Costs of Conflict in the Middle East

Since 1991 the cost of war to people living in the Middle East is estimated to have been $12 trillion.

Costs of Conflict in the Middle East is the title of a report released earlier this year by the Strategic Foresight Institute in Mumbai, India. The report was assembled out of a discussion process in which people from different countries and different professions came together for at least three conference sessions in different parts of the world to conceive and pull together the report.

Unlike Joseph Stiglitz's report on the costs of the Iraqi war to the US which showed that the direct and indirect costs of the war would easily be some 50 times more than the $60 billion Bush, Rumsfield and Wolfowitz told Congress and Americans it would be back in 2003, this report attempts to pull together the costs for the Iraqis, in the context of all the other conflicts wracking that part of the world. The Institute's total estimate of the cost of war and conflict damage since the starting point of 1991 they chose (First Gulf War) is $12 trillion, (about $40,000 per American) and can be compared with US GNP of a bit more than $13 trillion, or US per capita income in 2007 of around $37,000.

The Tailor of Mumbai

My December 10 article "Our Man in Bananastan" discussed how the hasty conclusion that Pakistani militants were behind the terror attack in India sounded like the bogus intelligence described in satiric espionage novels by Graham Greene and John le Carre. The New York Times, following the journalistic standard it established when it helped Dick Cheney sell the Iraq invasion, reported the "facts" of the Mumbai affair as deduced from double secret hearsay.