Fuzzy Math

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Cato's Julian Sanchez on the projected cost of a new war with Saddam: "Lawrence Lindsey…was tactless enough to give a $100-200 billion estimate for the cost of a war in Iraq (and never mind occupation). Now the NY Times reports that OMB head Mitch Daniels has re-evaluated the situation and predicted that the war will cost only $50-60 billion. That's a hell of a trick, given that the original cakewalk Gulf War cost $80 billion, inflation-adjusted."

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  1. Hmmm. Maybe they’re factoring in income from ramping up Iraqi oil production after the American occupation.

  2. The forces in theatre will be half what they were in ’91. We have more accurate bombs, so even though the unit cost is higher you generally don’t need to drop as many or revisit the target.

    The ‘cost’ of a war is a problematical thing. It’s not like soldiers don’t get paid or aircraft maintained when there isn’t a war on. Is the quoted figure ‘how much the armed forces will cost for the duration of hostilities over and obove the usual peacetime amount’? If not, it’s bogus.

  3. Sure, the WAR might cost $50 billion, but how much for the occupation, and rebuilding? Of course, there are benefits to be gained from a Saddam-free Iraq.

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