Technorati Tags: U.S. deaths in Iraq, Iraqi deaths in Iraq, 9/11, war, terrorism, civilians, soldiers
Americans know exactly how many Americans have been killed, but are wildly off the mark when asked to estimate Iraqi deaths in the war:
Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000 and could be much higher; some unofficial estimates range into the hundreds of thousands. The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reports more than 34,000 deaths in 2006 alone.
Among those polled for the AP survey, however, the median estimate of Iraqi deaths was 9,890. The median is the point at which half the estimates were higher and half lower.
Then there's the kind of respondent I like to call "Mr./Ms. Dictionary":
“You have to look at who’s doing the killing,” said Neal Crawford, a restaurant manager in Suttons Bay, Mich., who guessed that about 10,000 Iraqis had been killed. “If these people are dying because a roadside bomb goes off or if there’s an insurgent attack in a marketplace, it’s an unfortunate circumstance of war — people die.”
As if war were somehow separate from the killing; as if war were some larger, benign enterprise in which people, as an unfortunate side effect, die. Can you imagine treating the deaths of 3,000 people on 9/11 this way? "You have to understand why all those people were jumping out of windows. Planes were being crashed into buildings. It was a terrorist attack. People die in terrorist attacks -- it's unfortunate, but that's what happens in terrorist attacks."
Can you hear the howls? "But that's not the same! Terrorism is a bad thing! Terrorism is about killing people! Killing people is the whole point of terrorism!" Uh ... yeah. And war is about garlands of roses and adorable newborn babies and sipping tea with friends at the Plaza Hotel.