Thursday, March 16, 2006

The economics of invasion

Chris Dillow links to a study about the costs of the invasion of Iraq versus the politics of containment (pdf):
"The high cost of the Iraq intervention is sometimes seen as a compelling argument against the decision to forcibly overthrow the ruling order and install a new regime. This argument is deficient because it ignores the costs of alternative responses to the national security and humanitarian concerns presented by the pre-war Iraqi regime. A well-founded verdict on the Iraq intervention requires, at a minimum, an evaluation of what these alternatives would cost."
Amongst the conclusions drawn by the report:
"What can be ruled out in light of the evidence is that the leading alternative to the war involved little loss of Iraqi lives."
Chris, from his reading of the paper, observes that...
" striking thing here is the contrast between the uncertainty this paper highlights about the vast costs and benefits involved, and the dogmatism of so many in both the pro- and anti-war camps."
This is a fair point but I'm partial obviously, although hopefully not too dogmatic, and have included the references above to suit my position accordingly.

Because in this debate, one's opponents sometimes give the impression that they see Iraq as a country that had no history at all - never mind a history under one of the 20th century's most depraved dictatorships and its containment in the interests of realpolitik.

The paper's well-worth reading - as is the Stumbling and Mumbling one in general. He also has a couple of posts about comprehensives and choice in education up just now that are worth a swatch.

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