitz (1943–), thought the United States should strike Iraq as part of the ensuing War on Terror. The DOD recommended action be taken against three priority targets: al Qaeda, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Iraq for posing a “strategic threat to the United States.” Reportedly, Iraq was included on the list for its “long-standing involvement in terrorism” and “its interest in weapons of mass destruction. “The United States opened the War on Terror by invading Afghanistan; however, Iraq remained a high-priority concern. On January 29, 2002, during his annual State of the Union speech http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/ 01/20020129-11.html), President Bush described Iraq as a member of an “axis of evil” in the world.
Throughout the remainder of the year the Bush administration worked to garner UN approval for a military strike against Iraq. These efforts were driven by reports from the U.S. intelligence community that Iraq was amassing WMDs. In October intelligence officials presented Bush with “National Intelligence Estimate: Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction” (June 10, 2008, http://homepagentlworldcom/jksonc/docs/nie-iraq-wmdhtml). This document declared that Iraq had restarted its nuclear weapons program and would likely have a nuclear weapon within a decade. Iraq was also thought to have new chemical and biological weapons. The evolution of this report was later examined in Report to the President of the United States (March 31, 2005, http://www.wmd.gov/report/wmd_report.pdf) by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
According to the commission, one of the major pieces of evidence against the Iraqis was their alleged purchase of nuclear material (uranium yellowcake) from Niger. The president mentioned this purchase in his State of the Union speech in January 2003. In February 2003 the U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell (1937–) addressed the UN and presented the U.S. case for military action against Iraq. The UN had already passed Resolution 1441 in late 2002 condemning Iraq for its continuing defiance of previous UN resolutions and for refusing to allow IAEA inspectors back into the country. However, the United States was unable to convince the UN that a military response was necessary. Only Britain pledged to fully support the U.S. plan for war.
According to the White House, in the press release “President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq within 48 Hours” http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030317-7.html), on the evening of March 17, 2003, President Bush addressed the nation and presented his case for war against Iraq. He warned about the dangers of Iraqi
WMDs, particularly in the hands of terrorists. He mentioned the UN resolutions that had been passed and Iraq’s failure to abide by weapons inspections. He noted that the intelligence gathered “leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Bush gave Hussein and his sons forty-eight hours to leave Iraq or face military action. He told the Iraqi people, “We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”
The coalition gathered by the United States for the impending war was smaller than the one garnered against Iraq in 1990. In 2003 only Great Britain pledged troops; many other nations, though, contributed small military forces, money, or equipment (most notably Spain, Australia, and Israel). France, Russia, and China, in particular, were opposed to military action against Iraq.
In the early morning hours of March 20, 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom began with a massive bombardment of Iraqi targets. That evening, U.S. troops surged across the Kuwaiti border to begin the ground campaign. Coalition forces quickly overcame Iraqi resistance. By early April U.S. troops were in Baghdad, and British troops had captured cities in southern Iraq. Initially, there was jubilation by some Baghdad citizens at the toppling of Hussein’s regime. However, the environment quickly deteriorated as mass looting and lawlessness broke out and many buildings were burned. U.S. troops were unsuccessful at restoring civil order.
By mid-April the Kurdish Peshmerga (with U.S. help) had captured the northern cities of Kirkuk (Karkūk) and Mosul. As described by NewsHour By the end of April the invasion was complete. In the press release “President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/niraq_04-12-04.html), this development greatly upset Turkish officials, who feared that the Kurds would try to assert their ancient claim to Kurdistan and establish an independent state in northern Iraq. Turkey had even threatened to invade Iraq from the north if the United States allowed Kurds to hold major Iraqi cities. NewsHour notes that the Peshmerga retreated and U.S. forces took control of Kirkuk and Mosul. Once again, looting and mayhem became a problem in occupied areas.
By the end of April the invasion was complete. In the press release “President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended” http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030501-15.html), the White House notes that on May 1, 2003, President Bush announced that the major combat operations in Iraq had ended. He said, “The United States and our allies have prevailed…. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.”
According to the Department of State, in Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 (April 2004, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/31912.pdf), by the end of 2003 coalition forces had killed or captured forty-two of the fifty-five most-wanted members of Iraq’s former regime, including Hussein, who was captured in December 2003. In October 2005 Hussein went on trial in Iraq for war crimes committed against his people during his rule. He was found guilty and, in December 2006, hanged for his crimes.
