February 20, 2007

So who's counting?

For those of you who want to blame Bush for the astronomical number of dead US men and women fighting in a war overseas, you might want to see how many soldiers were killed when we weren't at war:

The total military dead in the Iraq war between 2003 and this month stands at about 3,133. This is tragic, as are all deaths due to war, and we are facing a cowardly enemy unlike any other in our past that hides behind innocent citizens. Each death is blazoned in the headlines of newspapers and Internet sites. What is never compared is the number of military deaths during the Clinton administration: 1,245 in 1993; 1,109 in 1994; 1,055 in 1995; 1,008 in 1996. That's 4,417 deaths in peacetime but, of course, who's counting?

Link via Jonah.

Update: Even more perspective:


You asked for more information on military deaths. Here is a table of all military deaths, broken down by cause, over the 25 year period 1980-2004. This includes all active duty and reservists.

The gist is that soldiers are more likely to die from accidents than hostile action (combat and terrorist actions combined). The death count from accidents has been lower than the death count from hostile action. The fall in accidental deaths is greater than the increase in deaths by hostile action.

Note that there were far more military deaths in 1980, the last year of Carter's presidency, than any year of the current administration. The death rate was, also, higher. This was because of lower standards and less care in training.

The bottom line is that we're fighting this war with lower casualties than that expected from normal training accidents in a peacetime army. You should be embarassed that you didn't know this. It's a testiment to the near universal innumeracy and incompetence of the journalism profession that most journalists haven't even seriously considered looking at basic statistics and putting things in context 5 1/2 years after 9/11.

Posted by Physics Geek at February 20, 2007 01:35 PM | TrackBack StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!