Body Count Inflation:
Why Iraq

Military — By on December 29, 2004 at 12:44 am



  • http://thinksink.blogspot.com/ Jeff H

    If they wish to truly devalue the lives of our service men and women to the trivial level of numbers, they should at least do so with some small amount of mathematical integrity. To wit:
    A) compare the casualties as a percentage of current US population, or
    B) compare them as a percentage of the number of people freed from dictatorial rule by their efforts.
    Either way, the message would be clear: our military today is vastly superior to our 1960′s version, in doing what a military is supposed to do: kill enemy combatants, lose as few of our own as possible, and achieve tactical and strategic goals as set forth by the commanders.

  • http://thinksink.blogspot.com/ Jeff H

    If they wish to truly devalue the lives of our service men and women to the trivial level of numbers, they should at least do so with some small amount of mathematical integrity. To wit:
    A) compare the casualties as a percentage of current US population, or
    B) compare them as a percentage of the number of people freed from dictatorial rule by their efforts.
    Either way, the message would be clear: our military today is vastly superior to our 1960′s version, in doing what a military is supposed to do: kill enemy combatants, lose as few of our own as possible, and achieve tactical and strategic goals as set forth by the commanders.

  • Chris Lutz

    I have never heard of a “constant casualty” figure. I could understand if they compared casualty numbers to the number of military personnel involved and came up with a percentage. But, the CC number smells of statistical tinkering meaning nothing.
    It sounds a lot like the attempts to measure the effectiveness of soldiers of each army in WWII. The Germans came out with a vastly superior number. The problem though was the calculation didn’t take into account things such as operational mode (offensive or defense), air superiority, etc. In the end, the value of the number was useless. I am going to say that the CC falls into the same category.

  • Chris Lutz

    I have never heard of a “constant casualty” figure. I could understand if they compared casualty numbers to the number of military personnel involved and came up with a percentage. But, the CC number smells of statistical tinkering meaning nothing.
    It sounds a lot like the attempts to measure the effectiveness of soldiers of each army in WWII. The Germans came out with a vastly superior number. The problem though was the calculation didn’t take into account things such as operational mode (offensive or defense), air superiority, etc. In the end, the value of the number was useless. I am going to say that the CC falls into the same category.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/ mumon

    The problem with this approach is that there has been no

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    The problem with this approach is that there has been no

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/ mumon

    Oh and the death toll is greater than 896. The idea that those that died in accidents are somehow less dead is not really comforting to the families of those soldiers.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Oh and the death toll is greater than 896. The idea that those that died in accidents are somehow less dead is not really comforting to the families of those soldiers.

  • Mr. Moderate

    I have never heard of a “constant casualty” figure. I could understand if they compared casualty numbers to the number of military personnel involved and came up with a percentage.
    Although I fail to see the point of the analysis in the Slate article, except to show that battlefield medical advances have dramatically improved survivability, their “constant casuality” figure is exactly what that number is. They did it two ways. They looked at the percentage of wounded who died in Vietnam, 25%, compared to the percentage wounded who died in Iraq, 16%, and then came up with the number of KIA there would have been if our medical technology held the percentage constant–~1100 KIA. They then looked at the fact that there were over 300,000 servicemen in Vietnam in 1966 compared to about 140,000 in Iraq. Based on that ratio they come up with the 3000 number that Joe quoted. If you combined the two statistical inflations (because that’s exactly what they are) then we would have a KIA count at this point of somewhere on the order of 5000-6000 soldiers. That would be inline with Vietnam, which is expected. Of course this proves nothing. We’ve basically transposed Vietnam statistics onto our current headcount and casuality count. Assuming that if we had three times the number of personel that we’d have three times the number of KIA is simply untennable. To then assume that we were back to having a KIA ratio 1.5 times what it actually is, to arrive back at the Vietnam ratio, has no grounding.
    The end result of this analysis is that the troop to casuality ratio (not KIA ratio) is constant between Vietnam and Iraq. Without having the raw numbers you can see that by the fact that the multipliers on the number casualities to number of soldiers to KIA-rate comes up with nearly the same number of KIA (again a fictious number). I’d say that this probably isn’t too surprising. I’d also like to know why Slate didn’t just come right out and throw the casualty-to-troop percentages up instead of going through this labored and unnecessary analysis. The bottom line however, as Joe states, is that Iraq is a dangerous place to be working. This figure is also only looking at U.S. personel casualties, not those of the Iraqi police and military forces who now fight alongside the U.S. soldiers. I’m suspecting their KIA to casuality rate is significantly higher.

