Friday, January 13, 2006

Trillion Dollar War

This is sobering.

Tyler Cowen:

Before counting macro costs, the authors estimate the costs of the war to run about $700 billion and $1 trillion dollars. This appears well-founded but the higher estimates (about twice that) do not. Note, of course, that none of this considers the costs (and benefits) to the Iraqis. Returning to the American side, the authors do adjust for the costs of running the pre-war no-fly zones, but they do not attempt to estimate what other costs would have been incurred in the absence of invasion.

I trust Cowen's judgment on this, and from reading the article it does seem like a lot of the bits above that run all kinds of bizarre speculations, but the 1 trillion number is almost all direct costs.