Defeating and Destroying the Islamic State: What the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Can Tell Us

By Erik Goepner 

Afghanistan Iraq Iraq & Syria
U.S. Goal Defeat & destroy al Qaida Eliminate Iraqi WMD, “central front on war on terror Defeat & destroy Islamic State
Date U.S. initiated operations October 2001 March 2003 August 2014
Name of operation Enduring Freedom Iraqi Freedom Inherent Resolve
# countries in coalition 50 34 62
# global terror attacks the year U.S. initiated operations 1,878 1,253 11,9521
# global terror attacks 5 years after U.S. initiated operations 2,728 4,780 TBD
# global terror attacks 10 years after U.S. initiated operations 5,007 11,952 TBD
White House assessment at      +3 months Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun mission accomplished

Iraq is free

We are making steady, measurable progress
White House assessment at      +5 years We have significantly degraded the al–Qaida network” “The success of democracy in Afghanistan is inspiring We have seen significant security gains…Less visible are the political and economic changes taking place…This progress isn’t glamorous, but it is important TBD
White House assessment at    +10 years We are meeting our goals…the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq TBD
Cost: U.S. deaths 2,353 4,486 TBD
Cost: $ $686 billion2 $815 billion3 $5.6 billion4

Notes:

  1. Numbers are for 2013, 2014 not yet available.
  2. Does not account for future costs, such as FY15 funding or medical care for veterans.
  3. Does not account for future costs, such as medical care for veterans.
  4. Represents budget request for FY15.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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