  • Mr. Moderate

    I have never heard of a “constant casualty” figure. I could understand if they compared casualty numbers to the number of military personnel involved and came up with a percentage.
    Although I fail to see the point of the analysis in the Slate article, except to show that battlefield medical advances have dramatically improved survivability, their “constant casuality” figure is exactly what that number is. They did it two ways. They looked at the percentage of wounded who died in Vietnam, 25%, compared to the percentage wounded who died in Iraq, 16%, and then came up with the number of KIA there would have been if our medical technology held the percentage constant–~1100 KIA. They then looked at the fact that there were over 300,000 servicemen in Vietnam in 1966 compared to about 140,000 in Iraq. Based on that ratio they come up with the 3000 number that Joe quoted. If you combined the two statistical inflations (because that’s exactly what they are) then we would have a KIA count at this point of somewhere on the order of 5000-6000 soldiers. That would be inline with Vietnam, which is expected. Of course this proves nothing. We’ve basically transposed Vietnam statistics onto our current headcount and casuality count. Assuming that if we had three times the number of personel that we’d have three times the number of KIA is simply untennable. To then assume that we were back to having a KIA ratio 1.5 times what it actually is, to arrive back at the Vietnam ratio, has no grounding.
    The end result of this analysis is that the troop to casuality ratio (not KIA ratio) is constant between Vietnam and Iraq. Without having the raw numbers you can see that by the fact that the multipliers on the number casualities to number of soldiers to KIA-rate comes up with nearly the same number of KIA (again a fictious number). I’d say that this probably isn’t too surprising. I’d also like to know why Slate didn’t just come right out and throw the casualty-to-troop percentages up instead of going through this labored and unnecessary analysis. The bottom line however, as Joe states, is that Iraq is a dangerous place to be working. This figure is also only looking at U.S. personel casualties, not those of the Iraqi police and military forces who now fight alongside the U.S. soldiers. I’m suspecting their KIA to casuality rate is significantly higher.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Mumon: c) “a” is true, but Rumsfeld still fourght this war on the cheap, and is guilty of the worst kind of cruel indifference to human life.
    As is becoming typical, your comment borders on the incoherent. Was that entire comment suppossed to make any sense?
    Oh and the death toll is greater than 896.
    That figure includes both KIA (754) and “non-hostile” mishaps (142).

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Mumon: c) “a” is true, but Rumsfeld still fourght this war on the cheap, and is guilty of the worst kind of cruel indifference to human life.
    As is becoming typical, your comment borders on the incoherent. Was that entire comment suppossed to make any sense?
    Oh and the death toll is greater than 896.
    That figure includes both KIA (754) and “non-hostile” mishaps (142).

  • http://sddc.blogspot.com/ corrie

    Assuming that if we had three times the number of personel that we’d have three times the number of KIA is simply untennable. To then assume that we were back to having a KIA ratio 1.5 times what it actually is, to arrive back at the Vietnam ratio, has no grounding.
    The end result of this analysis is that the troop to casuality ratio (not KIA ratio) is constant between Vietnam and Iraq.

    Maybe I missed something, but it seems that these statements contradict themselves.
    If it’s correct that casualties increase with boots on the ground, then why do people argue for more boots?

  • http://sddc.blogspot.com corrie

    Assuming that if we had three times the number of personel that we’d have three times the number of KIA is simply untennable. To then assume that we were back to having a KIA ratio 1.5 times what it actually is, to arrive back at the Vietnam ratio, has no grounding.
    The end result of this analysis is that the troop to casuality ratio (not KIA ratio) is constant between Vietnam and Iraq.

