pageok
pageok
pageok
Grim Milestone Reached: US Deaths in Iraq Surpass Worst Month in Vietnam.--

As the War in Iraq approaches its third anniversary on March 20, 2006, U.S. military deaths in Iraq have just passed another grim milestone. The worst month of U.S. military deaths in Vietnam was May 1968: 2,316 lives. The second worst month in Vietnam was February 1968: 2,293 lives.

According to the website ICasualties.org, which tracks U.S. military deaths in Iraq, the total U.S. military deaths in Iraq since March 20, 2003 is 2,317 lives, one more than the worst month in Vietnam. In this count of 2,317 deaths, ICasualties.org includes 5 reported U.S. deaths pending Department of Defense confirmation.

Dylanfa (mail) (www):
This is the dumbest "milestone" I've ever heard of. When you buy a new car do you anxious wait for the portentious moment when the cumulative mileage passes what you put on your old VW during the big cross country road trip of '84 when you were in college?

Absurd.
3.18.2006 12:20pm
cranem:
Hmmmm. Ref: <i>Sarcasim,</i> as in "dripping with".
3.18.2006 12:31pm
yahonza (mail):
The dumbest thing about this dumb "milestone" is saying its "grim." It actually illustrates how much less lethal Iraq is than Vietnam was.

If anything, this is a happy milestone, in that it took a full three years to reach the same number of casualties as in the worst month of Vietnam.

Also, doesn't it show that that three years of war in Iraq is 1/36th as bad as the worst month in Vietnam (sine it took 36 times as long to reach the same number)?
3.18.2006 12:36pm
yahonza (mail):
Ok, maybe my sarcasm meter is off, if it was meant to be sarcastic.
3.18.2006 12:38pm
Gary and the Samoyeds (mail) (www):
How long will it be until the cumulative deaths over 3+ years exceed those killed in one day at Normandy?
3.18.2006 12:41pm
Mobius (mail):
Mmmmm... I always wondered why we don't withdraw from driving cars when almost 40,000 people die on the roads every year. Over 100,000 are injured on the roads every year. One could almost say it's more dangerous for a military member to be driving on the road in L.A. than driving in Iraq. Of course, it's unfair to compare the gangs in L.A. to the gangs in Bagdahd.
3.18.2006 12:45pm
BU2L (mail):
Mobius,

according to a buddy of mine who just came back from there, most insurgents are incompetent with an assault rifle. from what i know of la gang members, they are pretty good, except for that pointing their glocks sideways thing.
3.18.2006 12:47pm
James Lindgren (mail):
I debated whether to turn on comments, since for some reason looking at casualty comparisons tends to bring out deep-seated hostilities.

It is a grim milestone, rather than a happy one, because it involves the loss of lives.

As I wrote when I previously posted casualty comparisons:


I think that the Vietnam v. Iraq casualty number comparison is a bit like a Rorschach test ("The [Rorschah] test is considered `projective' because the patient is supposed to project his or her real personality into the inkblot via the interpretation.')--what people see in the comparison reflects more about them than it does about the facts or my post.

I was posting information because I think that one fact can be understood better in the context of another fact. I was not trying to "comfort" anyone. . . .

I was not making an argument in my post; I thought that people might be surprised and interested by the comparison (as many of my colleagues are, whether they support or oppose the Iraq War). If I were trying to defend the Iraq War in my post, I would have chosen World War II or the Civil War, not Vietnam. I was not.

Indeed, my view is that looking at numbers doesn't answer the basic question whether a war is worth the cost, and that the cost in lives for a war is not necessarily positively related to its benefits. I certainly didn't suggest this argument or any other in my post . . . .

Jim Lindgren
3.18.2006 12:48pm
James Lindgren (mail):

Mobius wrote:

How long will it be until the cumulative deaths over 3+ years exceed those killed in one day at Normandy?



I don't know. How many US lives were lost on the first day at Normandy?
3.18.2006 12:52pm
Argle (mail):
Would you make a similar post about how the number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks was just a drop in the ocean compared to a bad quarter in Vietnam?

I debated whether to turn on comments, since for some reason looking at casualty comparisons tends to bring out deep-seated hostilities.

Especially when they are presented in an ambiguous and context-free way. If you have a point about what these numbers mean, if anything, then come out and say it.
3.18.2006 12:54pm
BU2L (mail):
Argle,

So to you, the ink blot looks like an attempt to minimize Iraqi casualties? I admit, it did to me too. But to be sure, context was absent for the reason that prof Lindgren described in his post, not to get our respective panties in a bunch.
3.18.2006 12:59pm
BU2L (mail):
Iraqi casualties= US casualties in Iraq war


...sorry
3.18.2006 1:00pm
Mobius (mail):
James,

That was Gary et.al. that posted the D-Day comment. But about 73,000 US soldiers landed the shores of Normandy; the number of deaths are about 1500.
3.18.2006 1:04pm
Dave 944 (mail):
So what? Why do people think they are imparting useful information here? Maybe you would like to compare the number of persons killed by automobile accidents in the US since the beginning of the Iraq War with the number of combat deaths of in Iraq. I guess there is about a one hundred to one ratio. So, going to Iraq is way safer than driving your car.
Also, what is the actual casualty rate or percentage of deaths for troops going there? I think it must be considerably less than 1%, though this is not publicized. Statistics from the Vietnam War show that the death rate in combat was 0.5% and in WWII combat deaths were 2.5 % for a total of 292,131 combat deaths plus 115,185 other deaths such as POW camp deaths, exposure and accidents.
When I was in highs school there were 200 kids in the class, and 4 died over the four years, auto accidents, medical things, etc. Going to high school was more dangerous than being in the Iraq War. These war deaths are tragic and there are many substantive issues we must face here but the obsessive focus on parsing, and comparing them is getting old
3.18.2006 1:14pm
Mobius (mail):
Just as a history note, the U.S. landed the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions, 101st and 82nd Airborne, and the V and VII Corps in the Normandy Invasion.

Numbers of actual deaths are hard to come by since there was so much chaos. But to give a glimpse of the cost of the landing, after 24 hours, only 2,500 of the 6,000 men in 101st had assembled in Sainte-Mère-Église.
3.18.2006 1:17pm
Enoch:
How many US lives were lost on the first day at Normandy?

Total Allied casualties on D-Day are estimated at 10,000, including 2500 dead. British casualties on D-Day have been estimated at approximately 2700. The Canadians lost 946 casualties. The US forces lost 6603 men.

doesn't it show that that three years of war in Iraq is 1/36th as bad as the worst month in Vietnam (sine it took 36 times as long to reach the same number)?

You have to normalize for there being significantly lower troop levels in Iraq compared to Vietnam.
3.18.2006 1:17pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Argle,

Actually, before I was a blogger, I put together an email that compared 9/11 deaths to casualties in other entire US wars, an analysis that was picked up by several bloggers. So comparing 9/11 to a quarter in Vietnam might indeed have been an interesting comparison to make (though I did not make it).

Much of my scholarship involves empirical studies in highly controversial fields, where I often take no explicit normative position. I think that debates can be improved by looking at comparisons of numbers, but I often leave each person to draw their own normative conclusions. I believe that the numbers can be meaningful both to people who would agree with any normative arguments I might make and to those who would disagree with them.

It is not that there are no normative arguments that can be drawn from these data, just that one doesn't always have to express those views at every step of the way.

In case you are wondering, I still favor the war in Iraq, but whether the fearsome loss of life will be wasted (as it was IMO in Vietnam) turns on whether the war is ultimately a success, which is highly uncertain.
3.18.2006 1:26pm
Ragz (mail):
It's worth noting that in 1968, the US had 536,100 troops in Vietnam, about 4.5 times the max number of troops we've had in Iraq (I'm using the number 150,000 which should be close to an average).
3.18.2006 1:28pm
Robert Cote (mail) (www):
Wow, at this rate it'll be only another 27 years before we match the American combined causalties of Sept 17, 1862.
3.18.2006 1:29pm
Ragz (mail):
Typo above.. should read "3.5 times the number of troops we've had in Iraq"
3.18.2006 1:30pm
Visitor Again:
Just as an empirical matter, without making any argument or taking any explicit normative position, what were the U.S. military deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945?
3.18.2006 1:56pm
Ken Arromdee (mail):
I think that debates can be improved by looking at comparisons of numbers, but I often leave each person to draw their own normative conclusions.

I find that leaving out conclusions and letting the reader draw his own is often done by people who wish to disingenuously imply fallacious conclusions, while knowing very well the conclusions are fallacious. If you are not such a person, you should realize that it's not unexpected when you're mistaken for one.

I think that the Vietnam v. Iraq casualty number comparison is a bit like a Rorschach test

Well, of course, since you add the qualifier "a bit", but there's an important difference between this and a Rorschach test: this one takes place in an environment where other people take political stands. One's opinion on what the figures are supposed to mean may not reflect one's perception of the war in Iraq, but rather one's perception of *reaction* to the war in Iraq. If the butterfly industry kept bombarding us with pictures of inkblots that were called butterflies, and you showed me an inkblot, I'd be inclined to say you meant it as a butterfly, even if I don't personally think it looks much like one.
3.18.2006 2:02pm
Been There, Done That:
The ratio of wounded to killed has increased rapidly, due to improvements in body armor and medical care.

That also means the numbers of maimed, disfigured, and horribly debilitated men in their late teens and early twenties is staggering. In the Vietnam era, many of these would have been dead.

It's great they're alive now rather than dead, but if you're looking for a "lives devastated" comparison, it is closer than you think.

In any event, it is hard to look at this body count, what we have to show for it, and rationally conclude that the war is not a horrible mistake that must be ended at once. Enough is enough. Killing and maiming more of our boys won't make us safer. Likely it will weaken us further.
3.18.2006 2:18pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Been There, Done That you might have a point.

