Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why the disparity?

Americans are pretty precise in their knowledge of how many US soldiers have died, but grossly underestimate the number of Iraqis who have been killed? Why is this? Since most Americans believe that the US presence in Iraq is to help the Iraqi people, one would think that they would take a keen interest in Iraqi deaths- which could, at best, be said to be 'unhelpful' to those individuals.

...Americans’ tendency to lowball the Iraqi death toll by tens of thousands.

Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000 and could be much higher; some unofficial estimates range into the hundreds of thousands. The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reports more than 34,000 deaths in 2006 alone.

Among those polled for the AP survey, however, the median estimate of Iraqi deaths was 9,890. The median is the point at which half the estimates were higher and half lower.

Is this lack of factual understanding- remember people do know the facts of how many US soldiers have died- a form of psychological self-protection? I don't know. What I do know is that to make the best possible decisions, we need to face up to all the facts. We failed, as a nation, to do that before the Bush Administration took this country into a war of choice. We must not fail again.

No comments: