On Sunday, war in Iraq will match length of U.S. involvement in World War II

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 25, 2006

The war in Iraq will reach another milestone this weekend, when it equals the number of days the U.S. was involved in World War II.

Sunday will mark the Iraq war’s 1,347th day — the same amount of time American troops fought in World War II. But from there, the similarities are largely over.

While the earlier war saw massive campaigns pitting hundreds of thousands of troops in direct combat, the Iraq war has largely been a guerrilla campaign, with U.S. troops rebuilding infrastructure; fostering elections and governments on both the local and national level; and weeding out insurgents from innocents.

According to historians, some 16 million Americans fought in World War II; more than 406,000 U.S. troops died.

By comparison, nearly 1.5 million Americans have now served in Iraq; more than 2,870 have died in the war.

The U.S. involvement in World War II began on Dec. 7, 1941, with the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945, the Japanese surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945.

The war in Iraq began in March 2003, and its end date will likely be confused by the fact that the enemy in Iraq is an amalgam of groups largely without a central figure.

In terms of dollars spent, Iraq is becoming one of the most expensive wars in American history. The Congressional Research Service estimates the costs of the war has exceeded $300 billion. The Korean War cost around $350 billion (in dollars adjusted for inflation), and Vietnam cost some $530 billion.

The costs of the war in Iraq are averaging around $8 billion a month, the CRS found.

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