According to the website given there have been 16,653 wounded.
3.18.2006 2:51pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Recall also that the Pentagon officially does not even count the number of Iraqis killed by Coalition forces. Lack of interest?
3.18.2006 4:03pm
Tocqueville:
This is without a doubt the most inane post I've ever seen here at the Volokh Conspiracy. I cannot think of anything more contrived, more brazenly polemical, more clearly tortured than the bizarre "point" Lindgren is trying to cram down our throats here.
3.18.2006 4:10pm
abb3w:
It's an inane comparison (cumulative versus differential?), but suggests to my mind the a more interesting one. Posit a graph; X axis, time since the start of the Vietnam conflict; Y axis, time since the start of the current Iraq war. Draw an curve representing equifatality levels, where US fatalities in Vietnam at time X equal US fatalities in Iraq at time Y. What's the shape of the curve?
3.18.2006 4:23pm
Maniakes (mail) (www):
I'd like to see some sort of breakdown on severity of wounds. "Wounded" can mean anything from quadruple amputees down to cuts and bruises.

The most detail I could find was here:
http://icasualties.org/oif/

As of March 15,
9212 wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours.
7912 wounded and did not return to duty within 72 hours.
3.18.2006 4:26pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Tocqueville, what side of the bed did you wake up on this morning?

Facts are facts. My initial reaction was that Lindgren was downplaying the seriousness of the death toll---"big deal, 3 years in and we've finally had a bad month in Vietnam."

Yet people are taking his post exactly the opposite way.

How is ANYTHING being crammed down your throat.
3.18.2006 4:28pm
Hugo Black (mail):
If anything, this is a happy milestone ...

Well, since it is safer to be in Iraq than going to high school or driving a car, and the war is vital to American interests, why do you suppose military recruiting numbers down?

And, on what basis can we call what the soldiers are doing in Iraq "brave" or a "sacrifice," if it requires more courage to get in the car and drive on the US interstate?
3.18.2006 4:38pm
margate (mail):
Jim Lindgren said:

In case you are wondering, I still favor the war in Iraq, but whether the fearsome loss of life will be wasted (as it was IMO in Vietnam) turns on whether the war is ultimately a success, which is highly uncertain.


What exactly do you mean by "ultimately a success"? How are you measuring success? We won the so-called ground war in a few weeks. We definitely won the WMD battle, as there were none. All that's left is "spreading democracy to the middle east."

How exactly do you measure "democracy"? Elections alone? Elections and free speech? Elections, free speech, and freedom of religion? A free press? Separation of church and state?

How 'bout freedom from eavesdropping or physicial searches in the name of combatting terror? The right to own guns? No quartering of troops? Due process and jury trial?

Just exactly how are you measuring success? And across what geographical boundaries?

Here in America, a perfectly good excerise of political speech was recently called treason -- that being Feingold's censure resolution, as characterized by Wayne Allard. That's a perfect example of the destruction of democratic values, regardless of what you think of Feingold's resolution -- scream traitor when the president is challenged for his policy decisions.

Where's the line for success in Iraq, and the greater middle east, Jim?
3.18.2006 4:45pm
ras (mail):
margate,

The line for success, I think - histrionics aside, please - is that Islam now gets a chance to join the modern world rather than warring upon it. This is a victory in itself, as the death toll would be far higher otherwise, albeit the measures are subjective for each of us and opinions will vary.

Nonetheless, we will all, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, learn whether or not Islam is compatible with democracy and/or modernity, esp in an Arab country and culture. Can it adapt? Or, now in an era of WMDs, will it become an existential battle? Iraq will provide the single most important answer to that q.
3.18.2006 5:07pm
Guest44 (mail):
This is a silly post. X per month = Y per 3 years matters why?
3.18.2006 5:32pm
John (mail):
I'm not given to hyperbole, but this really was a dopey post. The loss of lives is of course grim. But what, exactly, is the information imparted by this particular comparison? That 3 years in Iraq is as dangerous as a bad month in Vietnam? What the hell does that mean? If the wars were fought the same way it might suggest that we know how to fight the same war more safely, I suppose, but they weren't, so, again, what is this post supposed to tell us?
3.18.2006 5:38pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
This is an absurd post, and milestone made up by JL.

Please take note that the smaller casualty rate in Iraq (as opposed to 'Nam) is largely due to ADVANCES IN MILITARY MEDICINE; not success of our military operations (lead by a bunch of incompetent rubes who should be thrown in a brig for destroying American credibility abroad with this horrid disaster of a war).

As to the statement above that "If anything, this is a happy milestone," I would like to have a long talk with that commenter. Then I would refer him the families of the tens of thousands of dead and maimed soldiers to explain to them why they should be happy. What a disgusting person; sitting at home saying such a thing when he has probably never done jack for this country.
3.18.2006 5:39pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Further to the commenter who said this should be a "happy milestone" -- whether you agree with this war or not, there are tens of thousands of people dead (including Iraqis) and multiples of that maimed. THIS IS NOT A PLAYSTATION VIDEOGAME. You ought to apologize to yourself and all those who had read your comment.
3.18.2006 5:41pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
"why do you suppose military recruiting numbers down? "

Because the side that actually bothers to fight in a public relations war tends to eventually win. I can't for the life of me recall a wartime President who had less interest in actually going before the public and explaining why we were at war.
3.18.2006 5:41pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
That also means the numbers of maimed, disfigured, and horribly debilitated men in their late teens and early twenties is staggering. In the Vietnam era, many of these would have been dead.

Bingo.

Jim Lindgren, you often mention your teenage daughter here. Questions:

1. Would you advise her to join the army and go to Iraw? if not, why not?

2. Why do you support this war if you are willing to let the poor do your dirty work and come back maimed but wouldn't let your daughter come back without an arm and a leg for "freedom"? Hypocrite.

3.18.2006 5:46pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Ras -- you sound like Lenin or Stalin telling us that now those in Eastern Europe "get a chance" to live without the bourgoisie and in a society with the evils of private property. Please. Give up your little neo-communist dreams of spreading "democracy" to the world in a little utopian fantasy. Young people's lives and limbs are not worth your little wet dream of a fantasy that you conjured up while masterbating to World of Warcraft III or whatever. . . .
3.18.2006 5:50pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Brett: I can't for the life of me recall a wartime President who had less interest in actually going before the public and explaining why we were at war.

Inferences: (1) Bush doesn't actually know why--it just seemed like a good idea at the time. (2) Bush knows, but believes that "the public can't handle the truth," where said truth = X. (3) Bush knows, but is indifferent to recruiting.

I suspect (1) is the case, but would be interested in candidates for X.
3.18.2006 5:55pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
"You have to normalize for there being significantly lower troop levels in Iraq compared to Vietnam."

Why normalize for that only? Why not normalize on the populations being subdued, or on the number of individuals in the opposing army, or the number of insurgents? What about normalizing on the ratio of combat personel.

If I use 10 people to subdue 1 I should expect less harm to my own side then if I use 1 person to subdue 10. Not only that but you have to take terrain and weapons into account. What about ten armed people against one unarmed, or vice versa. What if the ten people are hiding in a jungle vs. out in the open sands of Iraq.

Just wondering how any of these statisics make any sense.
3.18.2006 6:32pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Lindgren:

It is a grim milestone, rather than a happy one, because it involves the loss of lives.

Au contraire, mon ami! As has been argued quite adequately by my predecessors on this thread, this tally is no more a "milestone" than that it was Greg Norman's record number of days as #1 pro golfer (until he was passed by Tiger Woods). Further, it is not "grim" at all; it is something to celebrate! We should celebrate because, almost to a person, those heroes died doing something they loved and believed in.

As well, it is to be celebrated because it is such a small price to pay for the sea-change in Middle East geopolitics, and human rights, it has effected. Indeed, with all the "mother of all battles" and "battle-hardened Iraqi troops" spin we got from the MSM going into this thing, had we lost "only" 2317 on the initial push to Baghdad, the nation would have breathed a collective sigh or relief.

Kevin L. Connors, Editor
The Daily Brief
3.18.2006 6:46pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Please take note that the smaller casualty rate in Iraq (as opposed to 'Nam) is largely due to ADVANCES IN MILITARY MEDICINE; not success of our military operations

Crazy Train, interesting and believable conjecture. Care to back it up with statistics? Do you mean to tell me that we are getting the same number of casualities with regard to types of injury but that we have more survivors. That is, 100 people with their left leg blown off means say 25 dead in Vietnam vs. 1 dead in Iraq? You have the actual statistics to back this up?

Note that the same sort of argument could be made for terrain, and other factors. That is, "We are far superior now vs. back then, therefore," followed by your other statement, "(lead by a bunch of incompetent rubes who should be thrown in a brig for destroying American credibility abroad with this horrid disaster of a war."

BTW, we had no "credibility" abroad before this conflict. Credibility seems not to buy us anything anyway. I'm not sure I want credibility with a bunch of countries taking oil-for-food bribes in the first place.

The reason I think we had so many bandwagoners in the first phase of the Iraqi war with Buss Senior vs. the second with Junior is because they saw an opportunity to make a buck with the first invasion, but saw lost revenue and exposure with the second.
3.18.2006 6:47pm
vet (mail):
Some here may wish to bookmark the following sites...