    Maybe I missed something, but it seems that these statements contradict themselves.
    If it’s correct that casualties increase with boots on the ground, then why do people argue for more boots?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Joe Carter:
    http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/ lists 1043 KIA, and 1326 total, which comes from, those liberals at the DOD.
    I can’t understand why you’d find what I wrote incoherent, with the exception of a spelling error.
    Surely you’d not defend Rumsfeld, would you?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/ mumon

    Joe Carter:
    http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/ lists 1043 KIA, and 1326 total, which comes from, those liberals at the DOD.
    I can’t understand why you’d find what I wrote incoherent, with the exception of a spelling error.
    Surely you’d not defend Rumsfeld, would you?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/ mumon

    corrie:
    The issue has to do with what you need to combat a guerilla insurgency.
    Now, the conventional wisdom is roughly 10-50 times the number of guerillas is needed to defeat such an insurgency (see, e.g., James F. Dunnigan’s “How to Make War,”).
    So one usually postulates a number of guerillas, and calculates the number of boots on the ground required to defeat the insurgency.
    However, it is argued by some in the Pentagon, and by the DoD’s leaders (like Rumsfeld) that those numbers are somehow “old,” and don’t reflect the new, high tech military.
    In the case of Iraq, we can estimate that there’s at least say, 10,000-50,000 guerillas. Doing the math – not Rummy’s “new math” would imply that at least 1 million troups would be needed.
    The casualties would increase with more boots on the ground, but there is the chance- and I’d call it just that, speaking honestly- the chance, that maybe the insurgency could be defeated.
    It’s not clear to me that this is true, though.

  • http://pseudopolymath.blogspot.com/ Mark O

    mumon,
    Are your figures from 2004 only or from 2003 and 2004?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    corrie:
    The issue has to do with what you need to combat a guerilla insurgency.
    Now, the conventional wisdom is roughly 10-50 times the number of guerillas is needed to defeat such an insurgency (see, e.g., James F. Dunnigan’s “How to Make War,”).
    So one usually postulates a number of guerillas, and calculates the number of boots on the ground required to defeat the insurgency.
    However, it is argued by some in the Pentagon, and by the DoD’s leaders (like Rumsfeld) that those numbers are somehow “old,” and don’t reflect the new, high tech military.
    In the case of Iraq, we can estimate that there’s at least say, 10,000-50,000 guerillas. Doing the math – not Rummy’s “new math” would imply that at least 1 million troups would be needed.
    The casualties would increase with more boots on the ground, but there is the chance- and I’d call it just that, speaking honestly- the chance, that maybe the insurgency could be defeated.
    It’s not clear to me that this is true, though.

  • http://pseudopolymath.blogspot.com/ Mark O

    mumon,
    Are your figures from 2004 only or from 2003 and 2004?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Mumon: http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/ lists 1043 KIA, and 1326 total, which comes from, those liberals at the DOD.
    Those figures are total for the entire war. The 896 is the total for 2004. The Slate article was limited to a comparison of 1966 and 2004, not the entire war. Now if they want to compare the total death tolls from both wars

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Mumon: http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/ lists 1043 KIA, and 1326 total, which comes from, those liberals at the DOD.
    Those figures are total for the entire war. The 896 is the total for 2004. The Slate article was limited to a comparison of 1966 and 2004, not the entire war. Now if they want to compare the total death tolls from both wars

