Even if the liberation of Iraq costs the United States $200 billion, it will be cheaper in blood and money than the previous "containment" policy, a University of Chicago business professor said Wednesday.
Professor Steven J. Davis, of the university’s Graduate Business School, says containment, including the patroling of no-fly zones, the interdicting of ships at sea and the stationing of 30,000 troops in that region, would cost the United States $380 billion over the next 20 years.
And even then, there would be no guarantee Saddam Hussein or his sons would stop torturing and murdering Iraqis, attacking Iraq’s neighbors, or supporting terrorist activities far from Iraq.
Davis noted that, in the 12 years of sanctions since Saddam’s troops were evicted from Kuwait, about 200,000 Iraqis died premature deaths by execution and malnutrition in Iraq, and in the dozen years before that, many more had perished in Saddam’s wars and slaughters.
If containment continued, Davis projected, 200,000 to 600,000 more Iraqis would die prematurely over the next 20 years under Saddam and sons.
Some wild numbers have been thrown around, but no serious person suggests more than 100,000 Iraqis died in the liberation of Iraq, and no one expects casualties on the scale of Saddam’s bloody record in the fighting that is likely to continue until Iraq’s democracy is established.
Davis based his calculations on the record of U.S. spending and Saddam’s killings before the buildup for Saddam’s ouster. He released his initial study in March and is reconfirming its findings during the debate over funding for a free Iraq.
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