Info on *evacuated* (does not include RTD (Returned to Duty)) US Army Soldiers:
evacuated

Info on the "mostly the poor fill the ranks" (note, additional info available on this from the third link):
demographics

Info on recruiting numbers for January 2006 (this one also has links to the "minorities suffer the greatest casualties" argument:


For those who are interested in the continuing education *required* of US military members:


US Army professional writing:


To quote Mark Twain(?), "First get your facts. Then you can distort them at your leisure."
3.18.2006 6:53pm
vet (mail):
Well, shucks.
screwed that one up! I'll try posting the links again when I figure this out.
Apologies for wasting the bandwidth.
3.18.2006 6:55pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Anderson,

Recall also that the Pentagon officially does not even count the number of Iraqis killed by Coalition forces. Lack of interest?

Err. probably not. We counted war casualities in Vietnam and were accused of essentially cutting notches on the butts of our guns for that. So it's a lose-lose situation no matter what we do. If a terrorist blows up a mosque that counts as a casualty we caused even if we didn't want it, we did our best to prevent it, someone else did it, and someone else wanted it.

The only casuality figures that should count are the people we purposely target, and those civilians we could reasonably not have killed given the combat situations.

Since in the past counting those figures was turned into a political problem I really see no need to keep them.

Even in this war the numbers are being twisted. Casualities of prisoners in the field are being reported as if these were people in holding cells. There's a big difference between a prisoner getting killed in a combat zone as you are trying to get him back to a prisoner camp than ones killed while locked up.
3.18.2006 6:58pm
vet (mail):
This should do it.

Info on *evacuated* (does not include RTD (Returned to Duty)) US Army Soldiers:
evacuated

Info on the "mostly the poor fill the ranks" (note, additional info available on this from the third link):
demographics

Info on recruiting numbers for January 2006 (this one also has links to the "minorities suffer the greatest casualties" argument:
recruiting numbers

For those who are interested in the continuing education *required* of US military members:
continuing education

US Army professional writing:
professional writing

To quote Mark Twain(?), "First get your facts. Then you can distort them at your leisure."
3.18.2006 7:03pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Macker: Since in the past counting those figures was turned into a political problem I really see no need to keep them.

Ah. The triumph of politics.
3.18.2006 7:07pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
How about these figures:

Total military casualties under Clinton's first term from Jan 1993 to Dec 1996 inclusive, vs. Bush's first term from Jan 2001 to Dec 2004 (which includes the Iraq war) is interesting. Those numbers are Clinton's 4302 dead during peacetime vs. Bushe's 5187 dead during war.

In fact more people died under Clinton due to accidents, 2241, than died under Bush due to hostile action, 1102, during those periods.

These are incredible numbers. If instead of going to war with Iraq in response to 9/11 we had merely doubled the size of our army and stayed home, then we would have suffered about twice the number of military deaths. Yes, the increased amount would have been double. Instead of going from around 4000 to 5000, the result would have been from around 4000 to 6000.
3.18.2006 7:36pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Hugo Black,
... why do you suppose military recruiting numbers down?

Care to back up that with actual figures. Seems to me that the newspapers were reporting a deficit in recruiting numbers right up until the point that the military exceeded their recruiting targets, at which point they stopped reporting these figures.

I find if funny how people who like to compare this war to Vietnam like to bring up [false or no] recruiting numbers. Duh, there was a draft during Vietnam.
3.18.2006 7:48pm
Thomas Roland (mail):
Brian Macker has the bestest response. I love it.
3.18.2006 8:05pm
Justin (mail):
"As well, it is to be celebrated because it is such a small price to pay for the sea-change in Middle East geopolitics, and human rights, it has effected."

Is Mr. Connors kidding or not? ::confused::
3.18.2006 8:33pm
SenatorX (mail):
I thought it was a great blog! I thought the way Jim framed the data was either a) sign that he was a complete moron and really did think that this "grim milestone" was an IMPORTANT one in and of itself or b) he is aware of the interpretive nature of comparing stats (therefore the controversial nature) and so he FRAMED the blog to specifically for this reason.

Maybe he was bored?
Maybe he wants to see the variety of commenter opinions
Maybe he wanted readers to think about comparisons of Iraq and Vietnam in order to change their perspective?
Maybe he is collecting stats on something else (Like our responses...)?
Or all of the above in various proportions and more!

Context of the stats matters. By putting these stats in such a jarring context he ensures responses. Of course if his goal was to say "look at all the deaths in Iraq! It's like Vietnam over there!" he would fail horribly by framing the stats like he did, which is why putting Jim in context is important. If he was some raving moron drunk in a bar it would be one thing... So anyway I think Bravo to the blog and I would like more stat/context puzzles.

Brian’s latest is interesting also. I have to go now but I will look over that data and it would be fun to guess what that means.
3.18.2006 8:58pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Vet,

OK, so now I have the first numbers needed to check up on CrazyTrains claims.

These numbers represent persons treated in Army hospitals. They represent numbers of persons sustaining the loss of hands, feet, arms and/or legs; they do not include the loss of fingers and/or toes.

248 Army soldiers, 43 of whom are multiple amputees
85 Marines, 14 of whom are multiple amputees
7 Navy sailors, 1 of whom is a multiple amputee
5 Air Force amputees, 1 of whom is a multiple amputee
Total of 345 service member amputees treated in Army hospitals


Now lets say 100 people had a leg blown off in Vietnam and the same in Iraq. According to Crazy train for Iraq we should have something like 98 amputees and 2 dead, whereas for Vietnam we should have like 25 amputees and 75 dead. In other words if the both wars lead to the same number of casualies and the only difference is in the quality of medicine then we should expect numbers much less than this from Vietnam. We should have less than 345 amputees that came back from Vietnam.

Taking this article at it's word the number of war dead in the worst month of Vietnam was 2,316 which is one less than the total for the entire three years of Iraq.

Since the total number of amputees from Iraq is 345, Crazy trains claims are false with regards to amputees. Even if the medicine had been useless and every amputee had died then the total American deaths in Iraq would have only risen from 2,317 to 2,662.

According to this site:
During 15 years of military involvement, over 2 million Americans served in Vietnam with 500,000 seeing actual combat. 47,244 were killed in action, including 8000 airmen. There were 10,446 non-combat deaths. 153,329 were seriously wounded, including 10,000 amputees. Over 2400 American POWs/MIAs were unaccounted for as of 1973.


So the ratio of amputees to deaths during Vietnam is around 10,000/47,244 or 21%. What about Iraq, well that would be 345/2,317 or 14%. I wouldn't call this an improvement. What the heck is he talking about. Vietnam saw 5 times as many dead than amputated yet now we have around 7 times as many dead than amputated.

At those rates if we shot ever amputee like a wounded horse we would get...
Worst month of vietnam 2,316 * 1.21 = 2802 dead
vs.
Entire 3 years of Iraq 2,317 * 1.14 = 2641 dead

Note that if we talk averages there was:
Vietnam 3149 dead and 666 amputees per year.
Iraq 772 dead and 115 amputees per year

If we ran with Crazy Trains assumptions and adjusted for differences in medical outcomes then at a 21% rate then the deaths per year would have droped by 71 and the numbers for Iraq would have split:
Iraq 701 dead and 186 amputees per year.

A death rate 4 times smaller and a amputee rate 6 times smaller than vietnam does not indicate that the improvement is due to the medical profession.

The population of North Vietnam at the time of the war was around 20,000 whereas the population of Iraq ia around 29,000. So the enemy is actually larger this time around. Plus our troop numbers are much smaller, so you'd sort of expect our casuality rate to be higher.

I am aware that I wasn't real careful about these numbers. After all I didn't verify that the Vietnam numbers didn't include finger amputations. The problem for Crazy Train is that he is going to have to come up with an additional 2377 amputees per year in order to make this look as bad as Vietnam on a yearly basis. I have enough of a sense of math to know he cannot possibly do this.

That also runs with the assumption that the Iraqi war is going to have to continue long enough to make up the difference in the lengths of the wars. After all even at the same exact casuality rates if the Vietnam war was won in one day it would have been considered an astounding success. For the Iraq war to end up as bad as Vietnam it is going to have to continue 60 years before we get up to same numbers of deaths. If you consider amputees it is going to have to go on for 90 years.

That is further assumes that a war manager can't take into account the fact that a death is worse than an injury. I don't accept that assumption. If the medicine were better, and it the same objective would result in less lives lost then why not use that information.

Hell if we tried to take Iraq with clubs and rocks our casualty rates would have been way higher too. Why does not taking that into account show incompetence on the part of our leaders? You know as in "incompetent rubes".

I think someone is making claims they can't back up. Furthermore, I think such a person shouldn't be throwing around the word "rube" so lightly.

The real reasons for the MILITARY SUCCESS in Iraq have less to do with medicine than with training, terrain, and military equipment. Next to nothing is due to medicine.
3.18.2006 9:06pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Macker: Since in the past counting those figures was turned into a political problem I really see no need to keep them.

Ah. The triumph of politics.


Yep, the anti-war crowd counts the killing of armed enemy combatants as a bad thing. Furthermore, it claims that the keeping such statistics is a bad thing. So we stopped doing it. Read the history of Vietnam and thank them. They weren't merely critizing the numbers but the tallying of them. We are not counting the numbers would look bad but because the counting itself looks bad.
You know:
Private, "Hey, sarge, I got me six of them gooks today".
Sargent, "Great, let's hope the others can keep up with their quota".
3.18.2006 9:21pm
Bryan DB:
Given the vast disparity of the conditions between Vietnam and Iraq, I'm amazed that someone could make this post and then suggest that they're just "posting these numbers without making a normative judgement." Just putting a post together is a normative judgment; there's no relationship between the numbers other than their being placed on the same page. Does someone really need to point out all the ways this statistical comparison, no matter how far-fetched, is inappropriate?

Let's just start with three:
jungle vs. desert
highly competent opponent vs. vastly overmatched component
an opponent who fought like crazy vs. an opponent that surrended at every turn.

Ugh.
3.18.2006 9:40pm
Enoch:
Please take note that the smaller casualty rate in Iraq (as opposed to 'Nam) is largely due to ADVANCES IN MILITARY MEDICINE; not success of our military operations

Nope. The smaller casualty rate is more due to the ineffectiveness / cowardice of the enemy in Iraq relative to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. The Iraqi insurgents are relatively feeble, and mainly rely on IEDs to cause casualties. On the other hand, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong engaged US forces directly with battalion and regiment-sized regular units.
3.18.2006 9:40pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
I meant to say: "We are not counting the numbers because we would look bad but because the counting itself looks bad."
3.18.2006 9:40pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Wow, the anger here is palpable.

Just because some of you find it "absurd" to note comparisons and differences does not make it so. In an op-ed I wrote for the Chicago Tribune a couple of years ago, I also reviewed some of the post-WWII starvations and mass killings (even in supposedly "civilized" France), and the slowness of post-war reconstruction in Europe. Without a sense of what went before people often make unwarranted assumtions about how different or unprecedented things are today--and can sometimes get more emotional than rational about things.

If someone wants to make a reasoned argument for or against the US having (re)started the hot phase of the War in Iraq in 2003, one would need to consider the US lives lost (so far and in the future) as part of the evaluation of US policy. To do that, one would need facts, and IMO some grounding in what fatalities have been in other wars, with the wars still within living memory being one point of comparison--or even military deaths in peacetime being compared, as Brian Macker interestingly does above.

I find the anger and dismissiveness in this thread more than a little disturbing. It's as if I shouldn't have dared to post facts without an argument attached that people can applaud or attack. I really believe that people should have more facts rather than fewer facts in making their evaluations. And it is because I believe that reasonable people can differ that I sometimes present facts without telling people what they should think about them. That my restraint could be treated as forcing people what to think is more than a little odd.

In this thread, I expected to see some of the more helpful factual discussions. Indeed, from what I've read on the internet since I first posted on this topic over a year ago, I buy into the conventional wisdom that better health care in the Iraq War has led to lower US fatalities both absolutely and relative to serious maiming.

In deciding the costs and benefits of any war, I would also want to consider the number of people maimed, the lives ruined as well as those lost, and the number of Iraqi lives lost or ruined. I have blogged on the Iraqi citizen death tolls, taking the side of those who interpreted the death toll in one study to be much higher than many war supporters were claiming. Again, getting as good information as possible and comparing it to other numbers is an important and worthwhile endeavor.

Oh, and another reason I posted is that I wanted to link ICasualties.org, which IMO is performing an important service by giving up-to-date figures that those who favor or oppose the war can use (or at least take account of) in framing their normative arguments.
3.18.2006 10:48pm
Steve Burton (mail) (www):
Prof. Lindgren: if all you want to do is "post facts" without eliciting partisan responses, then you might want to avoid draping said facts in red-flag-to-the-bull phrases like "grim milestone."

"More than a little disturbing" indeed! You asked for what you got.
3.18.2006 11:25pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Mr. Wacker, I don't take people seriously who call themselves "libertarians" and support our government's intervention in Iraq. Sorry.

I suggest you read this Slate article by Phil Carter re advances in medicine from Vietnam to Iraq.

http://www.slate.com/Default.aspx?id=2111432
3.18.2006 11:57pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Steve Burton,

Any milestone involving hundreds of mostly violent deaths suffered by brave people would seem to me to be "grim" and (I expect) to most others.

Do you really think that the response would have been less fierce if I hadn't used the word "grim"?
3.19.2006 12:38am
Enoch:
Your comparison is indeed absurd. Three years of combat in Iraq has resulted in the same number of deaths as the worst month in Vietnam - what does that actually mean? In point of fact, nothing, since Iraq is not Vietnam.

If someone wants to make a reasoned argument for or against the US having (re)started the hot phase of the War in Iraq in 2003, one would need to consider the US lives lost (so far and in the future) as part of the evaluation of US policy.

But the number of lives lost in Vietnam (or any other war) has no bearing at all on the evaluation of the war in Iraq. It just isn't relevant, period.

I really believe that people should have more facts rather than fewer facts in making their evaluations.

Relevant facts. The number of combat deaths in Iraq in the last 3 years is less than the number of people who drown in the US every year. That's another "fact" too. Does it add anything to our evaluation of the war in Iraq?

You might just as well compare casualties in Iraq to the Civil War and Vietnam - those would also be "facts".

In this thread, I expected to see some of the more helpful factual discussions.

I don't know why you would think that, since it was clear your actual intent was to provoke controversy (by setting up the faulty analogy between Iraq and Vietnam), and you achieved your goal.

In deciding the costs and benefits of any war, I would also want to consider the number of people maimed, the lives ruined as well as those lost, and the number of Iraqi lives lost or ruined.

What I notice that you're apparently NOT interested in is the cost of NOT fighting the war. Containment of Iraq imposed a significant cost on the US, and, as it happens, the perpetuation of Saddam's regime would have cost far more Iraqi lives than fighting the war did.
3.19.2006 12:59am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Yes Justin, I was being serious as a heart attack. Of course, the real gravity of the Iraq campaign in the GWOT will be determined by historians many years from now. But we can reasonably rest assured that it won't be nil.

Jim, I just looked over your CV. And I see nothing to indicate that you have any military background at all - either as a servicemember or a civilian (contractor, Pentagon employee, staffer for someone on an Armed Services Committee, for instance). If you did you would understand why those of us with said backgrounds would be dismissive of a figure such as this: It serves absolutely no purpose in an objective analysis of the situation. Its only value is its effect on those given to emotive thinking.

As I stated in my previous post, the probability of fatalities in the low thousands before the cessation of major hostilities was anticipated by our military planners, and determined to be acceptable by our civilian leadership. Further, the general population was steeled for it by the doom-and-gloom scenarios painted by those in the fourth estate.

BTW: Speaking of meaningless figures, that fatality to amputation ratio, at least in that thumbnail form, is among them. The reason is that the same rapid, comprehensive response/treatment/evacuation that is yielding far lower fatalities, is also yielding lower need for amputation due to tissue damage subsequent to the initial trauma.
3.19.2006 1:56am
subpatre (mail):
JL – Wow, the anger here is palpable.

It is, but I’d suggest it’s due to the lack of posted argument. Without a line of reasoning, many readers have fabricated one –built a strawman— from your post.

The numbers are different, but so are the people. An article, Veterans' Voices On Iraq, in the Washington Post today gives voice to the hundreds of different veterans’ Iraq experiences. The one agreement was about the press:
But it was not bad in the ways they see covered in the media -- the majority also agreed on this. What they experienced was more complex than the war they saw on television and in print. It was dangerous and confused, yes, but most of the vets also recalled enemies routed, buildings built and children befriended, against long odds in a poor and demoralized country. "We feel like we're doing something, and then we look at the news and you feel like you're getting bashed." "It seems to me the media had a predetermined script." The vibe of the coverage is just "so, so, so negative."
Unsaid in the article, but palpable, is soldiers’ motivation and commitment; far different than Vietnam. A neighbor’s son was (horribly) injured in Iraq. Now recovered, he and other veterans started an organization to rebut the media slant:
Those of us from the frontline have a much different view, but for reasons beyond our understanding, our perspective has been largely ignored. Vets for Freedom seeks to change this environment, providing viewpoints both positive and negative on what will be needed to achieve victory.
Despite any numbers, in the end neither political platforms nor media corporations will survive if they’re trying to contradict the mass of first-person accounts.

High casualties is what the soldiers, not the brass, believe is high or too high. For the first time in history, they can communicate directly to us, and they're not saying the price is too great. They're saying the opposite.
3.19.2006 3:03am
But Why?:
Lingren sez: Without a sense of what went before people often make unwarranted assumtions about how different or unprecedented things are today--and can sometimes get more emotional than rational about things.

If someone wants to make a reasoned argument for or against the US having (re)started the hot phase of the War in Iraq in 2003, one would need to consider the US lives lost (so far and in the future) as part of the evaluation of US policy. To do that, one would need facts.

---

Oh, suck it up Jim. We're well past the "reasoned argument" against invading Iraq.

You made a post that CHEAPENS THE LIVES (not deaths) of well over 2,000 American soldiers, so you could post something on your webblog.

We know the FACTS, how many have sacrificed in other wars and now. Listen to the criticism before you jump in defending yourself. CHEAPENED THEIR LIVES.

Besides, we all know when the death count rises, as it will in American soldiers AND American civilian deaths, it's going to jump precipitously in one BIG attack. That's the way these unbalanced wars work. Duh.

For a supposed smart guy, you sure can be OBTUSE. No anger here by the way, just a dismay that you can't see how your bean counting CHEAPENS AMERICAN SOLDIERS' LIVES. And then, to say you're the "rational" one in sharing these previously unknown (heh) facts re Vietnam, and everyone else is being emotional.

Which unit were you attached to, my friend? When do your relatives and friends who are SERVING expect to come home? Shut yer pie-hole until you can at least respect the criticisms you're receiving for this "just trying to educate" post. CHEAPENED LIVES, yes you do.
3.19.2006 7:24am
But Why?:
But hey, it got you 66 comments so far. Dumbass...
3.19.2006 7:25am
But Why?:
And thanks for taking the time to write this, Kevin. Jim, me thinks, is a DickCheneyPower wannabe. He'll be fat gutted and poppin' the Viagra afore too long, methinks.