  • Mr. Moderate

    Maybe I missed something, but it seems that these statements contradict themselves.
    I think you did miss something. As it stands right now the casuality to troop ratio is the same in Iraq as it was in Vietnam. That’s a statement of fact. To say that tripling the number of troops will triple the number of casualities, or reducing by a third the number of troops will reduce casualities by a similar ratio, is what is untennable. It is possible that tripling the number of troops will cause that ratio to go up due to poor training of new troops or lack of maneuverability in urban warefare with the larger troop elements. IT is possible the ratio will drop as the number of troops per detail or the number of sentries minimizes the guerillas’ effectiveness. I don’t think anyone here or at slate know the answer to that. Considering that the original military estimate was for three times the number of present troops, I’d say the military analysts believe that the ratio will drop when the number of troops increases.
    If it’s correct that casualties increase with boots on the ground, then why do people argue for more boots?
    By the reverse logic if we cut the number of troops to zero we’d have no casualities. The problem is there is a mission to be finished. If adding more troops increases the number of casualities but decreases the casuality-to-troop ratio, then it would be a good indication of what needs to be done. More importantly, if the number of existing troops is insufficient to stabilize the country then we need to send in more troops to finish cleaning up the mess we started even if the ratio stays constant or even increases. It pains me that the actions of these incompetents in the White House and their think tank groups on the periphery will cause even more deaths and injuries to our troops, but unfortunately this is the path we as a country have been put on and we have to stick to it.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Maybe I missed something, but it seems that these statements contradict themselves.
    I think you did miss something. As it stands right now the casuality to troop ratio is the same in Iraq as it was in Vietnam. That’s a statement of fact. To say that tripling the number of troops will triple the number of casualities, or reducing by a third the number of troops will reduce casualities by a similar ratio, is what is untennable. It is possible that tripling the number of troops will cause that ratio to go up due to poor training of new troops or lack of maneuverability in urban warefare with the larger troop elements. IT is possible the ratio will drop as the number of troops per detail or the number of sentries minimizes the guerillas’ effectiveness. I don’t think anyone here or at slate know the answer to that. Considering that the original military estimate was for three times the number of present troops, I’d say the military analysts believe that the ratio will drop when the number of troops increases.
    If it’s correct that casualties increase with boots on the ground, then why do people argue for more boots?
    By the reverse logic if we cut the number of troops to zero we’d have no casualities. The problem is there is a mission to be finished. If adding more troops increases the number of casualities but decreases the casuality-to-troop ratio, then it would be a good indication of what needs to be done. More importantly, if the number of existing troops is insufficient to stabilize the country then we need to send in more troops to finish cleaning up the mess we started even if the ratio stays constant or even increases. It pains me that the actions of these incompetents in the White House and their think tank groups on the periphery will cause even more deaths and injuries to our troops, but unfortunately this is the path we as a country have been put on and we have to stick to it.

  • Mr. Moderate

    No, of course not. I mean the man only lead the DoD through two successful wars in three years. He

  • Mr. Moderate

    No, of course not. I mean the man only lead the DoD through two successful wars in three years. He

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Moderate: I’d still give him that one except that he failed to provide the necessary planning to stabilize the country and provide the right environment for the seeds of democracy to grow there.
    Why is that Rumsfeld

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Moderate: I’d still give him that one except that he failed to provide the necessary planning to stabilize the country and provide the right environment for the seeds of democracy to grow there.
    Why is that Rumsfeld

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/ mumon

    Joe Carter:
    Sorry, but our main objective, getting bin Laden, wasn’t met in Afghanistan, and Iraq? Please.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Joe Carter:
    Sorry, but our main objective, getting bin Laden, wasn’t met in Afghanistan, and Iraq? Please.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Why is that Rumsfeld

  • Mr. Moderate

    Why is that Rumsfeld

  • Mr. Moderate

    Why is that Rumsfeld

  • Mr. Moderate

    Why is that Rumsfeld

  • Mr. Moderate

    In fact, government planning rarely works the way it is supposed to. That is why conservatives want less of it rather than more.
    The solution being pawned off on us is to turn all of these government functions over to these corporate giants. You therefore get all the inefficiencies of gigantism that you had in government but then you add to it no accountability and surcharging to show profits. Yippy! GOP privatization sounds great to me!

  • Mr. Moderate

    In fact, government planning rarely works the way it is supposed to. That is why conservatives want less of it rather than more.
    The solution being pawned off on us is to turn all of these government functions over to these corporate giants. You therefore get all the inefficiencies of gigantism that you had in government but then you add to it no accountability and surcharging to show profits. Yippy! GOP privatization sounds great to me!

  • Mr. Moderate

    And Joe…FYI…I’m for the dismantling of both government and corporate gigantism. Replacing government gigantism with corporate gigantism is going to do nothing but make the situation worse, for the reasons I stated below. A re-emphasis on local governments and small businesses I think is the key. That is not what the Republicans are selling.

  • Mr. Moderate

    And Joe…FYI…I’m for the dismantling of both government and corporate gigantism. Replacing government gigantism with corporate gigantism is going to do nothing but make the situation worse, for the reasons I stated below. A re-emphasis on local governments and small businesses I think is the key. That is not what the Republicans are selling.

