In fact, Iraq's GDP has varied greatly since the 2003 invasion. It climbed 46.5 percent in 2004, after having fallen 41.4 percent in 2003, according to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index (PDF). In other words, though 6 percent would constitute significant growth for a developed nation like the United States, it is nearly meaningless for a country that's experienced as much turmoil as has Iraq.
And even if the figure had been more impressiveâtwo or three times its reported valueâit might still be irrelevant to the great majority of Iraqis, who don't benefit from government salaries or oil industry profits.
"The IMF likes to use macroeconomic aggregates, but these are pretty irrelevant for today's Iraq," says Robert E. Looney, a professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School who has written widely on developing economies. He cautions against putting too much stock in Crocker's numbers. "The figures are all over the place."