After the defeat of the Iraqi army, the United States was faced with a campaign of violence that threatened to destabilize Iraqi society and government and that took the lives of many Iraqis, Americans, and other foreigners within Iraq. These attacks were carried out by a wide variety of individuals and groups that are often referred to collectively as insurgents.
During 2006 sectarian violence escalated between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites. As noted earlier, the Iraqi population is approximately two-thirds Shiite and one-third Sunni. Shiites primarily inhabit the southern part of the country and were repressed under Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime. In February 2006 a bombing that nearly destroyed the al-Askariya Shia Mosque in Samarra triggered violence that killed more than four hundred people over the following week.
In Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq (August 2006,http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/Security-Stabilty-ReportAug29r1.pdf), the DOD states that the number of sectarian incidents in Iraq rose between May 2005 and July 2006. During May 2005 nearly one hundred sectarian incidents were recorded. This number changed little on a monthly basis through January 2006. In February 2006 the number soared to nearly three hundred incidents per month. It decreased slightly during April and was then around five hundred incidents per month from May through July 2006. The DOD also tracks daily coalition and Iraqi casualties between April 2004 and August 2006. At the beginning of this period just over twenty casualties per day were reported for both groups. By August 2006 the number of average daily casualties among coalition forces had dropped to less than 20 per day, whereas the rate among Iraqis had soared to nearly 120 per day.
By January 2007 the internal situation in Iraq was dire. In Prospects for Iraq’s Stability: A Challenging Road Ahead (January 2007, http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/ 20070202_release.pdf), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence states “the term ‘civil war’ does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa’ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence.” The
office notes that Iraqi Shiites, in particular, were deeply mistrustful of U.S. efforts to forge a new government in the country.
Iraq’s New Government
From May 2003 to June 2004 Iraq was governed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which was a temporary civil government body installed by the United States and the United Kingdom. The CPA was replaced by an Iraqi transitional government that developed a new constitution. In 2005 the constitution was upheld by a national referendum (vote), and Iraq held its first national elections to elect members of the Iraq Council of Representatives.
In March 2006 the first session of the Iraq Council of Representatives was held. The delegates had difficulty choosing a prime minister who was acceptable to the three main factions within Iraq: Shiites, Sunni, and Kurds. After more than a month of negotiation, an acceptable compromise was reached in Nouri al-Maliki (1950–), a Shiite. Throughout the summer of 2006 Prime Minister al-Maliki worked to choose a cabinet of ministers to administer Iraq’s government programs.
In Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq–Progress Report: Some Gains Made, Updated Strategy Needed (July 23, 2008, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081021t.pdf), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes that between 2003 and 2008 the United States had appropriated approximately $48 billion to U.S. agencies for the rebuilding of Iraq. Specifically, this money was used to bolster the Iraqi government and rebuild Iraq’s security forces and infrastructure and utilities (e.g., electricity and water supplies). The GAO complains that the Iraqi government had spent little of the money it had available for such projects. The Iraqi government spent only 28% of the amount budgeted for the total government in 2007. (See Figure 4.6.) Only 11% of the amount budgeted was spent on central ministries (which are responsible for security and other public essentials), 41% on water resources, 0.06% on electricity, and 0.03% on oil resources.
One of the primary goals of the new government (and the United States and the United Kingdom) has been to build the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF—both army and police) to a level and strength capable of taking over security control in the country. This has proven to be extremely difficult. Figure 4.7 shows the number of trained ISF as of March 2005, January 2007, April 2008, and projected for 2010. By January 2007 the ISF numbered 323,000 personnel. However, a National Security Council states in Highlights of the Iraq Strategy Review (January 2007, http://www.whitehouse.gov/ nsc/iraq/2007/iraq-strategy011007.pdf) that ‘‘substantially fewer numbers are present for duty on a given day.” Likewise, in Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq—Progress Report: Some Gains Made, Updated Strategy Needed (June 2008, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08837.pdf), the
GAO notes that the DOD count of “trained” ISF personnel included Iraqis who had died or were absent without leave. Approximately 24,500 Iraqi soldiers were believed to have deserted in 2007, casting serious doubts about the actual number of ISF personnel that are available for duty.
