"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expence, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will." ~ Adam Smith
Half-Million Iraqis Died in the War, New Study Says
Before the (second) war in Iraq began in 2003, the Pentagon estimated it would cost about $50 billion and, as far as expected casualties went, it didn't seem there would be very many. Heck, the locals would welcome us with open arms and after we eliminated Saddam and his scary Weapons of Mass Destruction, everyone would be free and happy.
Well, not so much. As far as money goes, the bill grew to several trillion dollars, counting long-term care for wounded vets, replacement of destroyed weapons and other gear, and other on-going costs. But the biggest cost is in human lives, and the 4,804 US and other coalition casualties is the least of this: roughly half a million Iraqis died from violence and other effects of the war between 2003 and 2011, according to a survey published in PLOS Medicine and featured in a National Geographic article yesterday.