Another Mind-Numbingly Useless Statistic

Posted: December 26, 2006 in Politics, Rants, Religion of Pieces, War

U.S. Toll in Iraq Surpasses That of 9/11

So. Freakin’. What?!

It’d be an interesting study to see if, during WW II, ANYONE kept tabs on when US casualties exceeded that suffered at Pearl harbor?

This statistic might only have relevance if the attacks on Afghanistan or Iraq were billed solely as retributional, or an eye-for-an-eye.  Which they weren’t.

Otherwise, it’s just a catchy tagline, another imaginary “grim milestone” designed to infuse further controversy in an already tragic enough situation.

  1. Seriously…I think we are overwhelmed by stats these days. Half of the time, the things being compared aren’t even corallary. It blows my mind that they will cook up any kind of number for a gut-wrenching head line. Isn’t one unjust casualty in this war enough?

  2. Steve B says:

    Particularly stats which are meaningless. Comparing to 9/11 casualties is like suggesting that we have somehow reached “parity” with the terrorists or something, and that any casualties past this point are some kind of “uncharted territory” full of grim portents and troubling yada yada…

  3. Joe says:

    Since we invaded Iraq for no good reason whatsoever, I think those deaths are even more tragic. What a waste of lives and what a shame. Or maybe…sham?

  4. kontan says:

    I expect nothing less of the pathetic. Both are tragic, yet not comparable.

  5. Joe says:

    Wanna know what’s not comparable? WWII and the Iraqi War. Apples and oranges. Now go suck on that.

  6. Steve B says:


    Why do you consistently use nearly any comment remotely related to the Iraq war to trot out the same tired old horse?

    My point was exclusively about the use of a spurious correlation by a media outlet to infuse controversy in an otherwise non-event.

    And there is a possible comparison between WW II. A surprise attack that cost thousands of American lives and which drew us into a war. You can debate whether Iraq was a necessary a part of the war, just as you could debate whether it was necessary to invade Northern Africa in WWII. It’s a rough comparison, yes, but it’s perhaps more Granny Smith vs. Red Delicious than apples and oranges.

  7. Joe says:

    Tired horse? Hardly Steve-O. The loss of American lives on 9-11 was tragic. But, we are to treat the loss of life in Iraq with a “so freaking what” and as a “non-event?” Unreal. I think that the loss of life in Iraq is just as tragic, if not more tragic, than the what happened on 9-11. Both situtations are senseless.

    There is no comparison to be made between 9-11 and WWII. None at all. And it is silly to try to draw such a comparison. Iraq was not apart of what happened to us on 9-11 nor did Iraq declare war on us after 9-11. In fact, we were the aggressors vis-a-vis Iraq.

    You can call it a tired horse all you want, if that helps you rationalize supporting a senseless and needless war. America is paying a huge price for Bush’s folly and history will rightly hold this president to be a complete failure.

  8. carin says:

    You know what else is tragic and senseless, Joe – deaths in car crashes. How meaningless are those loss of lives? 45,000 people a year in the US. Tragic loss of life.


  9. Joe says:

    Did you really just compare the deaths in Iraq to…car crashes? That is pretty low. Almost as bad as saying these deaths in Iraq are non-events. Why don’t you go make this comparison to families who have lost loved ones in this war. I’m sure thet would love to hear your pearls of wisdom.

    You know…if you don’t understand analogies…just don’t use them.

  10. carin says:

    So … a car crash death is a non-event to a family? Or a brain embolism? The loss of a family member is a loss whatever the cause of death. Car crashes are pretty senseless – and given that the number who die in car accidents is many MANY many times greater than our combat dead in Iraq ….It is only in combat that a death has significance to society.

    But, death is death. If we are compiling numbers, I’m just saying – probably more people drink them-self to death in a year than die in combat. The outrage at the number is … is stupid taken out of context.

    Heck, I live in Detroit, and it’s almost more dangerous here for Americans than in Iraq. I think we got 400 murdered so far.

  11. Joe says:

    Did I say death by car crashes were a non-event? No. Now, I know it may be easier for you to argue your point by putting words in my mouth…but it’s actually makes you look better to talk about what I actually said.

