Economics of Warfare 3

Examining the third lecture from Professor Michael Spagat’s Economics of Warfare course that he gives at Royal Holloway University. It is posted on his blog Wars, Numbers and Human Losses at:

The link to the lecture is here:

This one starts with the war in Kosovo (1998-1999), which was actually a successful invention although very poorly done. It does pick on a constant theme of Dr. Spagat’s, which is how to get the correct counts of actual people killed in the conflicts, including civilians. For those of us who actually try to do things like quantitative analysis of insurgencies (for example America’s Modern Wars)….this is very useful. A lot of other people don’t particularly care, sometimes because a particularly high or low number serves their political agenda (or cosmology).

Starting on slide 11, Dr. Spagat discusses Iraq casualty estimates. This, along with Colombia, were the two areas we discussed with him when we were working on our Iraq and insurgency material (2004-2010). He was one of the few people out there doing work similar to ours. He points out that there were two estimates of deaths in Iraq, one of 150,000 and one of 600,000. Needless to say, the lower one was closer to correct. The higher number got heavily broadcast. This whole section is worth reviewing and remembering for any future conflicts. I like the picture on slide 14.

Sorry about this abstract look at some very sad and gruesome statistics.

P.S. Merry Christmas

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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