At last the troops are to come back home. The war in Iraq has been stretched for, longer than expected, to an extent that even former President George W. Bush would not have imagined. The United States has at last recognized that keeping the troops in Iraq will not help much. Keeping t5he troops in Iraq would only result in more money spent in maintaining these troops. Even as every American is anxious on what next after the troops come home, what remains clear is that this would have serious financial impact on the United States. One of the reasons of calling home the troops is to cut down on taxpayer’s money in keeping the troops in Iraq.
The Obama administration has announced the withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the end of this year. While this may seem to be good news to many Americans, it is how this process is carried out, and its repercussions are what analysts are keenly watching. Statements are already in place that the soldiers are to leave the equipments in Baghdad due to the high cost of shipping them back to the United States. This is a very worrying decision with many warning that it could result in negative consequences (Congress, 2010).
The Obama administration has to weigh between the cost of carrying the weapons and other equipment back home and the state of security in Iraq. While the Obama administration is not the starters of this war, there is a need for leaving the people of Iraq in a good position, better than how they were left. By leaving these equipments in Iraq, the likelihood of empowering insurgents is high. Already, the number of incidents in the past one year has been worrying. There have been signs of discontentment within some sections of the Iraqi government.
Withdrawing the troops and leaving the equipments behind would mean that we are left with a depleted military. This is extremely dangerous considering that insurgents and other discounted elements might decide to take retaliatory attacks against the United States. Guarding against such attacks would be expensive at a time that much equipment would have been left in Iraq.
In order to understand this better, one has to look at the statistical figures on spending of the USA troops, and how taxpayer’s money have gone to waste through various ways. Most of these estimates were analyzed by think tanks including the mainstream media in the United States. The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index has also provided immense data on troops expenditures. These figures are calculated and dated 30 September 2010. The United States spent about 1 trillion US dollars, which was approved by the government in Washington. Out of this amount, $ 9Bilion was lost through very controversial circumstances. Out of this amount, 549.7 million in spare parts was shipped in 2004, to contractors. More than 190,000 guns were availed to the troops. Out of these 110,000 were AK 47 rifles.
According to the CBS News, $6.6 billion US dollars that was meant for reconstruction of Iraq was lost. Stuart Bowen, the inspector general of Iraq reconstruction, said that one billion was missing in terms of military equipments. These included, tank recovery vehicles, tractor-trailers, rocket propelled grenades, machine guns and other types of equipments.
The war in Iraq ends with 75 helicopters having been downed. This demonstrates how immense the losses were. Thirty-six of these were felled by fire opened by the enemy. This gives a glimpse of how much loss the United States has incurred since its mission to Iraq started.
United States troops have been found to have serious mental problems. This has been discovered through observance of mental health of the already withdrawn troops. According to the Department of Defense, a third of troops reported m4ental illness on return to the United States. This would undoubtedly call for early retirement of part of these groups. It would also call for increased funding in psychological treating of these groups- to ensure they are in stable condition (Steve, 2009). There have been massive exaggerations and charges on the provision of food and shelter by Halliburton division, which was charged with this duty. According to congressional hearings, 10 billion was lost as per the year 2007. Halliburton could not support expenditure up to $ 1.4 billion military expenditure on food.
The war has been quite expensive with heavy expenditures per month. The expenditures have been going up since the start of the war to clinch the $ 10 billion mark. For instance, according to the Congress, the expenditure of US troops on Iraq in 2009 alone was $ 7.3 billion per month. This figure went up high to $ 12 billion in the year 2008.
The average spending of US on Iraq troops per second was $ 5000 by the end o0f by June 2010. This is according to the US Majority Leader Harry Reid. The cost of deploying a single soldier went for an average of $ 390,000. This goes in a bad light with Obama’s strategy in cutting down costs on expenditure in military and other missions. The logistics in the United States went high in terms of expenditure on equipment. Their expenditure cannot even be compared to the World War II. The operation had the United States deploying more than 1 million tones of arms and equipments. This equipment includes more than 45, 000 vehicles, More than 700 helicopters, ammunitions, and ordnance weighing up to $ 37,000.
According to the Department Of Defense, carrying these weapons back at home would turn out to be an extremely expensive affair. Some weapons could be justified in carrying them back, and others would not be justified. This is because of the rationality of carrying the weapons and equipments at a more expensive cost in terms of transportation. This has made the US Department of Defense consider leaving some equipment for the Iraqi operation and auctioning some of their equipments and ammunitions.
I believe the department of defense is justified to leave some of its equipments in Iraq. While the3 department might want to carry its equipments home, it would be unrealistic to carry equipments would shipping, and other repair and logistics would cost more than the value of such equipments. For instance, the common Jersey barriers would have to be left in Iraq (Ramesh & Sidhu, 2007). These barriers were mainly constructed to protect the US troops and other officials from the bomb and grenade attacks. Acc9oding to William Webster, the third Army commandant, the cost of poring a T-Wall, as is commonly referred to in Iraq is about $ 800- $ 5000. Shipping the same would cost the United States $ 5000.
According to William Webster, Humvees and Mine resistant vehicles are worth refurbishing. This is, however, in consideration of many factors. First, these weapons would be particularly useful in the mission, in Afghanistan. Transporting these weapons to Afghanistan would be far much easier than bringing them back home. They would also be very helpful, as the mission in Afghanistan direly needs mine resistant weapons to guard against insurgents (Johnson, 2002). The government in Washington also recognizes that Baghdad would also need a few ammunitions from their operations. With the rise in the levels of the insurgency in Iraq, in the recent past, it is clear that Baghdad would require a few weapons to protect citizens from these insurgency and their operations. Whilst the government in Washington has all their minds set for withdrawal, they must also consider the lives of millions of civilians left behind (Government Printing Office, 2010).
The process of moving the equipments out if Iraq would also be costly in terms period. The time spent in transferring the weapons back home and the security measures required would be costly. The United States would be required to process the weapons before loading them in ships ready for departure. This would mean that these equipments and weapons have to be first moved to Kuwait to be processed before loading them to ships.
One highway links Iraq and Kuwait that can facilitate the movement of convoys. This means that these weapons can only pass through this border point if they are to be moved out. This would eventually drag the whole process. Another constraint would be the low capacity of wash racks in Kuwait that are supposed to be used in cleaning of vehicles before loading them to ships. This would take more than 150 days from the departure time from Iraq bases.
Considering the nature and the cost of transporting these equipments, the United States is justified not carry home this equipments. However, how the whole process is carried should be done carefully. First, the government must acknowledge that billions have been spent in the war and that cost reduction would be necessary even as the war ends. The United States need to ensure that these weapons do not reach insurgents who might harbor vengeful minds against the United States. In short, the United States would have to leave a good of its equipments in Iraq but be able to recover some through auctioning. Already countries such as Israel have already shown interest in purchasing some of these equipments. This would be effective, as transporting the equipments to Israel would only require the border with Jordan. Even the critics of moving leaving these equipments must acknowledge that it would be inevitable.