    And if you think comparing the deaths of our men and women in Iraq is to car crashed it ok…well…that pretty much tells me all I need to know. It’s pretty low man. Almost as bad a Steve calling those deaths a non-event.

    If democrat or liberal were to say half the crap you folks have said here about the deaths of our troops…you all would be jumping out of your skin and calling for that person’s head on a platter. Hypocrisy much?

  12. carin says:

    Well, we can’t put the numbers into perspective using previous combat death numbers. I can’t compare the numbers to casualties of other (senseless) causes (oh, BTW, Michigan alone has more auto deaths per year than we have combat dead in Iraq). Humn … let’s see, how about we compare the numbers to the deaths caused by Saddam?

    Regardless? The AP started this game- although I think it is the most assinine comparison.

    Personally, I think it is useful to put the numbers into perspective by comparing them to previous battles, and (yes) perhaps other causes of death. It doesn’t make me more willing to lose more men and women. Seeing as though I’m related to members of the military, it is a rather important issue for me.

  13. Joe says:

    Wow…I really can’t believe that you are still trying to justify comparing deaths in war to car crashes. Do you think you’re making some grand point? Unreal.

    Any death in this war is tragic and senseless since we didn’t even have to be there. And this war certainly can’t be compared to WWII. In WWII we helped defeat the aggressors. In this Iraq war we are the aggressors. WWII was justified…Iraq is not. We are stuck over there with no end in sight. We really can’t get out now and we can’t fix anything. Hell, even Bill O’reilly is calling for some strong armed Iraqi general to step up, fill the void, kill enough people to bring the rest in line and rule the country. I’m sorry…did we invade that country to get rid of a dictator who was doing that? See how topsy-turvy this thing has become. This war will rightly be known and Bush’s Folly and each death is tragic and sad because it was unnecessary.

  14. carin says:

    Joe, you forgot to use the phrase “Illegal war for oil”- otherwise it has a nice beat, and I can dance to it. I give it a 7.

  15. Joe says:

    Good grief. What the hell? I mean really…what the hell? Go fight your own strawman…I’ll have no part of it.

  16. carin says:

    Joe, that was my way of saying that I disagreed with so much of what you wrote, I decided it was pointless to play.

  17. Joe says:

    The point was lost when you started comparing war deaths to car crashes and Steve said they were a non-event. Amazing that conservatives and such can say such things and feel justified in doing so. Pretty telling acutally.

  18. carin says:

    And, exactly what does it tell you?

  19. Joe says:

    That’s it’s ok for neo-cons to say anything to minimize the clusterfuck that this war has become.

    “The deaths in Iraq now exceed that on 9-11? Big freakin’ deal!”

    “More American troops killed in Iraq today? It’s a non-event…there are more people killed by cars!”

    Unreal. If a Democrat so demeaned the loss of life in Iraq like that the neo-cons would be foaming at the mouth and tearing their clothes.

    The fact is that we did not even need to be in Iraq in the first place. That is plain as day. Each death there is tragic and needless.

  20. Joe says:

    Excellent response. I expect nothing more really.

  21. carin says:

    Well, sorry Joe, but my porch collapsed on three of my dogs, and you know, the babies needed feeding. Can’t spend all day (here) on useless debate.

  22. Joe says:

    You’ve done a good job of fooling us so far. 🙂 But hey, it’s your crawfish, you can fix it how ever you want it.

  23. Joe says:

    Good news out of Iraq. Saddam Hussein is no more! Good riddance to that evil son of a bitch!

  24. Steve B says:



    I said that THE STATISTIC was meaningless, not the deaths which led to it! The USE of what I feel to be a completely arbitrary stastical “milestone” to infuse further editorial angst into what I feel is, and I quote, “an already tragic enough situation.

    I’m a United States Marine, Joe. I would suggest that I feel the death of every serviceman and woman even more keenly than you, since I am one of them. And since I daily face the possibility of being sent to ‘The Front” myself. How DARE you suggest that I don’t give a damn.

    I am NOT defending the war in Iraq!! I am condemning the use of inflammatory headlines by news outlets to increase their ciruclation, AT THE EXPENSE of those valiant lives you are so ardent in defending.

    I guess if my readers can’t understand MY analogies, then perhaps I shouldn’t use them.

