[Paleopsych] The failure to calculate the costs of war

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Thu Jan 12 14:28:18 UTC 2006

Laws of Victory

Do your homework thoroughly.  Any corner you cut will come back to haunt

Don’t start a war you can’t win.

Assume it will be a lot harder than you expect.

Get a bunch of big guys to join you.  If your team 	is big enough, your
enemy may surrender 	without a fight.  If they choose to fight, they will
quickly lose.

Make the enemy come to you.  Soldiers defending their homes are more
motivated than attackers and supply lines are shorter.

Don’t start until your troops are properly equipped.

Don’t gloat over early successes.

Positive thinking is not a substitute for raw power.

Resist the temptation to engage in wishful thinking.

Don’t be too proud to cut your losses when things are going badly.

It’s OK to lie to the enemy, but you must always tell your own people the

-----Original Message-----
From: paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org
[mailto:paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org]On Behalf Of K.E.
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 11:58 AM
To: checker at panix.com; paleopsych at paleopsych.org
Subject: [Paleopsych] The failure to calculate the costs of war

With these costs taken into account, the total macroeconomic costs may
add up to $750bn and total costs to $1,850bn.

"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security."
-Dwight David Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president (1890-1969)

Martin Wolf is a respectable economist and chief
economics commentator at the Financial Times

Martin Wolf: The failure to calculate the costs of war

     Before the Iraq war began, Lawrence Lindsey, then president George
W. Bush's economic adviser, suggested that the costs might reach
$200bn. The White House promptly fired him. Mr Lindsey was indeed
wrong. But his error lay in grossly underestimating the costs. The
administration's estimates of a cost of some $50-$60bn were a fantasy,
as were Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and much else.


So far the government has spent $251bn in hard cash. But the costs
continue. If the US begins to withdraw troops this year, but maintains
a diminishing presence for the next five years, the additional cost
will be at least $200bn, under what Profs Bilmes and Stiglitz call
their "conservative" option. Under their "moderate" one, the cost
reaches $271bn, because troops remain until 2015.


With these costs taken into account, the total macroeconomic costs may
add up to $750bn and total costs to $1,850bn.


It is possible to argue that the benefits for Iraq, the Middle East
and the world will outweigh all these costs. But that depends on the
emergence, in Iraq, of a stable and peaceful democratic order. That
has not yet been achieved.

Even those who supported the war must draw two lessons. First, the
exercise of military power is far more expensive than many fondly
hoped. Second, such policy decisions require a halfway decent analysis
of the costs and possible consequences. The administration's failure
to do so was a blunder that will harm the US and the world for years
to come.

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