Sunday, April 30, 2006

Binary Thinking/One death is one too many.

Recently I have been introduced to the concept of Binary Opposition or as I will be referring to it here as Binary Thinking. It is basically dividing the world always into two parts. And in studying science it is natural to divide the universe into two classifications to study between one group to another group. The easiest way to see this would be a control group that is not changed and the subject group that is exposed to some new stimuli or condition.

But the one BO(Binary Opposition) area I want to explore today is the idea that one death of an American Soldier is too high a price to pay for 50 million freed people. Was it worth it that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan can now determine their own future without the shackles of authoritarian regimes? So I will assume that no soldiers died it would be worth it, anything more is not worth it. But it can be easily shown that any human activity can be boiled down to how many human lives it costs. As in 106,000 people die each year from properly prescribed medications and:
Americans consume 15 tons of aspirin a day, 19 billion tablets per year. Although thought to be harmless, a single aspirin will
…Be responsible for 1500-2000 deaths
…Be the leading cause of kidney disease
…Cause ulcers, toxic headaches and children’s Reye’s syndrome.


According to Antiwar the latest count of soldiers that died in Iraq is 2399. This is for a three year war.

But let me now ask the question, isn't being a soldier a dangerous job, just like loggers, and public safety jobs (fire, police)?
According to US Active Duty Military Deaths, the number of deaths during the first four years of President Bush's term is 891(2001)+ 999(2002)+ 1410(2003)+ 1887(2004)=5187. These numbers reflect engaging the enemy in two countries and toppling two governments.

So how did Clinton do on protecting US soldiers? Active Duty Deaths: Bush vs. Clinton states and can be calculated from above link: "Active duty deaths during Clinton's first four years (1993 - 1996): 4302."

How did Carter do? From FrontPage Mag:
I would this comparison: more active duty service members (2,392) died in 1980, Jimmy Carter's last year in office, than in either 2003 or 2004, when the Iraq war was being fought (1,410 and 1,887, respectively). No military actions were conducted during 1980 other than the failed effort to rescue the hostages in Iran, in which eight servicemen lost their lives. Keep that in mind next time you hear Carter pontificating about the "carnage" in Iraq.


Every death of a serviceman or woman is a tragedy. Funny how different it seems, though, when every death is also a front-page news story.

Yes, but are the deaths only worth mentioning if it was the result of war or terrorist acts? Which, I find ironic that all the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are considered hostile action, but reading many news reports most deaths are the result of acts of terrorism. As in when a soldier is handing candy to children and a suicide truck driver blows up everyone there.

The inspiration of this post is from Ren at Iraq Worse than Under Saddam. Ren served in the military in Viet Nam and as such he places a high value on US soldiers lives. Which is commendable. But now looking to the problems in Sudan, are we willing to spend a small amount of lives (soldiers) to secure the freedom and safety of millions? I too am hesitant about sending forces to Africa. But I see no easy solution to the genocides/democides in Sudan and other parts of Africa.

Links of note:
Winged warriors: a tribute to military aviators - aviation casualties in US Armed Forces since 1917 which shows only 2 AirForce Deaths in 2003 for Iraq. I know that some helicopters were shot down and this link is suppose to be for both fixed and rotating wings aircrafts.

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