  25. Joe says:

    Your words imply that you don’t give a damn. You say you were talking about statistics? Well, those stats are the deaths of service men and women. Spin it all you want Steve-O. But what you said about this being a “non-event” and “big freakin’ deal” was classless. Hide behind you’re uniform all you want…but you were still way out of line.

    I tell you what, why don’t you have to balls to go up to the fmaily of those “statistics” and say that it is all a non-event and it is no big deal. I bet they educate you real quick.

    And you know you that if a Democrat, even if they wore the uniform, were to say the same things that you did…that you make some post blasting them.

    What you said was wrong. Pure and simple and you should feel ashamed of yourself.

    These “statistics” (as you call them) are real people who have real families who are feeling real pain. And for what?

  26. SteveB says:

    Dude, I quite simply don’t know how to explain it any different or better than I already have, twice.

    You’ve clearly got it hard-wired in your head what I said and/or meant, my protestations notwithstanding.

    I simply don’t see any relevant correlation or linkage between the number of deaths in one day on 9/11, and the number of deaths accrued over four years in Iraq.

    But I guess I’m just a heartless neo-con who can’t quit slobbering and genuflecting over Bushitler and his oh-so glorious Iraq Campaign. Guess you’ve got me pegged.

    Far be it for me to try and change your mind.

  27. Joe says:

    What is the correlation between 9-11 and the U.S. deaths in Iraq? Both are needless tragedies that never should have happened. One was OBL’s fault, the other was Bush’s fault. Both should never have happened to begin with.

    Spin it all you want…but you said it loud and clear.

    According to you these American deaths are merely “statistics” which are “non-events” and are no “big freakin’ deal”. Pretty classless of you to say. Really a horrible thing for anyone to say.

    And again, go ahead and tell the families of the dead that their losses are no big deal and are a non-event. Bet they won’t pat you on the back and buy you a cold beer Steve-O.

    You may now continue to crawfish.

  28. Steve B says:

    Joe, they ARE statistics, because they are trumpeted as such in the news everyday. “Grim milestones,” etc.

    The NUMBER of deaths IS a statistic, by definition. People are NOT statistics. The deaths of valiant servicemen, or of anyone for that matter is almost always a tragedy. Broken hearts, shattered lives. I AM NOT ARGUING THE MORALITY OF THE WAR, OR ITS RELATIVE CAUSALITY.

    My point was exclusivly that the USE of an established statistic to draw a spurious correlation was disengenious and inflammatory.

    But, like I’ve said, you’ve got me cemented in as a callous, warmonging Bush sycophant, and so that’s the filter through which you choose to view anything I say. So be it.

  29. Joe says:

    No, I just think it was pretty cold the way you played off these deaths. It is a shame that we have lost more folks in Iraq than we did on 9-11. That’s pretty telling in my opinion and damn sad. I just object to calling these deaths merely stats and playing them off with a big deal and calling them a non-event.

  30. Steve B says:

    Nowhere did I call them “merely” stats. Those are your words, Joe, not mine.

    And I guess it’s more of a philosophical viewpoint than anything that you see some sort of parity between the two. It’s not an eye-for-an-eye. My point is that the comparison is arbitrary and relatively meaningless as a gauge of effectiveness or as some sort of indictment. You don’t agree. Cool, I can live with that.

  31. Joe says:

    Actually Steve-O…you did call them stats.

    “I said that THE STATISTIC was meaningless, not the deaths which led to it!”

    But the stats refer to the deaths…and I refuse to see these deaths merely as stats or as no big freakin’ deal.

    It’s not about parity. It’s about showing just how tragic this war really is.

  32. Steve B says:

    Oh fer the love of….

  33. Joe says:

    Tell you would not be ripping Ted Kennedy or John Kerry a new asshole had they said these deaths were merely stats and were no big deal.

  34. Steve B says:



    My point was SUPPOSED to be that drawing a correlation between the number of deaths on 9/11 and the number of deaths in OIF was a non-sequitor. Strawman. Fatuous and disengenous. That the COMPARISON between the two was meaningless, not that the deaths were!

    I can only assume at this point that you are yanking my chain, so I’m going to let this thread die.

  35. Joe says:

    I only used your words Steve. You said these deaths were only statistics and were no big deal. Pretty lousy thing to say really Steve.

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