Jim, I just looked over your CV. And I see nothing to indicate that you have any military background at all - either as a servicemember or a civilian (contractor, Pentagon employee, staffer for someone on an Armed Services Committee, for instance). If you did you would understand why those of us with said backgrounds would be dismissive of a figure such as this: It serves absolutely no purpose in an objective analysis of the situation. Its only value is its effect on those given to emotive thinking.
3.19.2006 7:27am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
In addition to the of spreading democracy, eradicating evil arab dictators, killing terrorists, the war has a few extra benefits. The VA medical system will need to be adequately funded or will collapse under the weight of all the new patients. The private companies providing security employ thousands of americans at wages they would never get in the US. This war is good practice for the next major war against China,Russia,India or whoever. Theres always a next war.
3.19.2006 8:45am
Hoyasquared:
What is wrong here isn't calling these statistics "grim." Of course military casualties are "grim." The problem is calling this a milestone. The "milestone" in Lindgren's post is entirely contrived. That is what has set people off.
3.19.2006 9:57am
Russ Meyer (mail):
Crazy Train said:
"2. Why do you support this war if you are willing to let the poor do your dirty work and come back maimed but wouldn't let your daughter come back without an arm and a leg for "freedom"? Hypocrite"

I am a soldier who has fought in Iraq, and I am tired of some making this foolish arguement. We are a VOLUNTEER army with civilian control. Under Crazy Train's moronic post, only those with military service are qualified to send people to war. That sounds a lot like the type of military control of the government that our founding fathers feared. Hey, Crazy Train - if you oppose the war so much, why didn't you go join the human shields before the war, or go as an activist now and walk the streets of Baghdad. Hypocrite.

Next foolish comment, this one by Hugo Black:
"Well, since it is safer to be in Iraq than going to high school or driving a car, and the war is vital to American interests, why do you suppose military recruiting numbers down?"
Check the statistics. Recruiting was down about a year ago, but funny how the MSM hasn't publicized that we've made our recruiting mission or exceeded it every month for the past 8 months.

Finally, Mr. Lindgren, you are taking offense to people pointing out that you have made a very stupid comparison. Sorry, but one month does NOT equal three years, and that's why people are jumping up and down on you. By your logic, things are bad in the medical field b/c the number of pre-mature infant deaths are the same in three years now as they were in one month 30 years ago. Get a clue.
3.19.2006 11:06am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Mr. Wacker, I don't take people seriously who call themselves "libertarians" and support our government's intervention in Iraq. Sorry.

Mr. Wacker? Is an anonymous someone losing their temper? I find this strange. Especially when my first post was that I thought that your contention was plausible. Maybe, just maybe, there were vast numbers of cripples coming back from Iraq that I didn’t know about. However, that was before I looked at actual numbers I saw the impossible math required to make the Iraqi war look like it was run by “incompetent rubes”.

I can't take someone seriously who knows so little about libertarians. Pacifism and libertarianism are not synonymous.

I've discussed this with other libertarians and the main reason some of them object is because it is supported by taxes. That's it. They can't object on the basis of conscription, not with a volunteer army, and they can on justification, Saddam gave plenty of that. Some libertarians are of the minimal government type like me and they don't object to taxes.

Libertarianism allows for the intervention of a third party to help others that are being trespassed against. Because of that libertarianism allows just about any private army to intervene just about anywhere given the state of affairs in the world. In fact according to the non-minimal government type of libertarianism one could use a private army to stop the US government from taxing our citizen.

I suggest you read this Slate article by Phil Carter re advances in medicine from Vietnam to Iraq.

I read the article, did you? I don’t think so. I don’t think you even read the title. The article is titled, “Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966 - Adjusting body counts for medical and military changes.” Yes, they included military changes, not just medical.

They did everything in his power to inflate the numbers, which includes:
1) Adding in the Afghanistan causalities
2) Adjusting for the use of body armor
3) Adjusting for the use of air power
4) Adjusting for peak military presence in Vietnam, vs. non-peak for Iraq.
5) Picking individual battles to compare

You know I can do the same thing and arrive at even worse numbers. Let’s adjust for lethality of action. Doesn’t seem fair to compare the routing of the Iraqi army with the tough fighting Vietnamese. Let’s compare lethal action to lethal action. Not only that but the best way to judge lethality is by the number killed. Therefore we should only compare battles with the same kill ratios. Under this assumption the lethality rates are identical between Vietnam and Iraq. Now adjust for the fact that there where twice as many personnel deployed at the peak 1968 levels than at current non-peak Iraqi levels, excluding Afghan levels, we get a lethality rate twice as high as in Vietnam during the same time period. That is for every one soldier lost in a *lethal action* in Vietnam we are losing the equivalent of two in Iraq. I leave it up to the reader to figure out why this is baloney.

The writers Phillip Carter and Owen West are just as math challenged as you are. They utilized another article by Atul Gawande in the New England Journal of Medicine for their numbers but failed to adjust for the fact that that article was based on combined Iraq and Afghan numbers. Nor did they add in Afghan troop strengths in their upward adjustments of

The mortality rates have dropped from 24 to 10 percent but this is not due solely to medicine, because the original articles numbers actually included decreases in mortality due to things like body armor. At least they didn’t make the claim you do.

Even with their faulty assumptions they can only get causality rates to within ¼ of the Vietnam levels. Then they apply decreased lethality rates that include factors other than medicine to get it to within ½ the Vietnam levels.

Furthermore, if you read the original article you would have seen that much of the improvement in the lethality rates was due to military logistical changes, and not advances in medicine. In other words the war is being run more competently than past wars. Gawande spends a lot of time discussing logistical changes, and very little on medical advances.

None of that takes into account the fact that in Vietnam we were trying to subdue a smaller population, and that the causality numbers ran for fifteen years, not three. Even if we adjusted for causality rates of 25% vs. 10%, the Iraqi war would still have to run for 25-30 years before it looks as bad as Vietnam. Plus the thing would have to end with about 2-4 Million Iraqis dead and us loosing not only during the war but also in the aftermath of the extermination caused by the winners.

This war was hardly fought in an incompetent way. In fact you are off by several orders of magnitude. That’s directly supported by the numbers and has nothing to do with your ignorance of libertarianism.

None of these articles has done the math correctly. I have also admitted in my prior post that my amputee numbers are not to be trusted. At least I knew that. I have yet to find a breakdown of the actual casualty rates in such a way that I could make the numbers work. What we need to know to test your conjecture is the exact number of people crippled by the war. I agree would agree that a man with a disfigured and useless limb is the equivalent of an amputee. The problem is with coming up with the vast quantities of these people required to make this look even a quarter as bad as Vietnam.

Find the numbers and I will believe, but right now this is reminding me of that joke about a man in bed with his lover who tells his wife, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes". I see the math doesn't work out, so show me some that does.

Remember you are the one making the claim so it is you who has to support it. I'm willing to believe if you come up with good numbers.

Iraqi population is slightly more than Vietnam during the wars so you don't need to take that into account. You should average over the entire war, not just selectively. If you adjust for troop levels then use averages, not peaks. Thus average troop levels over the entire Vietnam war, not the peak levels. Don't include Afghanistan. Adjust for the use of body armor.

Frankly, from the point of view of whether something is worth it, I am of the opinion that any statistics anybody comes up with on lethality rates are pointless anyhow. They might be relevant with regards to military competency but not on whether the gains were worth the losses. Certainly, given the fact we gave up in Vietnam, not a single life lost would have been worth it. We accomplished nothing other than showing that we were weak at home, and willing to prop up a corrupt government over communism, but not all that willing. In the end we let millions of Vietnamese down.
3.19.2006 11:48am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Mr. Connors,

You state that those amputee numbers are meaningless. I think you have overreached. They served my purposes. My purpose was to show that it was highly unlikely that Crazy Train was correct. I have already admitted they are not good numbers but only a proxy. I would have preferred if I had statistics on the number crippled too. I don't. I didn't set out to prove something merely to discredit something, which is far easier.

There are limits within which Crazy Train is now restricted to work which makes his task impossible. As I stated he has to come up with an enourmous number of would be amputees to make this look as bad as Vietnam. I stated "an additional 2377 amputees per year' would be required. So he has to find 7131 people who are crippled to the point where during Vietnam they would have amputated. Maybe he can do it but he's looking at having close to 100% of the people wounded in Iraq being in this category. I find this implausible.

I'll ask you too. Do you have any meaningful numbers?Frankly, none of those presented so far are, including the original article.

BTW. My quip on getting the same results by doubling our troop strength only assumed a doubling at the start of the Iraq war, not the entire first term of Bush. Bush could have gotten the same total number of casualties as lost in Iraq, during his first term by increasing troop strength by 1/4 over the entire term.
3.19.2006 12:11pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Mr. Lindgren,

I actually took your original post as a joke. I figured someone intelligent enough to come up with these numbers knew that comparing one month vs. three years was a hilarious send up on the bad statistics coming out of the anti-war crowd.

I see a bunch of people here are angry with you. Since I haven't read any other articles by you it crossed my mind that they might be taking into account that you were part of that anti-war crowd, and thus your article was not parody but yet another example of bad reasoning.

Was my take correct or were you being serious? Was that smart parody or just plain idiocy?
3.19.2006 12:19pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Subpatre,

I have to agree with you. I am getting quite upset with the totally one sided coverage of this war. I'm not a Bush fan, as you can tell by this, but I do think he is getting a bum rap in the media.

Most of the anti-Bush articles have been counterfactual. I seem to dislike him for very different reasons that most other people. Things like his steel tarriff, aid to africa, medicaid drug windfall, cozying up to the Saudis, saying "Islam is Peace", that's what bothers me.

Bushes position on the existence of WMD were identical to all the top democrats, and there is video to prove this. Almost every major anti-Bush issue brought up by the media has turned out to be a wash when investigated deeply.

I looked at the Kerry war record vs. Bushes in depth and found that Kerry was practically a traitor, and had there was ample evidence that he had faked much the record on his war accomplishments. He joined the Navy when it was safe to do so because Vietnam had no navy, and the navy was not patrolling the rivers. Bush joined the ANG with the intention of fighting in Vienam. The ANG was engaged in Vietnam and was suffering substantial casualties at the time. Bushes luck ran against his intentions. Dan Rather lost his job over his attempted hack job on this issue.

Over and over, the stories were twisted to make Bush look bad. Every story from WMD, to Abu Garib, to eves dropping on terrorists, were run with an anti-Bush slant. It didn't matter if the army was already investigating sickos in Abu Garib violating policy. No the presumption was that it was Bushes policy to be treating prisoners that way. In the process it hurt the country and not just Bush. That's what pisses me off. Every one of these attacks on Bush hurts the country more than they ever hurt Bush.

They even ran with stuff they could not possibly know. Like claiming there was no connection between Iraq and Al Qaida. You can't prove a negative, but ran stories that explicitly claimed as factual that there was no connection between the two. That despite the fact that prior to the war we knew of several terrorist training camps inside Iraq. There was even a training camp with a passenger jet fuselage for training plane hijackings. We had the pictures, and the informants. Who did the media choose to believe on this? Saddam of course, he said it was an airline safety program. I could believe this nonsense before the war. We now have documents proving that Saddam was indeed training terrorists prior to 9/11 and was dealing with Al Qaida. Yet I don't see this in the headlines.

They further warped things by claiming that WMD was the only rational for the invasion. That is utter nonsense and easily refuted by going back an looking at numerous speeches given before the war. They still harp on this even though it is refuted. Now that we have top level Iraqis stating there were WMD and they were moved to Syria, and tapes of Saddam discussing WMD, we hear not a peep out of the media.

Frankly, I don't know what the best response to 9/11 would have been. I think it is quite clear that many of these countries including Iran and Saudi Arabia are indeed supporting terrorism. Perhaps invading the Saudis would have made the message clearer that we are not going to tolerate the fomenting of hatred against and killing non-muslims.

I could be wrong but I see the oil revenues and the religion as the fuel feeding these agressions and I see them as legitimate targets. It's not like the people controlling these revenues did anything to earn that control. The Iranian mullahs certainly didn't. The same can be said for a tribe of arabs, the Saudis, who control oil that wasn't even on their lands, they stole control from their neighbors. The religion needs to be taken down a notch also. Who are they to say other people don't deserve to live free in this world?
3.19.2006 1:11pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Macker:

They served my purposes. My purpose was to show that it was highly unlikely that Crazy Train was correct.

Well, taken in that light... :)

No, you're not going to be able to do any meaningful analysis of something like this with nothing more than the figures you can garner over the Internet. It would require getting into the individual case files of those in the study group, so you are only comparing equivalent trauma levels. This would be, to say the least, a major team undertaking.

Hey... This sounds like a good basis for a federal research grant. :)
3.19.2006 1:23pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Mr. Connors,

I agree.

Subpatre,

Oh, two more thing that pisses me off about Mr. Bush.

1) He invaded Afghanstan and now Iraq to set up "Democracies". That's the stupidest thing I ever heard of. Doesn't the idiot realize that our success is due to being a limited republic? We are no democracy, and certainly not a Theocratic Sharia based one. Dope.

2) The other is that he and his father are totally ignorant about atheism and what that means. They have made several ignorant statements to the effect that we atheists are somehow not worthy to be citizens. I think this issue number 2 is intimately tied up with issue number 1. He sees no problem with a theocracy.

On this note: I certainly don't think the lives lost were worth this outcome: "Man faces death over Christianity".

Now that's the kind of anti-Afgha/Iraq war reasoning I can get behind, Bushes objectives being screwy. I don't see how you can be anti-war on the provocation side. Saddam did plenty to provoke. I don't think you can fault the military aspects, the Iraqis got their asses kicked with little loss on our side, all things considered.
3.19.2006 3:50pm
SenatorX (mail):
Anyone saying, "The problem is calling this a milestone. The "milestone" in Lindgren's post is entirely contrived. That is what has set people off."

Really?! So comparing the number of reported deaths in the worst month of Vietnam to the TOTAL number or reported deaths in the Iraq war as a whole is not a good comparison? Damn I almost missed that! How could ANYONE be so dumb?!?

Well not anyone is that dumb but some clearly are...
That’s the problem with attacking someone. The context of the attack exposes much about the attacker. With satire so blatant, like this blog was, it doesn't do a person much credit when they miss it.
3.19.2006 3:57pm
nds (mail):
Actually the best comparison is maybe the casualties on 9/11. If we had lost, say, twice as many military fighting in Iraq as we lost on 9/11, then I might question the value of invading Iraq.

I recognize many opponents of the war in Iraq will take issue this comparison. But I believe having the US military fight bad people in Middle East has a tremendous preventative effect of Jihadi terrorism. 5 years ago the Jihadis went to Afghanistan for training, now they go to Iraq and die.

And for all the criticism of Bush's policies, it is interesting to note that since 9/11, jihadi attacks have caused mass casualties in Bali, Madrid, London, all over the Mid East, but not in the US.
3.19.2006 7:08pm
A.W. (mail):
Mmm, if this keeps up, we might even lose as many soldiers as we lost in 30 seconds on D-Day.

Of course there was a big difference between Iraq and WWII. In one we were fighting a dictator with a bad mustache and mass graves and in the other... um, wait a minute...

Oh I know what the difference is... in Iraq, we are liberating Iraqis, while in WWII, we were liberating Europeans, and so naturally the freedom of Iraqis is so much less important, right?

Oh, and don't whine back that this was not a war of liberation. Yes, it was, in part. And arguing for war on the rationale of liberation + AQ connections + WMD doesn't suddenly make it less justified than a war purely for liberation.

And please don't claim it was only a justification after the WMDs were not found. What was operation called again? Oh, yeah, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
3.19.2006 8:33pm
Enoch:
So comparing the number of reported deaths in the worst month of Vietnam to the TOTAL number or reported deaths in the Iraq war as a whole is not a good comparison?

No, it isn't. It has no meaning at all.

Iraq is not Vietnam
.
3.19.2006 9:23pm
Eric (mail) (www):
CrazyTrain: Then I would refer him the families of the tens of thousands of dead and maimed soldiers to explain to them why they should be happy.

There are not "Tens of thousands" of dead/maimed soldiers from the Iraq War. 2300+ soldiers have died. 16,000+ have been wounded, of which 9,000+ returned to duty within 72 hours. In other words, even if we assume that the other 7,000 soldiers who didn't return to duty for more than 72 hours were all "maimed" (unlikely in the extreme), there are slightly under 10,000 dead and maimed soldiers.

Nice use of hyperbole and exagerrated facts though.
3.19.2006 9:25pm
Free Frank Warner (mail) (www):
Nuts!

After three years, the U.S. deaths in Iraq are about five days of U.S. deaths in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. From Dec. 16, 1944, to late January 1945, Americans were dying at a rate of 500 a day.

“Nuts!” General McAuliffe said when the Germans demanded he surrender during the Bulge. France, Belgium and Germany are better off for his tenacity.

Even one liberator’s death is a disaster. But the American sacrifices in Iraq will have been worth it if it leads to a democracy that builds a lasting peace. Everyone knows dictatorship can’t do it.

Saddam murdered hundreds of thousands, let at least 1 million die in his wars, and may have let 1 million more die from preventable starvation and disease. And yet few held public demonstrations at each of his “grim milestones.”

Thanks to its allied liberators, Iraq may never see such milestones again.
3.19.2006 9:38pm
Cutler (mail) (www):
"That also means the numbers of maimed, disfigured, and horribly debilitated men in their late teens and early twenties is staggering. In the Vietnam era, many of these would have been dead."

In Vietnam, 25% of combat casualties were deaths. Iraq, 10%.

...Lest you think there are thousands upon thousands of walking amputees.

Injuries are also better treated and rehabilitated.
3.19.2006 9:43pm
TallDave (mail) (www):
Weekly Standard reports those Iraqi documents show conclusively Hussein did fund Al Qaeda.

Now, I'm sure the anti-war spin will be "it was on and off support, this wasn't the arm of Al Qaeda that attacked us, etc." but the fact is there are not ~2300 American deaths in this war, there are over 5000, because in some ways this war was always about 9/11, from several different angles. Even if Hussein hadn't been funding Al Qaeda, the purpose of democratizing the Mideast has always been to prevent more such attacks, and there probably would not have been such broad public support to go to war in Iraq had 9/11 not happened.
3.19.2006 9:48pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Please take note that the smaller casualty rate in Iraq (as opposed to 'Nam) is largely due to ADVANCES IN MILITARY MEDICINE; not success of our military operations....


You're mistaken here in a definitional point: a casualty is not a death but any mischance that causes a person to be rendered unfit for duty, that is, death, wounds, illness, desertion, MIA, and so on. Casualty rates in Iraq aren't all that unusual --- mortality is being reduced by military medicine.
3.19.2006 9:53pm
Free Frank Warner (mail) (www):
Let's not forget the 147 U.S. troops who died in 1991 as they undid Saddam's Kuwait invasion.

Saddam's violations of the 1991 cease-fire agreement are central to the justifications for the 2003 invasion. So this war really started in 1990.
3.19.2006 9:57pm
Eric (mail) (www):
Free Frank Warner: Let's not forget the 147 U.S. troops who died in 1991 as they undid Saddam's Kuwait invasion.

And the couple hundred casualties as well, which I happen to be one of. I probably count as being "maimed" according to Crazy Train, although I was burned on the right arm and returned to light duty within 72 hours.

