Putting Iraq in perspective


Let's start with a posting from Gateway Pundit, which provides some useful statistics in tabular form. For example, American war fatalities:

Iraq 2,372

Korea 54,246

Vietnam 58,219

World War II 408,306

U.S. war fatalities per month:

Iraq 65

Korea 909

Vietnam 526

World War II 6,639

MainStreamMedia has been highlighting casualties as if they were comparable to those in past wars. They're not. They're of the same order of magnitude, as John Hinderaker of Power Line points out, as peacetime military deaths a quarter century ago:

A total of 2,471 servicemembers have died in Iraq from 2003 to the present, a period of a little over three years. That total is almost exactly one third of the number of military personnel who died on active duty from 1980 to 1982, a comparable time period when no wars were being fought. Until very recently, our armed forces lost servicemen at a greater rate than we have experienced in Iraq, due solely to accidental death.

Every death is a tragic loss. But military service is a hazardous occupation, even in peacetime. All the more reason to honor those who volunteer to serve.

Unfortunately, MainStreamMedia seems determined to do the opposite by overcovering the alleged murder of civilians by marines in Haditha in November 2005, just as it overcovered the prison abuses in Abu Ghraib. Here are two useful postings to put that issue in perspective, from Michelle Malkin , and Hugh Hewitt. If marines committed atrocities and if noncommissioned officers and officers issued false or misleading reports about them, they should be punished according to the military rules and regulations that rightly forbid such acts. An investigation is ongoing, and there is no reason to believe that it is a whitewash. The alleged incidents at Haditha and the incidents at Abu Ghraib are newsworthy precisely because they're highly unusual. But would the press in World War II have put such stories on the front page day after day after day? I think not. Such things do, alas, happen in war. But in my view, they belong, at least after the initial revelations, on the inside pages. Otherwise, they stoke the view that Abu Ghraib and Haditha were the only two things that have happened in this war.