Warning: include(/home/www/instapundit-archive/ad.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/joyent-copy/home/www/instapundit-archive/archives/010045.php on line 152
Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/www/instapundit-archive/ad.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/usr/share/php') in /home/joyent-copy/home/www/instapundit-archive/archives/010045.php on line 152
June 13, 2003
AN INEXPENSIVE WAR:
WASHINGTON — A short conflict that used fewer missiles, sparked fewer oil field fires and created fewer refugees than anticipated produced a lower-than-expected financial cost for the major combat in Iraq.
Well, that's good.
UPDATE: Just flipped over to James Taranto's Best of the Web, where the take on this is much more amusing than mine:
As this March CNN/Money report notes, opponents of Iraq's liberation had much higher estimates of the cost of war. House Democrats said $93 billion, and William Nordhaus, a Yale professor, said the price could be as high as $1.92 trillion (he inflated his figure by including "rebuilding costs and impact of oil, economy").
This wasn't the only thing war opponents told us during the prewar debate that turned out not to be true. They said the U.S. would suffer thousands of casualties. They said ordinary Iraqis would resent American "invaders" rather than welcome them as liberators. They said the "Arab street" would rise up in outrage. They said Iraq's liberation would set off a new wave of terrorism. They said the war would be a "quagmire"--a line today's London Guardian is peddling, though even the New York Times carries an article--albeit on the op-ed page--noting that "things really aren't that bad" in Iraq.
Some war foes even said--get this!--that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them on American troops. Well pardon us for asking, but if Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, where are they?
It's possible that this was all just a massive failure of intelligence, but we can't help suspecting that war opponents knew better and deliberately misled the public in an effort to establish a pretext for keeping a mass-murdering dictator in power. In either case, they now face a yawning credibility gap. The American people deserve nothing less than a full congressional investigation into the false claims of antiwar politicians, scholars, journalists and activists. If they lied to us about Iraq, how can we ever trust them to talk us out of future wars?
Don't be so hard on them, James. After all, lots of people were were worried about WMD before the war.
UPDATE: Reader Mike Megargee emails:
There are several interesting aspects of the war costs. First, it's amazing that the scholars who produced the trillion-dollar estimates did not allow for "something good" happening as part of the rainbow of options. Nordhaus' low end estimate was in the $90 billion range. So a Yale economics professor allowed himself a 1.8 trillion dollar range and still missed the eventual outcome.
Similarly humorous was a Stanford paper(link) that said that the war had already cost the economy $1.1 trillion by mid-March, due to the drop in the S&P 500. Checking the Stanford website, I don't see any credit for having recouped that drop twofold since the paper was published.
Seems to me that news of a trillion dollar benefit from the war might have made some newspaper-- unless attributing a $1.1 trillion drop in US stock value directly to the war preparations was specious to begin with.
Finally, I note that the USA Today shows a figure of $30B for deploying and returning the troops. A good portion of those troops were required simply to force Saddam to agree to the inspections that the anti-war voices were advocating.