The fact is that the US sent a message in Iraq '91 and Somalia '93 that we would not take the hard course when confronted with it. Add to that our behavior in the former Yugoslavia in the 90's and the responses to the various al-Qaeda led, or inspired, attacks on us in the 90's, including Oklahoma City, and we have a situation where bin Laden (and others) were convinced that they could win a protracted struggle against the United States. And the ultimate goal of that struggle is not so much to force us to surrender as to remove our influence from the Middle East, leaving bin Laden with a free hand to establish his vision of a united Islam.

Now, we know from the 1930's that if the West had stood up to Hitler in 1935 and 1936 the German Generals would have likely toppled Hitler and the deaths of 50 million, or so, Europeans would not have happened. The deaths in Asia and the Pacific would likely have happened anyhow since the Pacific and European Wars were only slightly related to each other and were really two different wars. However, the real point is that a bit of backbone in the mid-30's would have prevented one of the most brutal and tragic decades the world has ever known. Over the past two decades we have been presented with many opportunities to take action to prevent mass murdering, genocidal, theocratic fascists from gaining more power in the Middle East and being in a position to take action against those that they hate. Until 2001, we consistently avoided taking those opportunities, continously encouraging those people. In the 1930's, Hitler was encouraged by the weak behavior of the Western allies every time he did something. In the 1990's bin Laden was encouraged by the weak behavior of the US every time he did something.

If we continue to back down, it is only a matter of time until bin Laden, or someone else with similar ambitions, gains enough power in the Middle East to believe they can try to exterminate Israel and the Jews and start spreading the Caliphate. Do you really want to fight that war? Or this one that might just prevent that one?
3.19.2006 10:26pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
ANybody ever heard of the concept of irony?
3.19.2006 10:36pm
Free Frank Warner (mail) (www):
While we're talking about one war to prevent another: I just wish that, since the Europeans did all the negotiating with Iran, they also would take full responsibility for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

If you read between the lines of most news stories, the conventional wisdom is that, now that Europe has done its fruitless talking, Europe now is insisting the U.S. take on Iran with unilateral action (about which the Europeans later will endlessly complain).

Why not let Europe take action against Iran? Iran was Europe's problem to solve. Can't Europe see we are a little busy elsewhere?
3.19.2006 10:44pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
With regard the improvements in medical science, that may contribute some to the lowering of KIAs, but not overwhelmingly.

Historically, WIAs outnumbered KIAs by about 3:1, a figure you'll find from the Civil War to WWII.

Vietnam saw that drop to 5:1 or 6:1. Iraq, 2003 + 2004, it was about 6.5 to 1.

I suspect speed of evacuation of the wounded — owing to the helicopter— played a big role in the Vietnam shift. Better treatment of shock, etc. was enough to lower that somewhat more in Iraq. But the big change came in Vietnam, not after.
3.19.2006 10:55pm
J Oliphant (mail):
The obvious conclusions and in my mind the only one to draw, is that no american life should be considered expendable, and that we owe those that volunteered to defend the nation a debt that can't be repaid. The only question that arises is freedom a precious commodity that we must hoard or are we its stewards for the world ?
3.19.2006 10:57pm
Eric (mail) (www):
Dave, according to everything I have ever read there were two significant factors that contributed to the change in WIA:KIA ratios from Vietnam onwards.

1. Speed of evacuation, especially with helicopters. Generally, the faster you get someone wounded to a doctor, the more likely he is to survive.
2. Having combat medics right there at the scene of battle to begin treatment immediately. In fact, this was such an important factor that the US Army now has "Combat Lifesavers" in every combat unit. These are regular soldiers, not medics, with training roughly equivalent to an EMT (medics are on par with civilian paramedics).

In fact, the military's emergency medical system was so good in Vietnam that it was adopted by all major emergency medical systems in the USA in the 1970's, leading to significant improvements in emergency medical care and survival rates in the civilian systems also.
3.19.2006 11:00pm
Free Frank Warner (mail) (www):
Am I correct to assume that, because of the better body armor in Iraq, our troops are surviving more bullets and bombs, and if they are hit, a larger portion of them than ever is likely to have suffered a head wound (to the exposed face)?

If so, such an inflated percentage of serious wounds could account for what appears to be relatively modest progress since Vietnam in keeping wounded soldiers alive.
3.19.2006 11:05pm
Eric (mail) (www):
Actually, from what I've been reading Frank, the significant, serious wounds are to the arms, hands and legs. Body armor protects the head and torso, but not the extremities. Hence, my second and third degree burns on my right arm in Gulf War I.

See my earlier post on the WIA:KIA ratios supporting Dave's supposition. The reality is that roughly twice as many WIA now survive as prior to Vietnam. This mainly due to a much better emergency medical system, not body armor (Soldiers had body armor in Vietnam too, although not as effective as Kevlar).
3.19.2006 11:12pm
Free Frank Warner (mail) (www):
Thanks Dave.

Hey, do the French have body armor?
3.19.2006 11:18pm
Eric (mail) (www):
The French that I saw (6th French Light Daguet Division) in 1991 had body armor. I assume they still do.
3.19.2006 11:28pm
Ray (mail):
The milestone itself does seem rather ambiguous. Why not compare the number of deaths to that of any other war, or for that matter, 9/11 as has been stated already, or perhaps the number of deaths caused by Islamic terrorism over the last 40 years.

The Becker-Posner blog has an interesting back and forth going on now about a cost-analysis for the Iraqi war. The excerpt I'm quoting below is in context to a body count for that cost-analysis.

I have two disagreements with Becker. First, I do not think that a comparison of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Vietnam is meaningful. Partly because of increased media coverage, there is much greater sensitivity to casualties today than there was in the Vietnam era (or think back to the Civil War--twice as many deaths as in World War II, in a population less than one-fourth as large). Apparently the Administration has decided that it is imperative to reduce the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq, even though the total for 2005 was only 846, compared to 14,000 in 1968, the critical year of the Vietnam war.


Also, on the body armor topic, here's an interesting clip.
VideoClip
3.19.2006 11:32pm
Eric (mail) (www):
We had 9 guys in my company wounded by a cluster bomblet. It was triggered when someone stepped on it. All 9 were wearing body armor. All 9 survived, including the guy who stepped on the bomblet (roughly equivalent to a hand grenade in explosive power). All 9 returned to duty, even the guy who stepped on the bomblet. It took him about 6 months of surgery, treatment and rehab. That was in 1991. Likely at least one or two would have died in WWII and Korea.
3.19.2006 11:38pm
Henry679 (mail):
Thank God we have brave bloggers risking their lives to get us this valuable information. Their sacrfice in the War Against Uh Whatever Duh Prez Sez will not have been in vain.
3.19.2006 11:42pm
grayson (mail):
True, you do have to normalize for the number of troops in Viet Nam. You'd also have to normalize for the number of Vietnamese in Viet Nam, compared to the number of Iraqis, Saudis, Jordanians, Syrians, Iranian, Yemenis, and Berkeley students in Iraq.

There were FAR more hostiles in Viet Nam than in Iraq as well. There were also more locals who spoke similar enough dialects to blend in, unlike the guys from Egypt, etc., who do not. Furthermore, in Viet Nam, in a lot of ways, we minimized casualties by NOT putting puts on the ground: we never put a soldier on the ground in Hanoi, for example, whereas we took and occupied Baghdad, which is, theoretically, far more perilous.
3.19.2006 11:54pm
JAFAC:
So...

What happens on this emotionally charged thread if we play alternate history?

Specifically... Hussein comes fully clean with his WMD... He invites as many American inspectors as we want to send into his country to open any door/file cabinet/palace they want. Everything checks out clean. 20% of the rationale (and the portion that was backed by UN resolutions) is now unavailable. GW lowers his rhetoric and removes the US Armed Forces from Saudi/Kuwait and Persian Gulf. France/China/Russia take the lead in removing the UN Oil for Food sanctions. No-fly zones come to an end; all Americans return home.

Lets assume in this alternate history I've concocted that the few recently translated documents from the Iraqi archives are fake, wrong, or low-level office-dweeb fantasies and Hussein never thought about attacking America directly or indirectly.

How long until Hussein takes his revenge on the Kurds and Shia? Immediately? 5 years? Never?

How many Kurds &Shia does the US allow him to kill before acting? Yugoslavia levels? Sudan levels? Rwanda levels? Hussein pre-OIF? Pol Pot? Hitler? Stalin? (I think I've got these in the right order - it has been a while since I've had the stomach to look, and I've completely forgotten where Chairman Mao fits.)

How effective will the US be at getting its forces redeployed back to the Middle East and invading?

How long before Hussein again thinks he can invade a neighbor?

Does he grow more sane in the years between the removal of the sanctions and his twilight years or less?

How many Americans die in this alternate history? Is it also "grim"?

Preemptively: my opinion matters squat 'cause I never served.
3.19.2006 11:55pm
Ray (mail):
Well, as a former Marine, I think everyone's opinion is perfectly valid (right or wrong). Serving isn't for everybody; kinda takes the shine off of that "few and the proud" thing if everyone was forced to do something similar.

I'll let someone else take you up on the alternative history line, but my question is this "What exactly is the real issue?" I honestly don't believe that most anti-war types, Right or Left, are all that concerned with the actual lives lost. Not that they're necessarily callous towards people dying, but one can only get so moved by the obituary pages.

And this is where the anti-war argument loses with Joe Sixpack, as most people see, at least subconsciously, that people are using the body count and other such tactics as a political tool against their opponents.