The Surge and the New Way Forward
By January 2007 the violence in Iraq was at an all-time high. The American public was increasingly displeased with the course of the war, and some lawmakers demanded that U.S. troops leave Iraq as soon as possible. President Bush proposed in a January 10, 2007, radio address a different strategy dubbed the “The New Way Forward” http://wwwwhitehousegov/news/releases/2007/01/20070110-3html). Rather than troop withdrawals, the new strategy called for additional U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq in an attempt to curb the violence. Figure 4.8 shows the number of U.S. forces in Iraq between March 2003 and July 2008. U.S. troop strength increased by approximately forty thousand people during the troop surge. The result was a dramatic decrease in violence in Iraq. Figure 4.9 shows the average number of daily attacks reported per month in Iraq from May 2003 through June 2008 based on Defense Intelligence Agency data. Daily attacks peaked in late 2006 and early 2007 and then plummeted through early 2008.
On September 13, 2007, Bush addressed the nation and announced that the surge had achieved many of its goals. As a result, he pledged to reduce troop levels in Iraq by a substantial number over the next ten months. Officially, “The New Way Forward” ended in July 2008. President Bush set a goal in “The New Way Forward” that the Iraqi government would assume responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s eighteen provinces by November 2007. This goal was not met. Only nine provinces had made the transition as of May 2008. (See Figure 4.10.)
During and after the invasion of Iraq, U.S. forces searched the country for WMDs, but found none. An outcry in the American media spurred President Bush to establish an investigatory commission to find out why U.S. prewar intelligence about Iraq had been wrong.
On March 31, 2005, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction issued its final report, Report to
the President of the United States (http://wwwwmdgov/report/wmd_reportpdf). Its assessment was extremely critical, noting, “We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.” The commission found that U.S. intelligence agents had been shocked following the 1991 Persian Gulf War to learn that Iraq’s nuclear weapons program had advanced much more than they had suspected and that Hussein had previously unknown stockpiles of chemical weapons. Their suspicions had deepened throughout the 1990s because of Hussein’s dogged defiance of IAEA inspections. The commission acknowledged that “Saddam acted to the very end like a man with much to hide. And the dangers of underestimating our enemies were deeply underscored by the attacks of September 11, 2001.”
The commission learned that U.S. intelligence agents had obtained much false information from unreliable informants and poor data sources. For example, the evidence that Iraq had purchased yellowcake from Niger turned out to be based on documents that were forgeries. Intelligence officials had ignored information that did not support their preconceived notion about Iraq’s guilt. Some analysts had reported that there were no conclusive links between Iraq and al Qaeda and believed that Hussein (a secular leader) and bin Laden (a religious fundamentalist) did not trust or like each other, making cooperation extremely unlikely.
The commission found that Iraq did have an active and productive nuclear weapons program through 1991. However, much of the infrastructure had been destroyed by coalition bombing during the Persian Gulf War, and the Iraqi scientists involved in the program had been reassigned to other tasks. Thus, there had been no active program within Iraq to develop or acquire WMDs for quite some time. The commission noted, “The harm done to American credibility by our all too public intelligence failings in Iraq will take years to undo.” The commission’s findings were embarrassing to the Bush administration, which had pressed the international community for the invasion.
Between March 19, 2003, and August 2, 2008, 4,122 U.S. military personnel died during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (See Table 4.5.) Of the total deaths, 2,586 occurred during active combat. (See Table 4.6.) The remaining 768 deaths were classified as nonhostile. In addition, 30,490 personnel were wounded, 8,840 suffered nonhostile injuries, and 24,689 suffered diseases serious enough that they required medical air transport.
Table 4.7 was compiled in June 2008 by the CRS. The table lists the money appropriated to Operation Iraqi Freedom from FY 2001 to FY 2009, including bridge funds and pending amounts. As of June 2008, appropriations for the war in Iraq totaled $656.1 billion. The vast majority of the money ($619.5 billion) was appropriated to the DOD. Another $34 billion went for related foreign aid and diplomatic operations. The Department of Veterans Affairs had received approximately $2.5 billion for its medical operations.
The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has endured much international criticism. When the war began, the American public was torn, but generally favorable, about the idea. This support faded dramatically in the face of continuing insurgency and the rising U.S. death toll in Iraq. Since 2003 the Gallup Organization has conducted many polls on American attitudes about the war in Iraq. Figure 4.11 shows the results obtained by Gallup when it asked Americans whether or not the United States “made a mistake” in sending troops to Iraq. In March 2003 approximately 75% of respondents said it had not been a mistake to send U.S. troops to Iraq. Over the following five years, support for the war dropped dramatically. By July 2008 only 40% of respondents thought the United
|TABLE 4.5 U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), by demographic characteristics, March 19, 2001–August 2, 2008 .|
|Note: Data subject to change.|
|SOURCE: Adapted from -Operation Iraqi Freedom Military Deaths, March 19, 2001 through August 2, 2008,- in DoD Personnel and Military Casualty Statistics: Military Casualty Information, U.S. Department of Defense, August 2, 2008, http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-deaths-total.pdf (accessed August 8, 2008)|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||40|
|Black or African American||391|
|Hispanic or Latino||441|
|Multiple races, pending, or unknown||43|
|Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||48|
States had not erred by sending troops to Iraq. By contrast, the percentage of respondents who thought the war had been a mistake increased from 23% in March 2003 to 56% in July 2008.
Gallup also finds that most Americans favor setting a timetable for removing U.S. troops from Iraq. Since June 2005 all but one poll have indicated that more than 50% of respondents favored setting such a timetable. (See Table 4.8.) In February 2008, 60% of respondents favored a timetable, whereas 35% thought the United States should keep troops in Iraq “until the situation gets better.”
In July 2008 Americans believed by a small margin (44%) that the war in Afghanistan is “more important” for the United States than the war in Iraq (38%). (See Figure 4.12.) As a result, a majority of poll respondents
|TABLE 4.6 U.S. military casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), by category, October 7, 2001–August 2, 2008|
|aIncludes died of wounds where wounding occurred in theater and death occurred elsewhere.|
|bPending means final category to be determined at a later date.|
|cReported by Force Health Protection and Readiness.|
|SOURCE: Adapted from “Global War on Terrorism–Operation Iraqi Freedom by Casualty Category within Service, March 19, 2003 through August 2, 2008,” in DoD Personnel and Military Casualty Statistics: Military Casualty Information, U.S. Department of Defense, August 2, 2008, http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/OIF-Total.pdf (accessed August 8, 2008)|
|Killed in action||2,586|
|Died of woundsa||756|
|Died while missing in action||7|
|Died while captured||5|
|Total hostile deaths||3,354|
|Total non-hostile deaths||768|
|Total wounded (WIA)||30,490|
|Wounded–no medical air transport required||21,211|
|Wounded–medical air transport requiredc||9,279|
|Total–non-hostile-related medical air transports||33,529|
|Non-hostile injuries–medical air transport requiredc||8,840|
|Diseases/other medical–medical air transport requiredc||24,689|
|Total–medical air transports (hostile and non-hostile)||42,808|
supported moving U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to fight al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. In July 2008, 57% of respondents favored such a move, whereas 36% were opposed to it. (See Figure 4.13.) The percentage favoring moving U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan was up slightly from 52% support reported in August 2007.
