Local Iraqi-American looks at U.S. role in Iraq as troops leave

December 14, 2011

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(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
U.S. soldiers stand in line for their last Thanksgiving meal in Iraq. Approximately 20,000 are on their way home this month.

The countdown to a post-war era has begun: U.S. troops will exit Iraq by the end of this month. And as the U.S. withdraws, a few numbers are being cited by the news media. Take, for instance, 4,500: that's the total number of Americans killed. There's eight, the number of years the mission lasted. And there's one trillion, the war's price tag in dollars for the United States.

But there's another set of numbers that is rarely discussed. On the Iraqi side of the war, hundreds of thousands of civilians are estimated to have died. And in the past ten years, the number of Iraqis living in slum conditions has gone from 15 to 50 percent.

Today, Laith Saud, an Iraqi-American and professor at DePaul University's department of religious studies, does a cost-benefit analysis on the U.S. role in the Iraq war.