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Death toll brings Iraq war home

By
February 24, 2007

By NANCY BENAC

Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.

022407deathtoll.jpgWhen the poll was conducted earlier this month, a little more than 3,100 U.S. troops had been killed. The midpoint estimate among those polled was right on target, at about 3,000.

Far from a vague statistic, the death toll is painfully real for many Americans. Seventeen percent in the poll know someone who has been killed or wounded in Iraq. And among adults under 35, those closest to the ages of those deployed, 27 percent know someone who has been killed or wounded.

For Daniel Herman, a lawyer in New Castle, Pa., a co-worker’s nephew is the human face of the dead.

“This is a fairly rural area,” he said. “When somebody dies, … you hear about it. It makes it very concrete to you.”

The number of Iraqis killed, however, is much harder to pin down, and that uncertainty is perhaps reflected in Americans’ tendency to lowball the Iraqi death toll by tens of thousands.

Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000 and could be much higher; some unofficial estimates range into the hundreds of thousands. The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reports more than 34,000 deaths in 2006 alone.

Among those polled for the AP survey, however, the median estimate of Iraqi deaths was 9,890. The median is the point at which half the estimates were higher and half lower.

Christopher Gelpi, a Duke University political scientist who tracks public opinion on war casualties, said a better understanding of the Iraqi death toll probably wouldn’t change already negative public attitudes toward the war much. People in democracies generally don’t shy away from inflicting civilian casualties, he said, and they may be even more tolerant of them in situations such as Iraq, where many of the civilian deaths are caused by other Iraqis.

“You have to look at who’s doing the killing,” said Neal Crawford, a restaurant manager in Suttons Bay, Mich., who guessed that about 10,000 Iraqis had been killed. “If these people are dying because a roadside bomb goes off or if there’s an insurgent attack in a marketplace, it’s an unfortunate circumstance of war — people die.”

Gelpi said that while Americans may not view Iraqi deaths through the same prism as American losses, they may use the Iraqi death toll to gauge progress, or lack thereof, on the U.S. effort to promote a stable, secure democracy in Iraq.

To many, he said, “the fact that so many are being killed is an indication that we’re not succeeding.”

Whatever their understanding of the respective death tolls, three-quarters of those polled said the numbers of both Americans and Iraqis who have been killed are “unacceptable.” Two-thirds said they tend to feel upset when a soldier dies, while the rest say such deaths are unfortunate but part of what war is about.

Sometimes it’s hard for people to sort out their conflicting emotions.

“I don’t know if I’m numb to it or not,” said 86-year-old Robert Lipold of Las Vegas. “It’s something you see in the paper every day there. And how do you feel when in the back of your mind it’s unnecessary?”

Given a range of possible words to describe their feelings about the overall situation in Iraq, people were most likely to identify with “worried,” selected by 81 percent of those surveyed.

Other descriptive words selected by respondents:

  • Compassionate: 74 percent.
  • Angry: 62 percent.
  • Tired: 61 percent.
  • Hopeful: 51 percent.
  • Proud: 38 percent.
  • Numb: 27 percent.

Women were more likely than men to feel worried, compassionate, angry and tired; men were more likely than women to feel proud, a finding consistent with traditional differences in attitudes toward war between the sexes.

For women, said Gelpi, “there is an emotional response to casualties that men don’t show. … It could be some sort of socialization that men get about the military or combat as being honorable that women don’t get.”

Charlotte Pirch, a lawyer from Fountain Valley, Calif., said she’s “always appalled and just very upset at hearing about more casualties, whether it’s U.S. troops or troops from another country.”

Pirch said two of her nieces are married to men who served in Iraq and she doesn’t live far from Camp Pendleton, which has sent many U.S. troops to Iraq. But she added, “Whether I knew someone personally or not, I would still feel it as a citizen of our country.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the poll found little difference in attitudes toward the war between those who did and did not know someone who had been killed or wounded. There was a difference, however, in their opinions on whether opponents are right to criticize the war.

About half of those who know someone who has been killed or wounded felt it is right to criticize the war, compared with two-thirds of those who don’t have a personal connection.

The AP-Ipsos poll of 1,002 adults, conducted Feb. 12-15, had a 3 percentage point margin of error.

___

AP writers Natasha Metzler and Ann Sanner and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press

21 Responses to Death toll brings Iraq war home

  1. Arion

    February 25, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Why do people continually point to the 3,000+ figure when referring to the Iraq War death toll? What about the 36,000 Iraqi civilians killed in 2006, and all the others in years previous? Do they not count?