|TABLE 4.7 Budget authority for Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2001-09|
|[CRS estimates in billions of budget authority]|
|Notes: Because DOD has not provided a breakdown by operation for all appropriations received, CRS estimates unobligated budget authority using past trends as shown in DOD's Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) reports, Supplemental & Cost of War Execution Reports and other budget justification materials. CRS budget authority (BA) totals are higher than DOD figures because CRS includes all funding provided in supplementals, bridge funds or baseline appropriations for Iraq and the Global war on Terror as well as transfers from DOD-s baseline funds for GWOT requirements, and enhanced security. CRS also splits the $25 billion provided in the FY2005 Title IX bridge between the $1.8 billion obligated in FY2004 and the remainder available for FY2005; all those funds are scored as FY2004 because they were available upon enactment in August 2005. Figures include funds provided in P.L. 107-38, the first emergency supplemental after 9/11, and funds allocated in P.L. 107–117. Numbers may not add due to rounding. CRS _ Congressional Research Service. GWOT _ Global War on Terror.|
|a CRS combined funds for FY2001 and FY2002 because most were obligated in FY2002 after the 9/11 attacks at the end of FY2001. In FY2008, CRS includes funds for enhanced security in DOD-s regular budget,and excludes as non-war related DOD request for funds to cover higher fuel prices for its regular program and accelerate the replacement of Walter Reed for a more consistent definition of war costs.|
|b Includes funds provided in the First Continuing Resolution (H.J.Res 52/P.L. 110-92), FY2008 DOD Appropriations Act (H.R. 3222/P.L. 110-116) and the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764/P.L. 110-161).|
|c Reflects H.R. 2642 as passed by the House on June 19,2008 excluding funding not related to Iraq and Afghanistan and $4.9 billion in DOD funds not related to war; excludes $1.4 billion in the regular FY2009 State/USAID request for Iraq and Afghanistan.|
|d DOD's new estimate in FY2007 for Iraq shows BA from FY2003 as $48 billion, $2 billion higher than reported by DFAS without identifying a source for these funds.|
|e Foreign operations figures include monies for reconstruction, development and humanitarian aid, embassy operations, counter narcotics, initial training of the Afghan and Iraqi army, foreign military sales credits, and Economic Support Funds. For FY2007, figures reflect State Department figures; for FY2008, figures reflect Joint Explanatory Statement for Division J, FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110–161) in December 17, 2007 Congressional Record; may be revised by State Department at a later date.|
|f Medical estimates reflect figures in VA's FY2008 budget justifications, and CRS estimate of OIF/OEF shares of $3.6 billion added by Congress to VA Medical in FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110–161).|
|SOURCE: Adapted from Amy Belasco, “Table 4. Budget Authority for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror (GWOT) Operations: FY2001–FY2009 Bridge Request,” in The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations since 9/11, Congressional Research Service, June 23, 2008, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf(accessed July 25, 2008)|
|By operation and funding source||FY01 & FY02a||FY03||FY04||FY05||FY06||FY07||FY08b||Cum.enacted thru FY08 consol.approp.||Pending FY08 req.a||Pdg. FY09 req.c||Cum:FY01-FY09 bridge in house-Passed H.R.2642,6–190–08c|
|Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)d|
|Department of Defense||0||50.0||56.4||83.4||98.1||129.6||73.8||491.3||80.0||52.0||619.5|
|Foreign aid and diplomatic opse||0||3.0||19.5||2.0||3.2||3.2||0.9||31.7||2.5||1.4||34.0|
|TABLE 4.8 Public opinion on whether a timetable should be set for removing troops from Iraq, July 2008|
|IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE, WHICH DO YOU THINK IS BETTER FOR THE U.S.: TO KEEP A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF TROOPS IN IRAQ UNTIL THE SITUATION THERE GETS BETTER, EVEN IF THAT TAKES MANY YEARS, OR TO SET A TIMETABLE FOR REMOVING TROOPS FROM IRAQ AND TO STICK TO THAT TIMETABLE REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN IRAQ AT THE TIME?|
|source: Frank Newport, “If You Had to Choose, Which Do You Think Is Better for the U.S.: To Keep a Significant Number of Troops in Iraq until the Situation There Gets Better, Even If That Takes Many Years, or to Set a Timetable for Removing Troops from Iraq and to Stick to That Timetable Regardless of What Is Going on in Iraq at the Time?” in Exploring the Iraq Timetable Issue, The Gallup Organization, August 5, 2008, http://www.gallup.com/poll/109294/Exploring-Iraq-Timetable-Issue.aspx?version=print (accessed August 9, 2008). Copyright © 2008 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.|
|Keep troops in Iraq until the situation gets better||Set timetable for removing troops from Iraq||No opinion|
|2008 Feb 21-24||35||60||5|
|2008 Feb 8-10||39||56||5|
|2007 Nov 30-Dec 2||38||59||3|
|2007 Sep 14-16||38||59||4|
|2007 Sep 7-8||35||60||5|
|2007 May 4-6||36||59||5|
|2007 Apr 13-15||38||57||4|
|2005 Jun 29-30||48||49||3|
|2005 Jun 24-26||44||51||5|