Monday, August 29, 2005

Body Counts

Once again this weekend, I encountered the cloudy argument that the Iraq quagmire (fighting for freedom from a WMD-wielding, Kurd-murdering, hand-chopping tyrant) is in no way similar to the Vietnam quagmire (fighting to defend a Catholic ally against a godless communist invader) because we have lost only slightly over 1,800 Americans in Iraq compared to more than 50,000 (47,000+ hostile casualities and nearly 11,000 others) in Vietnam.

Therefore, we should not "cut and run." Just look at the numbers! We're doing really well there. Why are you Cindy Sherman huggers so upset?

If this loses something in translation, trust me, it gains nothing in the original.

But if you look at U.S. casualties in the first four years of our engagement in Vietnam (1961-65), the number killed in action is 1,864.

Let's compare journalist deaths. According to Reporters Without Borders 66 journalists and their aides have been killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, compared to 63 journalists killed over 20 years of conflict in Vietnam.

I can't find statistics on American human rights workers killed in Vietnam, but it's likely that more women like Marla Ruzicka and Fern Holland are dying in the current conflict.

Differences between the conflicts? Certainly. For example, Lyndon Johnson hated what the Vietnam war did to derail his Great Society consensus in Congress, while the current commander in chief's domestic policy is based on demanding consensus for his war in Iraq.


Blogger Charlie Quimby said...

Here's a link to more detailed Iraq casualty data for those who care.

Also, with the high proportion of civilian contractors carrying on quasi-military functions in Iraq, "the number of civilian contractor deaths in Iraq amounts to almost 20 percent of the number of military deaths" according to CorpWatch.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Joerg said...

"I can't find statistics on American human rights workers killed in"

Me neither. Please let me know if you find any.

Marla has been killed nearly six months ago. Any tributes scheduled for October 16th?

Anyway, I like your blog. At the Atlantic Review we try to bridge the transatlantic divide by attempting to review and recommend press articles on the US in a critical but fair way.

1:09 AM  

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