Iraq: We ain't losing
By Bob Parks
A few weeks ago in a column, I threw out a hypothetical.
In war, the traditional way of gauging who is winning or not is, unfortunately, a count of battlefield casualties. It seems logical, the last man standing wins. But as I've always had problems with the media and their portrayal of things in the Middle East, I asked one simple question: how many of the enemy have we killed?
We have everyone from activists to actors to congressmen and women to pundits all telling us how many of our servicemen and women have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. People keep score in blogs and even on the sides of their homes, yet we never hear the one number that may put at ease, for some, the sacrifice made by our sons and daughters.
How many of the enemy have we killed? A simple question.
The beauty of being an online columnist is that when you throw a question out there, sometimes someone who knows something about the topic contacts you and gives you the answer, which I'm happy to pass on to you.
Larry Schweikart, Professor of History at the University of Dayton sent me the following:
Last August, President Bush invited me and a few other military historians to spend an hour with him in the Oval Office. When I brought up this "enemy dead" issue, he shook his head and said, "I'm afraid since Vietnam and the 'body counts' we really can't even use this as a measuring stick [as far as the public was concerned]." It was a sad commentary on how out of whack things got---especially if you think (as I do) that not all Muslims are terrorists. That means there are a finite number, and we have to be getting pretty close to the bottom of the barrel.
Since then, I've updated the numbers with refinements and calculate that a low estimate of 30,000 terrorists have been killed since 9/11, and an upperbound number of 60,000. On top of that, between 120 and 240,000 terrorists have been wounded. This is where it gets tricky. Likely because their medicine isn't as good as ours, they have a higher death rate among wounded, which probably means that instead of 1 out of 8 dying of wounds, it's more like 3 out of 8, and that number is in my first set of stats. In addition, we have captured close to 50,000 terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11, and since the beginning of hostilities in Iraq, using traditional desertion rates, I figure at least another 10,000 jihadists have put away the old IED and gone home.
Bob Parks is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.