November 22, 2005

MSM Headlines

A headline proclaims "Iraq Bomber Kills 17; U.S. Toll at 2,100"

So we've lost 2,100 troops in Iraq since we invaded. Let's do a little comparison.

In Washington D.C. the FBI estimates there were 45.9 murders per 100,000 people in 2002. According to Wikipedia the population in D.C. is 553.523 (an estimate for 2004). That works out to around 254 murders for 2002 based on the estimated population from 2004.

The u.S. invaded Iraq in March of 2003. That was 2 years & 8 months ago. So for 32 months we've lost 2,100 Americans in Iraq. In D.C. I estimate we've lost 677 people since March of 2003. That's a little over 3 times less than we've lost in Iraq.

But now here's the thing to really focus on: D.C. was not invaded! There is no war in D.C. No opposing forces battling each other. & D.C. is a city - not a country! We're talking ten square miles that's the seat of our own freakin' national government!

It's not an apples to apples comparison. In fact to get the raw numbers of deaths that we have in Iraq we'd have to add Chicago (estimated 1,698 murders since March of 2003) to D.C.'s numbers (for a grand total of 2,375). If we wanted to get really crazy we could throw in NYC (estimated 1,590) which would bring the total for all three cities to 3,965 murders since March of 2003.

So the three cities in the u.S. with the worst gun control laws have had more murders since March of 2003 than we've had deaths of u.S. troops in Iraq.

Again, none of the u.S. cities cited above has been invaded or is in a state of war, occupation, rebellion, uprising, or any other sort of mass civil unrest. & while have a combined area of about 1,583 square kilometers I wouldn't say that compared to Iraq's 437,000 square kilometers. Likewise the population of the three cities combined is 25,372,628. Iraq has around 26,074,906. So similar populations with the three cities having much less area, yet those three cities have accounted for more u.S. lives than a country that's been at war (in varying degrees) for the last 32 months.

The MSM chooses to pronounce that Iraq has been where 2,100 Americans have died, yet they don't keep track of the greater numbers of murders in just 3 u.S. cities. Hell, Chicago & D.C. have had more American deaths than Iraq has in the same time & that's just two cities.

Oh, I should point out (as the AP story does toward the middle) that of those 2,100 about 1,638 have died as a result of hostile actions. That'd leave 432 dead from other causes, such as accidents, illness, etc... If you noticed that in Chicago all by itself there were more murders than deaths of u.S. troops in Iraq due to hostile actions you'd be over-qualified to be a reporter.

For more positive news on Iraq (as well as more accurate) than you'll get from the MSM I suggest visiting Michael Yon. For a more positive take on D.C., NYC, or Chicago the MSM is just fine. Far be it from them to point out that three cities in the u.S. have had more murders than we've lost troops in Iraq in the same period of time. & you know you won't see them mention that the three cities with the worst gun control aren't as safe as a country experiencing war (though to be fair NYC has a very low murder rate as of late, but that's in no way attributable to its gun control laws).

Note: I took the FBI's murder rates per 100,000 for each city then computed that with the population estimates to arrive at my figures. As with all such methods it should not be taken as solidly as an actual body count from each year from each city (as these things do vary) but it does give enough of an estimate to work with. I simply don't have the time (an estimated 30 to 45 minutes) to track down comparable totals for the 32 months in question from each city. But I'd be surprised if my estimates were much different than the actual totals would be.

Also even one American lost is a sad event. I mean in no way to disparage the loss of our countrymen whether it be in service to the country or as a victim of crime. I hope that by tossing out such figures casually it is not taken to be disrespectful of the deceased, but merely illustrative of my point.

Posted by Publicola at November 22, 2005 03:36 PM | TrackBack

Take a look at the figures for US casualties in WWI - were were only in "the great war" for about 18 months. Or look at the Ardennes offensive - Battle of the Bulge.... That lasted about 6 weeks. Were they worth it?

Posted by: Zendo Deb at November 24, 2005 09:27 AM

You make good points...however, I would argue that the 2100 deaths in Iraq are a much greater loss to the United states than the vast majority of murders in the US.

Most murders occur when violent criminals (primarily drug dealers and gang members) kill other violent criminals.

The murders in DC, NYC and Chicago actually serve to improve the general societal makeup of the US, whereas every death in Iraq deprives our society of an upstanding, honorable, patriotic citizen.

In terms of raw numbers, you make a very valid comparison...however in terms of the detrimental effect to the US, it is not even in the same league...granted, that has nothing to do with the MSM's ignoring of the issue...but strictly from my standpoint, I don't worry too much about the murder rates in large cities. Frankly, its just no big loss.

Posted by: Curtis Stone at December 1, 2005 08:18 AM

Let me make sure I understand this argument. You are using the total murder rate for Washington, DC and comparing that to the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq to demonstrate that Iraq is really no more dangerous that Washington, DC. Correct?

Question: How many Iraqi soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the last 32 months? Answer: Several hundred.
Question: How many Iraqi police have been killed in Iraq in the last 32 months? Answer: Several hundred.
Question: How many Iraqi citizens have been killed in Iraq in the last 32 months? Answer: Tens of thousands. Bush said himself two days ago "about 30,000".
Question: How many non-Iraqi citizens (journalists, aid workers, UN workers, etc.) have been killed in Iraq in the last 32 months? Answer: Several hundred.

This argument relies on people who don't really want to know the truth and don't care to use their own brains to think. It is really a very flawed (and meaningless) comparison.

Additionally, I don't recall the last time anyone was blown up by a truck bomb, blown up by an RPG, or be-headed with a machete in Washington, DC. I'm pretty sure that has never happened while I have been living here (13 years).

Posted by: Brian in DC at December 15, 2005 02:20 PM

The headlines routinely count only the number of Americans killed in iraq, yet they ignore the number of americans killed in certain u.S. cities. This isn't because the numbers are disproportionate - if anything more americans are killed in three u.s. cities than in Iraq - but it's because they have blinders on to some things.

Of course it's not an apples to apples comparison, but it does show that something other than raw numbers causes such headlines.

& btw, despite not having to deal with truck bombs or IED's D.C. people still get killed. Personally it doesn't matter how folks get killed - a truck bomb can leave a person just as dead as a gunshot can - it's why they're killed that matters (& in what context).

& I do recall a gang based or started out of latin america that was (& presumably still is) pretty active int he DC area who did use machetes to stress their side of an argument. Don't recall if beheading was one of their preferred methods, but I wouldn't disocunt that there have in fact been beheadings in DC in the last decade, though for presumably different reasons than the ones that occur in Iraq.

Posted by: Publicola at December 15, 2005 07:01 PM
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