Iraq 101: The Cost – Paying the Price

A Charge
to Keep
The war costs American taxpayers
$1.9 billion a week, or $275 million a day. If the U.S. had not invaded,
militarily containing Saddam through 2015 would have cost an estimated
$23 million a day.

Fables of the Reconstruction
In April 2003, the head of usaid said the cost of rebuilding Iraq wouldn’t
“even compare remotely with the size of the Marshall Plan.” Iraqi reconstruction
has cost the United States $34.1 billion to date. Rebuilding postwar Germany
cost $30.3 billion (in 2006 dollars).

And How Many Rooftop Helipads?

A Tour of the New U.S. Embassy in

With a staff of nearly 1,000, it’s already
the largest U.S. embassy in the world.
When the new Green Zone complex is completed later this year, it will
include 15-foot-thick walls, its own water-treatment and power plants,
and amenities such as a gym, a swimming pool, a food court, a movie
theater, and an “American Club” for cooped-up diplomats.

Pipe Dreams: Iraq’s Energy Crunch
In 2003, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said oil
exports would rebuild Iraq “relatively soon.” But last year, Iraq
missed its export goal by nearly 1/3 and spent only $2 billion on
reconstruction, while the U.S. spent $5.4 billion. Baghdad gets
an average of 4 hours 30 minutes of electricity a day. Estimated
cost of boosting Iraq’s power capacity by 2010: $20 billion. Estimated
cost of installing enough solar panels to power every home in Iraq:
$6.6 billion. (Click image to enlarge)


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.