The Corner

Casuality Figures

It’s a bit ghoulish, and perhaps not a hundred percent proper at this stage

of the business, but casualty figures, both civilian and military, need to

be set in context against ordinary peacetime life. For example, the

pictures we have been getting of Baghdad show streets nearly empty of

traffic. It is entirely possible that civilian Iraqi deaths from our war

actions, horrible and regrettable as they are, will be numerically less than

the number that would have died on Iraqi roads in an equivalent peacetime

period. Along the same lines, I recall seeing it pointed out somewhere that

U.S. military casualites in Gulf War I were actually negative. That is,

the military lost fewer personnel than they would normally lose over an

equivalent period due to training accidents, traffic accidents, and the

like. This is of course no comfort to the loved ones of the brave service

personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice this past few days, but it is

something to keep in mind none the less when people throw cold numbers

around.

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