Wed May 31, 2006

Speaking of Hackery

Jesus wept. This nonsense again.

Despite media coverage purporting to show that escalating violence in Iraq has the country spiraling out of control, civilian death statistics complied by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, indicate that Iraq actually has a lower civilian violent death rate than Washington, D.C. … Using Pentagon statistics cross-checked with independent research, King said he came up with an annualized Iraqi civilian death rate of 27.51 per 100,000. While that number sounds high – astonishingly, the Iowa Republican discovered that it’s significantly lower than a number of major American cities, including the nation’s capital. “It’s 45 violent deaths per 100,000 in Washington, D.C.,” King told Crowley. Other American cities with higher violent civilian death rates than Iraq include: Detroit – 41.8 per 100,000. Baltimore – 37.7 per 100,000. … The American city with the highest civilian death rate was New Orleans before Katrina – with a staggering 53.1 deaths per 100,000 – almost twice the death rate in Iraq.

Astonishing, indeed, until you recall that Washington D.C. is a city, and Iraq is a country. As it happens, only last week we were looking at OECD data on national rates of death due to assault. The U.S. rate is exceptionally high compared to peer nations—around 6 per 100,000. But this is still some distance behind Iraq, I thnk. In the meantime, I have an offer for Rep. King. He should pay my expenses for a vacation to DC, including a flight to the city, a taxi to a local hotel, a few dinners out at restaurants. Maybe some tickets some museums and local sights, perhaps a concert or a game. At the same time, he could take a parallel trip to Baghdad and do the same things—commercial flight in, local taxi, wander out for dinner, etc. We’ll both bring camcorders and see how it works out. If DC is so much more dangerous than Iraq I’m sure something like this would really show up people who say the situation in Iraq is terrible.