  2. Carl Nemo

    February 25, 2007 at 7:43 am

    The dead mean nothing to the shadowy, elitist, oligarchs that engage us in wars based on “cooked” intelligence. “We the People” are nothing but cannon fodder to further their greedy, world asset grabbing interests. An elitist is a sociopath. They feel no kinship with humanity and live within a dissembled paradigm. When they look upon us they see us as nothing but “groundlings” (a Bush Sr. term for us) and we as their prey…! Our compassion and empathy for our fallen heros does not register relative to their elitist’s world view. So “we the people” need to to stop looking for leaders who care because they are all running dogs for the mattoids that control the planet. I’ll provide a few links that will help one “fill in the blanks” as to what’s behind these continuing 20/21st century conflagrations. Smedley Butler an early 20th century Marine General wrote about this phenomena; i.e., the Marines being nothing but enforcers for the guys on Wall Street. America is in harms way with this continual style of leadership;e.g. …

    Bush Sr.>Bill>dubya>Billary…!? All four are manipulative “republicrats”! They serve the interests of the New world order, which is a very real threat to freedom loving peoples everywhere and for all time. They are trying to turn America into a minor plantation within the greater global plantation that’s owned and controlled by these aforementioned shadowy oligarchs. The world is being carved up into enterprise zones. The welfare of the people mean nothing to the controllers. America needs a sea-change in “08”. Vote for anyone other than those that the media will try to force down our collective throats…!

    http://www.hermes-press.com/impintro1.htm

    http://www.isengrim.com/sdb2.html

  3. SEAL

    February 25, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Arion – the reason is because that is what they hear about from the media. The key to success for any group that plans to take over control of a country and become the dictators is to first be in control of the information the public receives. That was accomplished in the first years of the Reagan administration by removing the restrictions on media ownership to allow corporations to own as many media outlets and services as they wanted. The result is that all media. ergo all information, is owned and controlled by just a few as part of the corporate takeover of America.

    Controlling the information made it possible to impliment all of the rest of the plan. One of the best examples is the thing Ray consistantly points out – 9/11. Anyone who looks at the series of events that made 9/11 possible, total diregard of the warnings, the actual event itself, such as the controlled manner in which the towers came down defying the laws of physics, and the manner in which the administration reacted to it, such as Bush continuing to read “My Pet Goat” and not giving any appearance of urgency or curiosity has to think something was fishy about the whole thing at the very least.

    But the media stampeded the public thinking and kept it focused for months on only one thing – retaliation. There was never any questioning of how it could have happened. Why one of the most protected airspaces in America was unprotected at that particular time. No wondering why three building came down is such a controlled and identical way when only two were hit. Why such a large airplane made such a small hole in the Pentagon, no wondering why the wreckage could not be shown and identified as the passenger jet nor any mention of how fortunate the impact was in an unpopulated part of the building. Or how a jumbo jet could crash in a field without making a big hole or gouging out a large amount of the ground and there were no parts bigger than a bread box and they were scattered all over the countryside like what happens when there is a midair explosion. An amazing lack of curiosity on the part of the press. Instead, they only fed the rage in the hearts of everyone. And when is the last time you heard anyone in the media ask why we haven’t found Osama who Bush vowed to get dead or alive?

    Do you remember any of the mainstream press questioning the WMD or Al Quida connections to Iraq being espoused by the three stooges? When have they ever stated the obvious fact that those who revealed a covert CIA operative’s name to the public committed a crime?

    The list goes on and on. Never mention the close to one million Iraqi citizens who have died as a result of Bushco’s illegal invasion of a soverign nation. Never theorize it may be a war crime. Call an occupation a war. Call Iraqi insurgents to a foreign occupation terrorists and members of Al Quida.

    The only place you find these and many other things out is on the Internet, the one thing they have yet been unable to control. But rest assured that will eventually happen.

  4. SEAL

    February 25, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Ray – you cannot say there was no valid reason for the US to enter WWII. Aside from the Revolutionary War for our independance from England, that was certainly the most valid.

  5. Ed E Kit

    February 26, 2007 at 11:41 am

    For Many years I thought the most dangerous animal on earth was a wounded carnivore. Wounded Bears are so dangerous that they have been known to attack inanimate objects.

    The wound of 9/11 has proven that a wounded nation is far more dangerous than even a Grizly Bear with a broken nose.

    It is far past time to declare victory and leave Iraq.

  6. Ray

    February 25, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Messages were intercepted that the attack was immenent. Roosevelt kept the information secret so the attack on Pear Harbor would be devastating on our fleet and the outrage of americans would insure our engagement in the war.

    The Zionists had everything to do with getting america involved. The English paid the zionists for bringing us into the war and therefor saving england. The payoff was the Balflour Letter which in essence gave the nation of Isreal the state they now have. This is very well documented. The world events that led to WW1 and WW11 were manipulated. We could have stayed out of both wars as that was america’s position in those days. We were neutral.

    But let a foreign enity kill thousands of americans and see what happens. Worked in 1941 worked in 2001.

