Thursday, March 5, 2009

Math phobia

This is the kind of number that scares even me: 180,000 to 360,000 traumatic brain injuries, mainly concussions, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The costs of caring for these troops is going to be immense, as my college classmate Linda Bilmes has documented and estimated at a time when I'm sure the projected cost was lower.

In the long run, we'll spend much, much more on these injuries than on Obama's stimulus plan, even if you measure it in present value as you should.

One thing concerns me: We have this vague 10% to 20% rate of injury released by the Pentagon. It appears to be the same rate "determined" by Rand Corp., updated to the now-greater cohort.

Why don't we have a more precise rate? We can't be happy with the implied error bar. Isn't anyone trying to get better data?

Or is this another fundamental refusal of the Bushists to even look at what they don't want to see? Now, that's a phobia.

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