Sunday, February 05, 2012

Juan Cole's back-of-an-envelope calculation of the costs of war on Iran

This is so simple, it bears repeating. Iran is a country three times the size of Iraq. Hence:

What is striking to me is the glibness with which the Right wing speaks of an attack on Iran. The UN Security Council has not authorized the use of force against Iran, and Tehran has not attacked any other country. A strike on Iran is therefore a war crime, more especially since it would release radioactive toxins on the people of Isfahan and of the Middle East more generally.

Besides, proponents never say how they would pay for such a war. Iran is three times as populous and geographically much larger than Iraq. So multiply everything in that war by three to get the cost
.
Immediate cost: $3 trillion

Long term cost, including veteran care: $9 trillion

US troops killed: 15,000

US troops fairly seriously wounded: 100,000

Iranian dead: 1 – 3 million

Iranian displaced: 12 million

Anyone who advocates such a thing is a sort of monster, in my view.

Heck, maybe our military has become so good at "precision" warfare that Iran would not be as "expensive" as Iraq. After all, they are supposed to have learned something in the last fiasco. Let's cut the damage by a third:

Immediate cost: $2 trillion

Long term cost, including veteran care: $6 trillion

US troops killed: 10,000

US troops fairly seriously wounded: 60,000

Iranian dead: 1 – 2 million

Iranian displaced: 8 million

Still monstrous and criminal.


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