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The Economist’s Absurdity March 16, 2008

Posted by uberhim in Uncategorized.
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This week’s Economist features a curious book review of “The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict”, a new book written by Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winner in economics, and Linda Bilmes, a budget and public finance expert at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The first three-quarters of the review is actually quite good, before the writer drops this bomb:

“Unlike some other economists, Mr Stiglitz and Ms Bilmes do not weigh the cost of the war against the obvious counterfactual: the cost of containing Saddam Hussein. (They do subtract the cost of enforcing the no-fly zones over the country). Keeping a big force in the region—big enough to cow the dictator into letting weapons inspectors do their job—would not have been cheap, although with hindsight the strategy looks like a bargain. Nor do they pay much attention to the benefits of the invasion, however meagre. For example, the world now knows for sure that Saddam will never lay his hands on weapons of mass destruction. That knowledge may not be worth $3 trillion. But it is surely worth something.”

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