  • brandon

    Sorry, but our main objective, getting bin Laden, wasn’t met in Afghanistan, and Iraq? Please.
    Our main objective is to destroy terrorism and make sure 9/11 doesn’t happen again. Who seriously believes that removing bin Laden would stop or even slow the thousands of militant Islamofascists, the Hamases, and the like? As if bin Laden is the source of power behind Wahhabism. He is and always has been a prime target, but never the primary objective.
    Why don’t we compare the efficacy of the two wars in 1966 and 2004, instead of body counts, ratios, etc? So far during 2004 not one terrorist attack has surfaced in the United States. A pro-democracy element has emerged in Iraq, and millions of people are ready and willing to vote. I don’t know that we can speak as well of 1966.

  • brandon

    Sorry, but our main objective, getting bin Laden, wasn’t met in Afghanistan, and Iraq? Please.
    Our main objective is to destroy terrorism and make sure 9/11 doesn’t happen again. Who seriously believes that removing bin Laden would stop or even slow the thousands of militant Islamofascists, the Hamases, and the like? As if bin Laden is the source of power behind Wahhabism. He is and always has been a prime target, but never the primary objective.
    Why don’t we compare the efficacy of the two wars in 1966 and 2004, instead of body counts, ratios, etc? So far during 2004 not one terrorist attack has surfaced in the United States. A pro-democracy element has emerged in Iraq, and millions of people are ready and willing to vote. I don’t know that we can speak as well of 1966.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    As you point out, this focus on the body count is specious and stupid. And these comparisons to Vietnam via body count “inflation” are utterly idiotic.
    But worse than all that, they focus the mind on the precise wrong issue. We can lose in Iraq without losing another soldier. As sad as it would be, we can win in Iraq even though, for a time, we’re losing hundreds or even thousands of soldiers a month. The “body count” tells us how many brave souls have given their lives, and, to an extent, provides an glimpse of how “hot” the war is (as well as a reminder that the war is not yet over). The body count does not tell us, however, whether those brave soldiers gave their lives in victory or defeat.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    As you point out, this focus on the body count is specious and stupid. And these comparisons to Vietnam via body count “inflation” are utterly idiotic.
    But worse than all that, they focus the mind on the precise wrong issue. We can lose in Iraq without losing another soldier. As sad as it would be, we can win in Iraq even though, for a time, we’re losing hundreds or even thousands of soldiers a month. The “body count” tells us how many brave souls have given their lives, and, to an extent, provides an glimpse of how “hot” the war is (as well as a reminder that the war is not yet over). The body count does not tell us, however, whether those brave soldiers gave their lives in victory or defeat.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com/ Patrick

    The idea that we went into Iraq without a

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    The idea that we went into Iraq without a

  • Chris Lutz

    A few parallels in general principle to the current situation in Iraq. Your opponent will always step up offensive actions and/or make desparate moves when they are losing. The goal is to at a minimum achieve a balance to the situation or at a maximum, regain the initiative. Two previous war examples are the Battle of the Bulge and the Tet Offensive. So, why are casualty figures so high, simply put, the enemy is attempting to regain the initiative and has stepped up operations. Stepped up enemy activity is not necessarily a sign of losing.
    With regards to complaints as to how the war is being fought, I think that has mainly to do with politics. I don’t like the way the post invasion portion has been fought, but I don’t know that you could do it any other way. Fighting insurgencies gets bloody and nasty. And, I doubt that the people complaining about how we are fighting the war now would like it better the other way. Today, I believe we are at least trying to maintain a good level of decency in operations and respect cultural sensitivities. How many here support bulldozing any mosque used as a base by the insurgents? There aren’t easy answers here.

