The Iraqis are paying a huge price in lost lives for the war, but there's a hidden cost that has largely been unnoticed. Its the price young Iraqi women are paying: there are no men to marry.
If this happened in America, it would be sad, but women could find fulfilling lives. Women in America aren't judged just by who they can marry or even whether they marry. Women in America can choose to marry or not. Either way, they have opportunities. They can become artists, work in the trades, become corporate executives, work in the service industry and many more. They lead productive, meaningful, happy lives, married or not.
Not Iraqi women. If a woman isn't married by her early twenties, she's considered a poor choice. If she's not married by age thirty, she will probably never be married. And in Iraq, there are very few employment opportunities. Many women were denied educations and aren't qualified for many jobs. On top of that, a heavily sexist culture blocks any real opportunities these women might have.
The AP story about Iraqi women goes into much more detail, and I encourage everyone to read it. The patriotic flag-waving pro-war crowd that got us into the Iraq mess talk about democracy and voting, but they conveniently forget all of the damage that wars cause. Sure, everyone admits that soldiers and civilians die, but these hidden tragedies are in some ways even worse. For every person who dies, there are ten others whose lives are forever damaged, sometimes destroyed.