Iraq war takes military spending over the trillion dollar mark

THE US-led war in Iraq shot global military spending past the trillion-dollar mark in 2004. The United States accounted for almost half of the total because of its war on terror, a recently released report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showed.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  June 12, 2005

THE US-led war in Iraq shot global military spending past the trillion-dollar mark in 2004. The United States accounted for almost half of the total because of its war on terror, a recently released report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showed. Military spending reached US$1.035 trillion in 2004, up from US$956 billion in 2003, SIPRI said in its annual report. Spending was just marginally below what it was at the height of the Cold War in the late 1980s. American military spending rose rapidly between 2002 and 2004 as a result of massive budgetary allocations to fight “the global war against terror”, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, SIPRI noted. Washington alone out-spent the entire developing world in military goods, accounting for 47% of the worldwide figure. “The main explanation for the current level of, and trend in, world military spending is the spending on military operations abroad by the US, and to a lesser extent, by its coalition partners,” the report stated. But the high financial burden shouldered by the Bush administration may simply be the price for having opted to fight its war in Iraq with little institutional backing, especially from the UN, SIPRI said. “The US today possesses supreme power by most reckonings, but was limited in what it could achieve in Iraq without institutional backing, and is labouring under heavy costs as a result. Sadly, many actions of the US and other ‘northern’ powers since 2001 seem rather to have polarized attitudes further,” said Alyson Bailes, the SIPRI head. “Some countries are seeing the benefits of cooperation and it is therefore hasty to assume that the unilateral rather than the multilateral approach to wielding power will shape the globe’s future”, she added. There were 19 major armed conflicts in 2004 each with more than 1000 battle deaths per year. Most are longstanding and only three — the conflict against Al Qaeda, the conflict in Iraq and the conflict in Darfur — are less than 10 years old. “Paradoxically, the long-standing and recurrent nature of many conflicts may make them less visible internationally,” the SIPRI stated, citing “scant media attention” accorded in 2004 to conflicts in Nepal and Uganda. However, the removal of Saddam Hussein combined with Libyan decision to abandon weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles “created a unique opportunity to make progress towards the goal of establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East”.

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