Costly? Yes. 5 to 10 thousand innocent Iraqi civilians dead. At least one thousand Iraqi babies forever maimed by cluster bombs. And god knows how many tens of thousands of teenage Iraqi conscripts were killed, fighting lopsidedly against this juggernaut of world's best military and airborne nintendo pilots.
According to AP the figure is more around 3,300 but according to the mullas it's anywhere from 50,000 to 1M. In any case they are human lives, whether it be the millitary or civilian, that were lost. The question is was it too heavy heavy a price to pay for self-determination?
I do believe that Iraq can prosper to a nation such as Japan or Germany if they can somehow overlook their religious and ethnic differences. As for those who believe that Iraq's oil is somehow forced to be sold to the west...you need to take a class in economics. When Sadaam was in power Iraq's oil was sold but in the black market and revenues were only shared amongst the regime leaders. Now that there is an actual "free" MARKET for oil, there can be more accountibility. Of course, there is the whole question of driving down oil prices and loss of revenue to the Middle Eastern countries but that's a whole another debate. Besides I don't see any Middle Eastern country going bankcrupt...in fact, recently the Saudi's reduced supply of oil during the holiday season to drive oil up prices again.
That leaves with the question, what was this war about? Whatever it was, Iraq now has a future which (theoretically) can be determined by its people.
[Edited on 23-9-2003 by Ockey]