Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.
Today the top story on Digg and in the
coming weeks we will see it more and more is a reference to
the nearing 4000 US military who have been killed in the
This count came off of the left leaning
Huffington Post group of blogs. Now I am pretty much in the
center on most things, so I tend to read things from every
side so of course I keep up with the Huffington Post at
times, as well as conservative blogs, down the middle blogs,
and completely crazy blogs.
The one thing they all have in common is a
maddening use of what many have termed the three kinds of
lies. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.
particular post related to how few Americans could get
right the number of American casualties in Iraq. Turns out
it is around 28% down from about 50% in past polls. The post
is basically a way to talk about how little coverage there
has been of the war lately.
There are several reasons for the lower
coverage that you are not going to hear over the next few
weeks as the number 4000 is reached. Mostly because since
the surge deaths are way down, but that is seen as a
political argument and that is not my point here.
My point is really in reference to the
absurdity of the body count being so low. Put quite simply
this is just a number that no one really relates to anything
in the real world. To be honest when I saw that it was
only 4000 on this long protracted action, I was amazed that
it was that low.
Our military has done an amazing job when
you look at all these numbers is really the only thing they
tell us. They do not make a point about whether we should be
in Iraq or not, they are just an inflammatory tool being
used to make a point. I for one think that denigrates our
Let's take a look at some interesting
4000 Americans killed in 5 years in
*7,000 US troops were killed in the
battle of Iwo Jima in *one month.* In WWII there
were a total of some 291,000 killed in a 4 year period.
*In 2005, 43,443 people died from motor vehicle crashes
in the US
*The 5 year US death rate for complications of medical
and surgical care is 14,415
*Every year approximately 11,000
Americans are killed by assault by firearms with another
200 by sharp object assaults.
year there are 14,900 deaths from accidental falls such
as from ladders, down stairs, over curbs, off buses,
into manholes, and through plate glass windows
That alone is enough to give you pause,
but lets get into the damn liars portion of the program. The
number you are seeing is completely a 100% falsehood to
The actual number of deaths in Iraq due to
the war is actually at 3240 as of March 14th, 2008 the rest
are due to normal accidents as we see in everyday life.
Heart attacks, suicides, the things that happen to us all
every day here also happen there. No one reports the
difference of course as an inflated number is better to make
Here is a more realistic statistical
breakdown from wikipedia.
||Deaths per Day
||Deaths per Population
American Civil War
World War II
World War I
American Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Now this has nothing to do with whether we
should be in Iraq or not, the point is that all concerned
should make their points with facts, not Lies, Damn Lies,
and Statistics. Just using statistics to make your point
treats all your readers as idiots, especially when your
statistics are Damn Lies and really nothing more than