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War by the numbers

While the full narrative account of the air war in Iraq is still probably years away, hundreds of bits and pieces have surfaced in an Air Force report that lists everything from the number of bombs and missiles dropped through mid April (29,199) to the number of Meals Ready to Eat transported into the Iraqi theater of operations (3,186,504).

The document, "Operation Iraqi Freedom _ By The Numbers," is a statistician's dream, showing that the Air Force is about as proficient at collecting data as it is at destroying targets with 22 types of guided munitions and six different "dumb bombs."

The 16-page report also contains a bevy of slightly weird factoids:

The number of leaflets dropped on Iraq, 31.8-million, would make 120,454 rolls of toilet paper.

The amount of money spent, $917,744,361.55, equates to 46 minutes, 10.5 seconds of the U.S. gross domestic product for the year 2001.

And the amount of jet fuel consumed, 417,137,233 pounds, would keep a Boeing 737-300 airborne for 11.9 years.

Finally, the report includes a list of "airpower firsts," including the first simultaneous use of B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers and the first use of the Navy's newest fighter, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, in combat. It was the first time the fighter plane was also used as a tanker.

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