  • Chris Lutz

    A few parallels in general principle to the current situation in Iraq. Your opponent will always step up offensive actions and/or make desparate moves when they are losing. The goal is to at a minimum achieve a balance to the situation or at a maximum, regain the initiative. Two previous war examples are the Battle of the Bulge and the Tet Offensive. So, why are casualty figures so high, simply put, the enemy is attempting to regain the initiative and has stepped up operations. Stepped up enemy activity is not necessarily a sign of losing.
    With regards to complaints as to how the war is being fought, I think that has mainly to do with politics. I don’t like the way the post invasion portion has been fought, but I don’t know that you could do it any other way. Fighting insurgencies gets bloody and nasty. And, I doubt that the people complaining about how we are fighting the war now would like it better the other way. Today, I believe we are at least trying to maintain a good level of decency in operations and respect cultural sensitivities. How many here support bulldozing any mosque used as a base by the insurgents? There aren’t easy answers here.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    Mr. Lutz –
    Your opponent will always step up offensive actions and/or make desparate moves when they are losing. The goal is to at a minimum achieve a balance to the situation or at a maximum, regain the initiative. Two previous war examples are the Battle of the Bulge and the Tet Offensive.
    Quick note: No, not necessarily true. Opponents also can fold (e.g., Saddam’s forces during the invasion) or retreat and retrench (e.g., the Romans fighting Hannibal; the Russians at Stalingrad) when they’re losing. Opponents also, obviously, step up military actions when they’re winning.
    I don’t mean to suggest that we’re losing in Iraq, by the bye. I just want to point out that the silly “we know we are winning because of their aggression” argument is, well, silly.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    Mr. Lutz –
    Your opponent will always step up offensive actions and/or make desparate moves when they are losing. The goal is to at a minimum achieve a balance to the situation or at a maximum, regain the initiative. Two previous war examples are the Battle of the Bulge and the Tet Offensive.
    Quick note: No, not necessarily true. Opponents also can fold (e.g., Saddam’s forces during the invasion) or retreat and retrench (e.g., the Romans fighting Hannibal; the Russians at Stalingrad) when they’re losing. Opponents also, obviously, step up military actions when they’re winning.
    I don’t mean to suggest that we’re losing in Iraq, by the bye. I just want to point out that the silly “we know we are winning because of their aggression” argument is, well, silly.

  • Chris Lutz

    I just want to point out that the silly “we know we are winning because of their aggression” argument is, well, silly.
    Sorry if I implied that, because I didn’t mean to. However, I think it’s just as “silly” to suggest that we are losing because the enemy has stepped up operations.
    I recently read Anthony Herbert’s book about his time in the Army. I believe he was a highly decorated US soldier during the Korean War and had significant success during Vietnam. One point he made while he was having his success was that he didn’t expect his tactics to keep working as the enemy would adapt. Thus forcing him to change. I think some of that is going on in Iraq. Both sides are adapting and at times one side or another has the upper-hand.
    In insurgencies, its hard to tell who is winning.

  • Chris Lutz

    I just want to point out that the silly “we know we are winning because of their aggression” argument is, well, silly.
    Sorry if I implied that, because I didn’t mean to. However, I think it’s just as “silly” to suggest that we are losing because the enemy has stepped up operations.
    I recently read Anthony Herbert’s book about his time in the Army. I believe he was a highly decorated US soldier during the Korean War and had significant success during Vietnam. One point he made while he was having his success was that he didn’t expect his tactics to keep working as the enemy would adapt. Thus forcing him to change. I think some of that is going on in Iraq. Both sides are adapting and at times one side or another has the upper-hand.
    In insurgencies, its hard to tell who is winning.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    Chris — I wholly agree with your 3:33 post. Well said.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    Chris — I wholly agree with your 3:33 post. Well said.

  • Larry Lord

    Joe writes
    “I realize that not everyone wants a democracy in the Middle East but I tend to think it is something worth fighting for.”
    Is it worth dying for Joe in your opinoin? Would you rather be dead and leave your daughter fatherless as long as Iraq has some bogus affirmative action-driven fake democracy in place (there is no indication that there “democracy” is going to be anywhere near as free and democratic as our own pathetic system)?
    Or might it possibly be more Christian to put down your gun, avoid killing any innocent Iraqis, and move to Canada?
    Seriously.

