Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Why We Don't Like Rush Limbaugh

So, according to Rush, 1000 dead soldiers isn't that many...
"But the statistic I saw -- do you know how many students commit suicide on American university campuses in America every year? The number is 1,000. Do you know how many Americans die on a highways [sic] every year in this country? Try 47,000 to 50,000. [Limbaugh is over by 10,000.] And here we've got 1,000 deaths in Vietnam [sic: Iraq, as noted on rushlimbaugh.com] in a war for the defense of this country and the insurance of our freedom, and everybody says these aren't worth it."
(source)

See? It's only a thousand, no biggie... hell, you're more likely to die while driving your car than you are to die in Iraq. Why worry about it?

The missing piece of this bit of logic, though, is that there are only approximately 150,000 soldiers in Iraq. I don't know how many university students there are in the United States, but in the ten largest universities in the US alone there are over 440,000, and that's barely a scratch on the surface of the entire US university population. In other words, the chances of dying in Iraq and the chances of dying by your own hand while at college are not even remotely comparable.

To translate this into terms that are comparable, look at the possibility as compared to the total population:

Chance of dying in a fire: 1 in 81,524

Chance of dying from a fall: 1 in 20,666

Chance of dying in a car accident: 1 in 18,585

Chance of dying in an assault: 1 in 16,421

Chance of dying by your own hand: 1 in 9,380

Chance of a soldier in Iraq dying by any means: 1 in 1,500

So no, compared to the entire population of the United States, there aren't that many soldiers dying in Iraq. But taken as a segment of society that's under special pressure, the death rate among soldiers in Iraq is very, very high.

Using Limbaugh's logic, the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center weren't any big deal, either... hell, it was only like 3,500 dead; we lose that many to heart disease every week.

See what I mean? It's called critical thinking, folks, come on in.
11:11 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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