Of course Lindgren and those types would shoot back that they really do care, and how can anyone not care about the loss of even a single life, etc. But, most of those who are going in harm's way, and those who have served in the past, in peace and war, see the greater goal of fighting state sponsored terrorism. Period.
3.20.2006 12:21am
Jeff Medcalf (mail) (www):
The problem with "grim milestone" is that "grim" is a value judgement that has, contra Lindgren, implications beyond "hey, look at this interesting thing"; and "milestone" implies that the comparison is significant. Since the comparison is actually not particularly significant (any more than, say, comparing deaths from eating pretzels over a year in the US with deaths from eating pickles over 4 years in Zambia), it is not a milestone. And since Lindgren used a word signifying a value judgement, it follows that his later explanation that he was making no value judgement means that he has misled himself, he is trying to mislead his readers, or he has written something that he does not mean, in which case he should simply retract the word rather than defending it. (I suppose it could mean that he is unfamiliar with the language, or a host of other things, but I doubt it.)
3.20.2006 1:31am
Willik:
A little perspective about how we, the US, have learned to fight a war since WWII:
Korea: 36K+ losses over 3 years = 12K/year;
Viet Nam: 58K+ losses over 21 years (first recorded American loss was in 1954 @ Dien Bien Phu, 2 CIA pilots) = 2.76K/year, (even if figured since 1959 when the first MACVs moved in, 16 years, [under Eisenhower] = 3.6K/year);
Iraqi Freedom: 2.3K+ over 3 years = 767/year.
I DO NOT say that our losses are "Much ado about nothing" but a only presented as a perspective as to the "smart" fighting capacity of the present day US military. We are doing a whole lot more with a whole lot less, personnel wise, than ever before. A review of the sizes of our military at each of the times mentioned may be in order, but I DO know that the "Peace Dividend" declared by the Clintonistas decimated the present day military to numbers drastically under the Korean/Vietnam era numbers, from which we have not recovered. This gives a good meaning to "doing more with less!"
3.20.2006 4:01am
Pat Rand:
You really should have turned off the comment feature.
3.20.2006 8:28am
acemooney (mail):
I was getting a big kick watching the leftwingers get their panties in a knot over the relevance of the comparison, until I came to realize that in one important way they have won... Our America is a very different nation today. The "Viet Nam Psychosis" is an established fact as evidenced by the MSM's deliberate propagandizing against our effort to liberate and democratize two of our enemies in the mideast.
Like Goebbals at a Nuremburg rally, they pound the casualty count home on a nightly basis until it becomes the only standard by which to judge the progress and even the worth of our efforts in Iraq/Afghanistan. And it seems to be working, if recent poll numbers are to be believed...
Which brings me to my own quibble with the relevance of Dr Vols ironic little yardmarker.... What good is irony, or other tidbits of valid perspective, in the face of a media deluge that far surpasses anything the antiwar media could muster during the Viet Nam days....
Manufacturing of dissent, indeed!
3.20.2006 8:45am
Leland:
Mr. Lindgren,

I think your post is a good study. Many remarks are predictable along ideological lines. In those cases, the vitriol is not surprising to me and shouldn't be to you either. I do find Brian Macker's comment about the counting of enemy casualties interesting. I too have noted that it is improper to count enemy KIA, but the counting of US KIA and bench marking milestones of it, seems to be just fine. To be clear, I personally believe both should be counted and hope that they are. That information is valuable to future generations, for reasons you, Mr. Lindgren, suggest in relation to measuring the reasons for war.

Your post also reminds me of a comparison I made while viewing a video of the National WWII Memorial. That memorial has a field of stars with each representing 100 lives losts in that war. There are 4,000 stars, with one vertical row representing 1,600 lives. At the time of my viewing, one row was equivalent to the lives lost in Iraq. I thought that was profound, until I started considering other statistics such as; intensity of conflict, number of enemy, US troop levels, and the number of years. WWII really doesn't compare at all with Iraq, or with Vietnam. Wars have their own variables.

What I do find very interesting is the "milestone", and those commenters who reject it. I find your milestone no more absurd than 1000 or 2000. For some, those milestones marked a time to revigorate their call to withdraw, as if 999 dead wasn't significant enough. For others, 1,000 or 2,000 KIA is insignificant to the important changes occurring in Iraq.
3.20.2006 9:02am
Cro (mail) (www):
I thought I'd try to put those numbers in context with some famous events in American military history.

Bunker/Breeds Hill - Jun 17, 1775 – 400 KIA
Battle of New Orleans - Jan 8, 1815 – 71 KIA
First Bull Run – Jul 21, 1861 – 460 (Union) 387 (Confederate) KIA
Antietam Sep 17, 1862 – 2,108 (Union) 1,512 (Confederate) KIA
Gettysburg Jul 1-3, 1864 – 3,155 (Union) 3,500 (Confederate) KIA
Battle of the Little Bighorn - Jun 25, 1876 – 265 KIA
Battle of San Juan Hill - Jul1, 1898 – 215 KIA
St. Mihiel – Sep 12-16, 1918 – 4,153 KIA
Battle of the Meuse-Argonne – Sep 26 – Nov 11,1918 - 50,250 KIA
Pearl Harbor – Dec 7, 1941 – 2,388 KIA
D-day – June 6, 1944 – 1,465 KIA
Inchon – Sep 9, 1950 - 222 KIA
Chosin Resevoir – Nov 26 – Dec 13, 1950 – 2,500 KIA
Siege of Khe Sanh - Jan 21 – Apr 8, 1968 - 205 KIA
Tet Offensive - Jan 30, 1968 – 1,536 KIA (includes AUS &SKOR)
9-11 Attack on US - Sep 9, 2001 - 2,986 Murdered
Operation Iraqi Freedom – Mar 21,2003 – Today - 1997 KIA

*In all cases I have attempted to show only KIAs... not WIA or MIA.
3.20.2006 9:10am
tyree (mail):
Anderson said:"Recall also that the Pentagon officially does not even count the number of Iraqis killed by Coalition forces. Lack of interest?"
Here again we see how hard it is to turn the tide in an information war. The Pentagon has repeatedly clarified why they do not keep a count of Iraqi casualties. It is because of all the abuse they have suffered in the past for doing this. They don't want to be seen as using casualties as a yardstick for success. The US Military is very concerned about casualties, military and civilian, friend and foe. Ask them, and ignore the Mary Mapes/Eason Jordan "adovcacy journalism" types who want us to loss this war.
3.20.2006 9:51am
Jeek:
You really should have turned off the comment feature.

No, he wanted to present his specious comparison and then pretend to be shocked, shocked when people took exception to it.
3.20.2006 10:02am
Jim O'Sullivn (mail) (www):
"Wounded" is a meaningless stat. John Kerry accounts for three "woundeds" in the Viet Nam war.
3.20.2006 10:12am
Patricia:
Los Angeles had roughly 600 homicides per year during the samd period. Should we declare it a quagmire and pull out our police?
3.20.2006 10:33am
SenatorX (mail):
I thought I read somewhere most KIA occur due to bloodloss(or shock thereof). If we were strictly looking at deaths in combat I would look for changes to process of addressing immediate wounds as a big factor. Like someone said combat trained "medics" or other things that reduce blood loss as quickly as possible after injury(though I am NOT saying that other factors such as weapon types, body armor(or injury locations because of), etc are not factors as well). I am just suggesting bloodloss is the main "killer" of injured soldiers.
3.20.2006 11:03am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Just to expand a bit==

1) As I said, the post is ironic. His implicit point is that the media is so set in "every war is Vietnam" that it's hyping the casualty roster daily, when in fact the three-year death toll is barely equal to the worst single month in Vietnam.

2) A major improvement in medical care that came out of Korea or Vietnam--I forget which--was the realization that speedy replacement of blood loss was vital. Surgeons wondered why wounded would be stabilized, then die later of kidney failure. They came to realize that major blood loss caused shock, and in shock the body shuts off blood flow to the kidneys, which die in half an hour or so. So a major aspect of treatment (in civilian trauma, too) became restoration of blood supply, even before working on the wound itself. Pump the patient full of blood while you try to stem obvious sources of bleeding, and only after that is attended to open him up to work on internal damage. In civilian cases with all-internal injuries, literally balloon the patient with blood, to where it has nowhere to go internally, before you cut.

3. Had a bit of experience with that -- it killed my father. He was in his 80s, got pneumonia. With an immune system weakened by age it went septic -- loose in the blood, attacking all organs at once. Hospital didn't notice--my sister couldn't awaken him, and then they realized he was in shock, blood pressure thru the floor. He might have survived the bug, but an hour or so in shock had wiped out his kidneys.

4. The concept of medics actually goes back to the Romans, as I'll show if I ever get back to writing my book on grunts. They understood that war is about fear and the least fearful army wins. So along with good body armor and fortified camps they invented the first medics and the first first aid kit. Plus each legion had a Greek surgeon, at a time when those were regarded as the best in the world. Plus an open order where a wounded man could get out. In a phalanx, men literally stood chest to back. A wounded man couldn't get out and in an advance would have eight ranks walk over him. In the roman formation, the two guys checkerboarded behind him moved up to protect him, and he crawled or was dragged back, and maybe five yards behind him was medical help. Good body armor plus instant medical aid meant higher morale than guys who went into action with neither.
3.20.2006 11:35am
Mark Thomas (www):
"Grim Milestone Reached: US Deaths in Iraq Surpass Worst Month in Vietnam"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Dumbest headline ever.
3.20.2006 11:58am
Eric (mail) (www):
Dave: Good body armor plus instant medical aid meant higher morale than guys who went into action with neither.

American soldiers know that there are Combat Lifesavers literally in the ranks with them, that there are medics with their unit and that helicopters will come in and evac them to a hospital as fast as possible. Combine that with body armor, helmets, M1 tanks, artillery and other advanced weaponry and they are much more willing to take the fight to the enemy, than the enemy is to fight them or bring the fight to them. All by itself, that makes a tremendous difference in warfighting capability. The US military has a higher ratio of actual fighters to potential fighters than other military and paramilitary forces.
3.20.2006 11:58am