It’s interesting how a totally meaningless statistic has become a top news headline and is being discussed on many blogs. AP reports that the number of Americans killed in Iraq has now exceeded those killed in the 9/11 attack. With increased concern about the cost of the war, including casualties, it is understandable how this number is being quoted widely, despite its actual lack of meaning.
If hypothetically Saddam was responsible for the 9/11 attacks then would we really judge the response based upon such a comparison of casualties? This would especially be irrelevant if the pre-war claims of WMD were true. The justification for the war would have been to prevent a greater number of casualties in a future attack.
The reality of the situation is clearly quite different. Saddam was not involved in the 9/11 attacks, and Saddam did not have the WMD used to justify the war. Under these circumstances any deaths are too many regardless of the number killed on 9/11. These deaths are especially tragic considering that the war and Bush’s foreign policy blunders have resulted in strengthening al Qaeda and Iran, as well as contributing to the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea. The risk from both terrorism and WMD has increased tremendously because of this foolish war.
In trying to find a connection between these numbers one possibility comes to mind. We might say that both Osama bin Laden and George Bush are responsible for the same number of deaths. Even this leaves the problem of looking at only American deaths in Iraq. The total death toll greatly exceeds those killed on 9/11. George Bush is responsible for far more deaths than Osama bin Laden.