  • Larry Lord

    Joe writes
    “I realize that not everyone wants a democracy in the Middle East but I tend to think it is something worth fighting for.”
    Is it worth dying for Joe in your opinoin? Would you rather be dead and leave your daughter fatherless as long as Iraq has some bogus affirmative action-driven fake democracy in place (there is no indication that there “democracy” is going to be anywhere near as free and democratic as our own pathetic system)?
    Or might it possibly be more Christian to put down your gun, avoid killing any innocent Iraqis, and move to Canada?
    Seriously.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    I ask the question again that only Joe responded to last time (And, I think you could probably do better Joe), although you did at least acknowledge the query last time around). One note-I hate to say it so bluntly as ‘worth it’ because that implies I’m measuring human life against some standard, and I don’t have that ability. But for the hundreds of billions and the carnage it has caused, the effect has to be more than marginal, for it to have been ‘worth it’ in my view.
    Opponents: If you think the War was a bad idea, what could realistically develop in the near future, let’s say two years, that would change your mind to thinking it was worth it?
    Proponents: Same question, if you think the War was a good idea, what could realistically happen that would change your mind to thinking it wasn’t worth it?
    Now, I realize that the term ‘realistically’ isn’t exactly precise. But I think that’s OK for a Blog debate. I’ll take a whack at answering both.
    If two or three years from now we are mired in the same conflict we see now, with no end in sight, and we still have a 100,000 plus troops in there, it’s probably not ‘worth it’, but it might not be a disaster, yet. We’d be looking at some manpower problems if what Barry McCaffery and Schwartzkopf, and a few others are telling me, so we might be looking at a draft. We need to see positive, measurable, developments, not the same f-d up lousy failed state we’re looking at now, for it have been worth the death of thousands on both sides.
    If within the next two or three years, we get attacked again by Al Qaeda or some spin off, significantly, it wasn’t worth it to focus on Iraq. We can’t claim we’re safer, if we’re not safer.
    If within the next two or three years we high tail it out of there and leave behind a wrecked, fractured nation simmering with outlaws and gangs, a failed state for militants to in effect, take over portions of, it wasn’t worth it.
    If we have a vehemently western-hostile government, even one duly elected, which gives aid and comfort to Islamic Militants, it wasn’t worth it.
    If a major revolt in Saudi Arabia, or Jordan kicks up, sponsored by operatives working out of Iraq, and inflamed because of hatred for the US over Iraq, or because we took Saddam out, which results in a major nation currently at peace with us to throw in with our enemies, it wasn’t worth it.
    If another threat flares up, old or new, and we can’t get international help because of Iraq, and we have too many resources pinned down in Iraq to respond quickly, then it wasn’t worth it.
    If two or three years from now, we can look back, see a reasonably peaceful, non-hostile, organized nation, the kind where you can travel without being kidnapped by roving gangs looking to sell you to terrorists for a private Al Qaeda snuff film, we have our commitment drawn down substantially, and we don’t get attacked in the meantime, and no real change in AQ’s numbers or operations, significantly, by someone whom we should have kept the pressure on; Then it might have been worth it. If Iraq becomes a staunch dependable ally for the US in the region in this time period, it may have been worth it.
    If you can’t answer those questions with some kind of direct, half-ass, non-evasive answer on either side, then you don’t have any defined criteria of success, failure, or draw. It seems reasonable to me that one needs to be able to state the falsification criteria, regardless of which side you’re taking, to be taken as seriously concerned about America’s safety over saving face for your initial position, no matter what happens. IOW, one has to be able to admit you could be wrong, and spell out why you could be wrong. This goes for both sides. No whining if you want to play. You can either answer, or you cannot, and if you cannot then your position doesn’t have any rationale behind it. I don’t expect brilliant answer off the cuff, it’s fine to think about it a bit, in fact I’d rather you did think about it a bit. But I won’t stop asking ;)

