Obsessed with the defeat

Obsessed with the defeat

Over the weekend you undoubtedly saw that US military forces in Iraq passed the 3,000 dead milestone in the nearly 4 years of combat operations there. Other stories told us that December was the deadliest month in 2006 for troop deaths. The AP tells us that either 16,273—or 2,500 less than that (depending on who’s doing the counting)—Iraqis died violent deaths in 2006.

It all sounds so awful, doesn’t it? Certainly the death of single American soldier, Marine, airman, or sailor is a tragedy as is the death of any innocent person. But does a simple body count tell the whole story? Are wars won by constantly drumming into the heads of everyone that we’re losing, we’re losing, we’re losing? Let’s look at the other side of those numbers.

Yes, December was the deadliest month, but what they didn’t tell you was that overall troop deaths were down in 2006. In other words fewer of our soldiers are dying over there. So why wasn’t that the headline? Because it doesn’t have the requisite doom-and-gloom anti-war anti-Bush ring to it.

Similarly, Jules Crittenden points out that while somewhere between 13,000 and 16,000 Iraqis died violently in 2006, that’s down from previous estimates of between 100,000 and 200,000 in the years between 2003 and 2005.

So why not focus on the decline? Again, probably because to do so would be to admit that things are improving, not worsening. You can’t blame Bush if conditions are improving.

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1 comment
  • Our local paper called the 3000 figure a “grim milestone”, though in what context? Were 3000 dead in WWI or WWII too a grim milestone too?

    Or is the whole numbers game a media contrived factoid to cover their behinds for their lack of substance?

    In my opinion, a good number in the media are and have been against the war for political reasons. Their coverage has been disappointing, and coupled with reporting on science, medicine and religion—to name a few more examples—, shows for me that they are not very credible or reliable.