Wednesday, January 14, 2004


My local paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, today reprinted Paul Krugman's editorial from yesterday's New York Times (originally headlined "The Awful Truth," now re-titled "The credentials of Bush critics keep getting better and better"). Krugman seems to get lots of blog attention (he's even got his own BlogStalker and line of hatewear) so I actually decided to read the editorial section, for a change.

I learned that Paul Krugman has apparently changed his original opinion of former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil as an unprincipled man now that O'Neil's new book promises some rough stuff on Bush The Younger (looks to me like Krugman's opinions on whether someone is principled or not is heavily influenced by their politics). But what caught my eye was this quote:
Even in the short run, however, these successes [Saddam in custody and a growing economy] may not be all they're cracked up to be. More Americans were killed and wounded in the four weeks after Saddam's capture than in the four weeks before.
You see, I can add (but I'm only really accurate with single digits so I used a calculator). Although I don't think the effect of Saddam's capture on U.S. casualty counts have much of an effect on whether the capture can be called a "success" (he is an Evil Person, how could it not be a success to have him in custody?), I was curious whether Krugman was right about the number having increased. Well, it looks like he wasn't (would I be writing this post if he was?). Iraq casualty tracking site Lunaville (hat tip: Oxblog) shows there were 248 hostile casualties in the 4 weeks before Saddam's capture and 233 in the next 4 week period. Kids, that means the casualties decreased.

If you include "non-hostile" casualties (accidents, I presume) the number does indeed track with Krugman's assertion. I can see why some people would think a change in hostile casualties might impact whether an event can be called a "success" but I can't imagine how non-hostile casualties should have any impact on this assessment.

Is there a growing economy? I leave that calculation to others. I've done my bit.


Post a Comment