Friday, October 28, 2005

AMERICAblog: Looking beyond the death count stats

Michael in NY reviews the statistics and discovers even more grimness: "The average age of the soldiers who died in Vietnam was 19. It's a sobering statistic -- you can't help but think about all those young lives cut short.

Thanks to the end of the draft, the story is quite different -- but just as sad -- in Iraq. After 2000 deaths (and 15,000 wounded), I added up all their individual ages to find out what the average was. It's 30. (Go here for the CNN rundown, which includes photos and -- for those who still believe the myth of an undercount -- a description of where they died, usually in Iraq, but sometimes in another country or back in the US. It's heartrending)

We know they're dying faster -- it took 18 months for the first 1000 casualties and just 14 months for the next 1000. The insurgency is getting stronger and more lethal. So if that continues, we can expect to hit 3000 dead next August. (And we WILL still be in Iraq ten months from now.)

But what does it mean that these soldiers are on average 30 years old? One thing is clear: these adults have left behind a lot more widows and children."


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