Carter and West on Iraq and Vietnam

Long-time reader Rodrigo sends word of this interesting piece from Slate: Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966 – Adjusting body counts for medical and military changes.

Since lots of people seem to want to see such a comparison (based on the comments on my monthly Vietnam/Iraq deathtoll graphs), there you go.

14 Responses to “Carter and West on Iraq and Vietnam”

  1. Gunfighter Says:

    The Slate article is as bogus a demonstration of manipulating data as I have ever seen. Mr. Gawande (whoever the heck he is) proposes to normalize (my term) the data in comparison to Nam. Through his statistical magic he manipulates the data so suddenly the fatalities double, and, since there have been no aircrews lost, he further increase the KIA. One might as well compare the Iraq

  2. Gunfighter Says:

    Sorry, fat fingers…
    Compare Iraq to the War of The Roses and assume everyone dies.

    This is a different war in a different location and time. Todays guys are better equipped and better trained than we were in Nam and we were better prepared than my dad in WWII. That doesn’t diminish the danger involved or the courage required to face it.

    Fewer guys are dying than in a simiar period in Nam, Korea, WWII or WWI. Thank God for the improvements in training, equipment and field medicine.

    The real numbers are available and they can tell you something if you pay attention. If you manipulate them to fit your pre-conceived idea, they become meaningless. Slate’s story is meaningless, without merit, and certainly not journalism.

  3. TeacherVet Says:

    Gunslinger, the data was so meaningless that I hadn’t even intended to respond, but I’m glad you did.

    I remember a report from about 1973 stating that if we had killed as many Vietcong as had been reported cumulatively in the press throughout the duration of that war, the numbers exceeded the population of North Vietnam for almost 200 years.

    Of course, if that had actually been the case, there would have been no one to hang the photos of John Kerry and Jane Fonda in their commemorative War Crimes Museum in Hanoi – and there would have been no one to murder 1.5 to 3 million South Vietnamese in the killing fields a year after we pulled out.

  4. TeacherVet Says:

    I wonder what kind of statistical magic the Slate writers could work with the following figures (homicides last year):

    Los Angeles 592 (16.44 per 100,000)
    Chicago 485 (17.32 per 100,000)
    Detroit 346 (34.60 per 100,000)
    Philadelphia 251 (16.73 per 100,000)

    All 4 cities have one common factor; all have Democrat mayors.

    The high rates cannot be attributed to large population. The population of New York City is slightly greater than that of all 4 cities combined, and the homicide rate in NYC was 6.11 per 100,000. For the record, NYC has a Republican mayor.

    1,674 homicides in those 4 cities combined. Iraq’s population is 3 times that of the 4 cities listed, so perhaps we can assume that 5,022 citizens would have been killed there last year…especially with U.S. troops “randomly killing innocent civilians” on a regular basis (or so we would be led to believe).

    In fact, there were approximately 75% fewer Iraqis killed in the year following the invasion than generally attributed to Saddam Hussein in any given year.

    I’ll bet the Slate writers could take those same figures, twist them into meaningless data, and use them to draw conclusions to embarrass and shame a Republican administration.

  5. Gunfighter Says:


    I worked in NYC for a period prior to Rudy Giuliani’s election. At that time NYC was competing with the Motor City for highest murder rate (30+ per 100,000). Many folks objected to Rudy’s abrasive manor and many today think his only claim to fame is his leadership following 9/11/01. NYC was becoming quite the slum hole prior to Rudy.

    Sure he was a hardass. But the people and the policies he put in place are the reasons the murder rate is down 80% from 1990. And indigents don’t run out into the street, spit on you windshield, smear it with a dirty rag and demand payment.

    It isn’t perfect, but the decent, hardworking citizens of NYC (the vast majority) were glad to see some discipline applied where necessary.

  6. Cyrus Says:

    I think a lot of people saw this coming. When we went over there, and ever since the first demonstration against, people have been having flashbacks. It’s not a coincidence either, when the President wants war in order to be a wartime President (among many other wrong reasons) and the country doesn’t, we will come to the same end as we did in the early ’70s. If I were alive then, I’d say “deja vu.” The good news is, Kerry won’t have to clean up GW’s mess, it’s all his own now.