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    I ask the question again that only Joe responded to last time (And, I think you could probably do better Joe), although you did at least acknowledge the query last time around). One note-I hate to say it so bluntly as ‘worth it’ because that implies I’m measuring human life against some standard, and I don’t have that ability. But for the hundreds of billions and the carnage it has caused, the effect has to be more than marginal, for it to have been ‘worth it’ in my view.
    Opponents: If you think the War was a bad idea, what could realistically develop in the near future, let’s say two years, that would change your mind to thinking it was worth it?
    Proponents: Same question, if you think the War was a good idea, what could realistically happen that would change your mind to thinking it wasn’t worth it?
    Now, I realize that the term ‘realistically’ isn’t exactly precise. But I think that’s OK for a Blog debate. I’ll take a whack at answering both.
    If two or three years from now we are mired in the same conflict we see now, with no end in sight, and we still have a 100,000 plus troops in there, it’s probably not ‘worth it’, but it might not be a disaster, yet. We’d be looking at some manpower problems if what Barry McCaffery and Schwartzkopf, and a few others are telling me, so we might be looking at a draft. We need to see positive, measurable, developments, not the same f-d up lousy failed state we’re looking at now, for it have been worth the death of thousands on both sides.
    If within the next two or three years, we get attacked again by Al Qaeda or some spin off, significantly, it wasn’t worth it to focus on Iraq. We can’t claim we’re safer, if we’re not safer.
    If within the next two or three years we high tail it out of there and leave behind a wrecked, fractured nation simmering with outlaws and gangs, a failed state for militants to in effect, take over portions of, it wasn’t worth it.
    If we have a vehemently western-hostile government, even one duly elected, which gives aid and comfort to Islamic Militants, it wasn’t worth it.
    If a major revolt in Saudi Arabia, or Jordan kicks up, sponsored by operatives working out of Iraq, and inflamed because of hatred for the US over Iraq, or because we took Saddam out, which results in a major nation currently at peace with us to throw in with our enemies, it wasn’t worth it.
    If another threat flares up, old or new, and we can’t get international help because of Iraq, and we have too many resources pinned down in Iraq to respond quickly, then it wasn’t worth it.
    If two or three years from now, we can look back, see a reasonably peaceful, non-hostile, organized nation, the kind where you can travel without being kidnapped by roving gangs looking to sell you to terrorists for a private Al Qaeda snuff film, we have our commitment drawn down substantially, and we don’t get attacked in the meantime, and no real change in AQ’s numbers or operations, significantly, by someone whom we should have kept the pressure on; Then it might have been worth it. If Iraq becomes a staunch dependable ally for the US in the region in this time period, it may have been worth it.
    If you can’t answer those questions with some kind of direct, half-ass, non-evasive answer on either side, then you don’t have any defined criteria of success, failure, or draw. It seems reasonable to me that one needs to be able to state the falsification criteria, regardless of which side you’re taking, to be taken as seriously concerned about America’s safety over saving face for your initial position, no matter what happens. IOW, one has to be able to admit you could be wrong, and spell out why you could be wrong. This goes for both sides. No whining if you want to play. You can either answer, or you cannot, and if you cannot then your position doesn’t have any rationale behind it. I don’t expect brilliant answer off the cuff, it’s fine to think about it a bit, in fact I’d rather you did think about it a bit. But I won’t stop asking ;)

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Sorry if I came off kind of strong there people. It looks a little harsh in the light of a bright new morning. I have a corneal abrasion, and I think it’s affecting my normally cheery disposition.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Sorry if I came off kind of strong there people. It looks a little harsh in the light of a bright new morning. I have a corneal abrasion, and I think it’s affecting my normally cheery disposition.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/ mumon

    Opponents: If you think the War was a bad idea, what could realistically develop in the near future, let’s say two years, that would change your mind to thinking it was worth it?
    Well, you see many things would have to happen. Not only have we created a strategic debacle in Iraq, (though it’s true- it’s not Vietnam, where we were up against an organized liberation movement that happened to be Communist) but we have squandered the opportunity cost of not doing anything.
    So… I’d have to see:
    Iraq become a stable country.
    Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace (prospects hindered greatly by the Iraq adventure)
    America lessen its dependence of petroleum.
    America actually vanquish al Qaeda…
    America again become a respected leader in the world, with a strong dollar…
    Now none of that’s going to happen, and so even if Iraq comes through as a shining example of …a western democracy?…it’s never going to be anything near a complete success, and more likely is emblematic of the twighlight of the American supremacy.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Opponents: If you think the War was a bad idea, what could realistically develop in the near future, let’s say two years, that would change your mind to thinking it was worth it?
    Well, you see many things would have to happen. Not only have we created a strategic debacle in Iraq, (though it’s true- it’s not Vietnam, where we were up against an organized liberation movement that happened to be Communist) but we have squandered the opportunity cost of not doing anything.
    So… I’d have to see:
    Iraq become a stable country.
    Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace (prospects hindered greatly by the Iraq adventure)
    America lessen its dependence of petroleum.
    America actually vanquish al Qaeda…
    America again become a respected leader in the world, with a strong dollar…
    Now none of that’s going to happen, and so even if Iraq comes through as a shining example of …a western democracy?…it’s never going to be anything near a complete success, and more likely is emblematic of the twighlight of the American supremacy.