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Counting the Cost of the War in Iraq
With Surge, Combat Deaths Soar

With Surge, Combat Deaths Soar to the Highest Levels Ever

More than 4000 US soldiers have now paid the ultimate price in Iraq. The administration keeps insisting that we are "making progress," but the death toll continues to rise. What's wrong with this picture?

In May, 2003, President Bush declared an end of major combat operations in Iraq. But rather than seeing an end of hostilities, the fighting continued, indeed, it intensified. Early in 2004, with "transfer of sovereignty," the administration predicted that the military situation would improve with Iraqi forces bearing a larger part of the combat burden. Instead, hostilities escalated. More recently there have been the elections and the installation of a new government, both cited by the administration as indicators of more "progress," but the death toll continues to rise. How much "progress" can our troops and the Iraqi people endure?

The number of US soldiers who have paid the ultimate price is now exceeds 4000. But the largest sacrifice, by far, is being paid by Iraqi civilians who simply happened to have found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The numbers here are harder to come by, and estimates vary, but most agree that at least 100,000 civilians have been killed so far, probably far more. Some estimates run as high as 250,000 Iraqi civilian casualties.

To this writer, administration estimates of the progress of the conflict and its dire costs, both human and material, are so far out of sync with reality that continuing support for the war within some segments of the US population defies rational explanation. Even so, with each passing month, fewer and fewer Americans support the war or the way it is being waged. A strong majority of Americans now believe that this war has not been worth the cost. For the latest polls as well as casualty figures, check the websites listed below.

For the latest polls of US opinion on the war

For the latest US casualties

For the names of the most recent US casualties -- put these men and women and their families on your prayer list

For an estimate of Iraqi civilian casualties

The Trillion Dollar Error

What Would Jesus Say about the Costs of the War?

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.