NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Putting combat losses in context

John Hinderaker at Power Line has some thoughts on casualities in time of war and peace.
Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.

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Blogger Frederic Christie said...

I should just put as my signature: The Right isn't paying attention. In fact, leftists regularly ask for enhanced safety regulations everywhere that conservatives oppose; regularly ask that the military not pander to its members' homophobic prejudices, which conservatives oppose; regularly ask that the military reduce its culture of patriarchy, which leads to soldier's rape; etc.

The honest left (Chomsky, say) also says loudly that the death of American troops, while a tragedy, should not be what inspires our resistance. It's those 100,000 innocent Iraqis (not to mention the millions killed by sanctions and DU and, reaching further, tens of thousands killed by Saddam and the Ba'ath under the CIA's eager eye).

But it is one thing to die as an accident on the job, quite another to die in a rich man's imperialist war. The latter would have been prevented by the slightest amount of courage on the part of Congress.

Wed Aug 24, 11:41:00 AM PDT  

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