  7. Gunfighter Says:

    If “the country” wanted out of this war “the country” could have voted GWB out. “The country” didn’t. Did GWB win because “the country” agreed with him or because it couldn’t figure out what Kerry was in favor of.

    Don’t missunderstand. War, of any kind, stinks. I have twin boys who are a turning 16. I don’t want them going to war in a couple of years. But I also have a 6 month old grandson and I don’t want him growing up in fear like they must in Israel. If establishing some democratic governments in the midst of Islamic extremism keeps the turmoil a few thousand miles from my family, I’m all for it.

    You may not like GWB or how he is conducting business, but he is taking the conflict to the perpetrators, not waiting for them to bring it here again. If the rest of the world doesn’t like it, so be it. Perhaps you will recall how anxious the world was to appease Adolph and what resulted.

    Spain was hit and responded in exactly the wrong way. They will live in fear of another attack; we must not.

  8. Jimbo Says:

    How highminded of you Gunslinger, willing to sacrifice other people’s children so you don’t have to.

    I hope your two kids get to join mine in Belad. Oh how I live for the day you get to experience the pain you war lovers impose on other people so mindlessly

    You’re “all for it”? Go fuck yourself Adolf.

  9. TeacherVet Says:

    Jimbo, you have a child who was drafted, or enlisted involuntarily? I’ve already experienced the pain, but we have never been “mindlessly” involved in any war. I’m unaware of any of our children who have been sacrificed. I understand your bitterness, and I hope your “child” fares well and returns home soon and safely, but I fail to understand the animosity toward those who support our efforts around the world.

    Rest assured that the War on Terror will still be going on when Gunslinger’s grandkids reach adulthood, so your grand wishes will probably come true.

    There have always been people who objected to war for any purpose, even self-defense, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, and both World Wars; but the press has never been so determined to dictate policy. Mary Lincoln called the Civil War correspondents the “vampire press” for their attacks on the President, but those critiques pale in comparison to the attacks that have been leveled against the current president.

    If you want to hate someone, try directing at least a part of your anger toward those who first declared war on American citizens.


  10. Gunfighter Says:

    Debate is most valuable when the debaters hear and understand the opposing positions. Frequently something can be learned from the debate. I already know how to utilize profanity and name-calling but recognize that it is of no value in an intelligent discussion. Therefore, Jimbo, there was nothing of value in your comment.

  11. Jimbo Says:

    I’m not debating anything with you you immoral bastard.

    I’m not interested in having an intelligent discussion with you.

    The “value” in my comments is that you know I hate your fucking guts for causing a war that has killed thousands upon thousands upon thousands of innocent people, both American and Iraqi.

    Happy New Year Adolf, and I wish upon you and your family in the coming year ten times the pain and suffering you so smugly subject others too.

  12. Jimbo Says:

    Yes Bill, my son volunteered. Did yours? Then you don’t understand my bitterness.

    Not aware of any of our children who have been sacrificed? Well then fuck you too.

    Offended? I don’t care. You want this war you go fight it you coward.

    I am old enough to remember you warmonger scum from Viet Nam. You and your dimwitted leader aren’t worth a single Iraqi life.

    Not a single one.

  13. TeacherVet Says:

    Very intelligent, Jimbo. Did your son not realize that the explicit purpose of a military commonly puts those who volunteer in harm’s way – as with the 4 wars we fought under President Clinton? What does he think of your lack of support for him when he needs it most?

    My use of the term “children” was obviously not “family possessive” – we have no children serving in Iraq, only adult men and women.

    I don’t have a son, but my father did; and he (I, the coward) volunteered. Did you vote for the warmonger scum from Vietnam (your words, not mine), John Kerry, who voted for this war and promised to continue it if elected? I didn’t enlist as a warmonger, and I didn’t enlist looking for government handouts following my honorable discharge. I agree that the Iraqi lives are valuable, and that’s why we’re over there. As I have stated before, in the first year of the war, there were 75% few civilian casualties than in any given year of Saddam’s rule. I suspect that those thousands of lives saved mean nothing to you.

    You’re blinded by hatred, and I truly pity you.


  14. Scott Says:

    Jimbo, you’re making little sense.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.