Tucson, AZ—The week of May 2nd, marks the fifth anniversary of President Bush’s infamous appearance in front of a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished” on the USS Lincoln. On that day, Bush was flown in wearing a flight suit, and appeared on deck to declare, “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
Since Bush’s speech, the death toll for US troops has risen to 4,064, and nearly 30,000 have been wounded. A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health was published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet in 2006 and estimated Iraqi deaths due to the invasion at 600,000.
Direct military spending has reached $12.5 billion a month, or $341 million per day, totaling $526 billion approved to date. Divided evenly, the war so far has cost $4,681 per household, and $1,721 per person. Arizona District 7 is estimated to have paid $681 million, enough to provide 153,000 people with health care for one year, build 68 new schools, or put 87,000 children in Head Start. Linda Bilmes, an expert at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz have estimated that the eventual total costs, including factors such as veterans’ health care, lost productivity, increased oil prices, could reach three trillion in 2007-valued dollars.
Rep. Grijalva released the following statement marking the anniversary:
“Every day that we stay in Iraq, we come closer to repeating the tragedy in Vietnam, when many thousands of troops died long after it became clear to the American people that the war was a mistake. To see the same tragedy twice pains me deeply.
“Today, my thoughts are with those who have lost their lives, and the families they leave behind, those who have lost a limb, a marriage, their mobility, or their mental health. Today is a day to remember the dead and fight for the living.
“Because I cannot allow this tragedy to be repeated and the will of the American people to be ignored for one more day, I will not vote for any bill that funds anything other than beginning the safe, orderly, and rapid withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. I will keep up this fight until our brave men and women can rest, at home, with their families.”