August 26, 2006
A PHILADELPHIA QUAGMIRE? Stop the killing. U.S. out of Philadelphia now!
UPDATE: Iraq veteran Chris Seamans isn't impressed with the analysis in the Post article:
Among my other duties in Iraq, I was a convoy gunner. I am also a native of inner city Philadelphia who has spent almost all of my life in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods. I can say from direct experience that combat duty in Iraq isn't as easy or as safe as walking down the street in Philadelphia. This is a simple fact that the statistics you've linked to attempt to obfuscate. The statistics don't take into account the fact that the majority of servicemen in Iraq spend their deployments behind rows of T-walls, Hesco barriers, and checkpoints, and that the much smaller number of troops that spend their time outside the wire face far greater danger than young black men walking the streets of Philly. The statistics also ignore the fact that the American military has some of the best trauma care in the world, and that the number of people who live despite grave injuries vastly outnumbers those who die from them. (If I remember correctly, the Army said a little while ago that the number of deaths in Iraq would be four times greater if not for its ability to quickly evacuate casualties to top quality medical facilities.) This means that a lot more soldiers have faced potentially life-threatening injuries than just those who have died. If the proper statistics were referenced (or even available) I'd bet my next paycheck that they would back up the obvious reality: Iraq is a warzone that is vastly more dangerous than even the deadliest sections of Philadelphia.
Jeez, you figure when you read something positive about the war in the Big Media it's probably true. Oh, well.
But read this post from Dean Esmay, which seems about right.
ANTOTHER UPDATE: A response to Chris Seamans here:
No one is trying to say that Philadelphia is "more dangerous" than Iraq. (Well, okay, I'm sure someone somewhere is. But I'm not, Glenn Reynolds wasn't, and the Washington Post article didn't...)
Let me repeat: The point wasn't that Philadelphia is "more dangerous" than Iraq. The point was that the death rate in Philadelphia among black men was 11% higher in 2002 than it was in Iraq among US troops during the first three years of the campaign. For the purposes of the point at hand, the statistics referenced were, indeed, the "proper" ones and they're very clear.
I think that nearly everyone realizes that Iraq is far, far more dangerous than Philadelphia. But let's not pretend that it's more dangerous than it is. The statistics show how many people died in Iraq and they showed how many black men died in Philadelphia.
The ultimate point is that the numbers, when compared to each other, will probably surprise you.
Yes, by historical standards the war in Iraq isn't terribly bloody, which does tend to get lost in the media coverage.