Vietnam Casualties

This weblog is rightly criticizing Washington Times columnist Jack Kelly for Kelly’s racist dig at Arabs,

The North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong allies were bright, skilled, resourceful, well-led, and very brave.

In Iraq, we’re fighting Arabs.

Kelly is also one of many people who do not appear to understand commonly touted statistics about deaths in the Vietnam theater,

In Vietnam, more than 58,000 Americans lost their lives. At the height of the war, 500 soldiers were being killed each week.

In the Iraq war and the subsequent occupation, we have lost fewer men to hostile fire than in a single terrorist attack in Lebanon in 1983. We’ve been losing about a soldier a day since the first of June. At this rate, we’ll reach the Vietnam total in about 158 years.

Sorry, but no. The 58,000 figure is of combat and non-combat deaths in the Vietnam theater. If you’re going to use that statistic, then you need to compare it with total combat and non-combat deaths in Iraq (which, the last time I checked, sat at about two deaths per day).

The level of violence in Iraq is still extremely low — I get the feeling that your average L.A. street gang would be more vicious than these rather ineffective holdout Saddam loyalists. As Kelly points out in another part of his colum, the suicide bombers who attacked the Marine compound in Lebanon killed more Americans in one fell swoop than these jokers in Iraq have been able to do since the beginning of the war.

Not very impressive, except perhaps to the media who seem to find a annual death rate of less than 1 per 100,000 in a war zone to be indicative of enormous problems.

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