  7. Ray

    February 25, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Seal, You are right in that there was valid reason to enter WW11. I meant to express that the reasons were in part or all manipulation by powers that wanted us to be involved and some of that power came from our leaders, just as it has happened this time with the middle east campaign. I know my writing and expressions or historical definitions are often unrefined. I was never a student of literature and no nothing of composition or even proper grammar. But what I do believe is that I see the big picture of theme that has overtaken this world. I mean from the very basic cirriculum of education, into every aspect of our lives. Control through manipulation and ever increasing involvement by the government of every ones personal lives. All leading to the total enslavement of people. Extraction of everyones productivity by electronic technology so that the elites have all and the masses have a life of servitude.

    America is to be reduced from the higher standard of living that we achieved during the last century, to a level that will be worldwide as serfdom. This is the major goal that sits atop the pyrimid of power. Illuminati= Rockafeller, Rothchild,et al. Attitude is key. Does anyone see the right attitude in any of the worlds key figures? I surely don,t and therefore do recognize the evil intentions that spur current events.

    Respond Seal, yours and others comments are excellent and very informative. I respect and admire the readers of CHB and would be lost without this venue to vent and feel that I am not alone. Doug Thompson has given us people a priceless place to find positive discussion and to gain new awareness not possible in the main stream illusion.

  8. SEAL

    February 26, 2007 at 12:01 am

    What validated our entering WWII was the fact that there were two very deadly and evil facist regiemes spreading their tenacles across the world. War with them was inevitable. Sooner was more advantageous than later. Actually, we waited too long. They had to be stopped and defeated. We were the only nation with the capability to do that.

    It wasn’t necessary too create an excuse or allow a “pearl harbor” for us to enter the war. But the leaders of our country and allies did not want a repitition of the previous mistakes of only defeating these evil nations and then allowing them to rise up again. This time they were going to annihilate them. They wanted to create a rage in the American people that would justify that. However, I do believe Roosevelt and his crew were shocked by the amount of damage and death the Japanese were able to inflict. They underestimated their capability. Consequently, the Pacific war took much longer than anticipated. And, if not for the atomic bomb it would have lasted much longer with an astronomical loss of American and Japanese lives.

    Our present day military leaders fully understand the lesson learned from the use of atomic power to cause Japan’s surrender. When you are up against an enemy of such fanatical resolve, you cannot defeat that resolve with conventional warfare. But if you demonstrate the ability to not only kill them but obliterate that which validates their existance, as if they never existed, that defeats the will to resist. The point is that I know the administration is looking for an excuse to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

  9. The South Point

    February 26, 2007 at 12:12 am

    How come Jenna and Not-Jenna aren’t Over There fighting the rabidly slavering, blood-thirsty enemy so we won’t have to fight it here?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    Jenna and Not-Jenna each have two arms and two hands (so far) that are quite capable of picking up M16s and blasting away infidel, heretical ay-rab butt. And if they should buy the farm, it can be proudly chiseled on their tombstones that they courageously died for the sake of Big Oil and Israel.

  10. Kent Shaw

    February 26, 2007 at 1:31 am

    .

    Yes I agree. Let us send Jenna and Barbara (not Jenna) and also let us send Chelsea. After all Mother Hillary voted for the war and it was NOT a mistake, or so she says. So let us feel the inspiration that participation by Jenna and Barbara and Chelsea will spread throughout the land. We need heroes and I can think of no better examples.

    .

  11. The South Point

    February 26, 2007 at 1:45 am

    You’re right! I completely forgot about Chelsea!

    All three of them brave, uber-patriotic american heroines!

    Ladies, we salute you!

  12. Ray

    February 26, 2007 at 1:47 am

    Bravo Idea! You know, It would be fitting that the girls be accompanied by thier Daddys. YES!, George and Bill.

    They would make us proud again. I can see them now Charging the pile of twisted shell of a once full buss. What? whata mean noway? Oh, thats right, George shirked his duty and Bill went to Europe to be educated in the ways of Illumination. And the girls unfortunately and frankly just don’t have the balls to go it alone. Paper Tigers. Anyone got a match?

  13. Sandy Price

    February 24, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    I am not comfortable discussing the casualties in Iraq in terms of numbers. I don’t want percentage point of margin of error but a stop to the whole damn war!

    These are not numbers fighting for anything but individual heroes who honestly felt a need to protect all of us from some enemy. Bush told us Al Qaeda was our enemy, we knew where they were in Afghanistan but that was not enough for President Bush who wanted Iraq in his sights and nothing less.

    No planning, no interest in who came home and in what condition; he wanted and got his filthy oil. Lets bring them home before those numbers go up.

  14. kate

    February 24, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I think they ought to drop George and his daughters off in the middle of Iraq and let them find their way to a safe haven, if they do then transport them to Walter Reed to care for wounded soldiers for a few weeks.

    Its time to get out of there This is now and always has been Georges’ war. He lied to get us over there, he lies to keep us there and he will lie us right into world war III if we start messing with Iran.

  15. gene

    February 24, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    A cancer has taken over this country and its looking terminal. Bush and cheney are not just benign lesions. They are malignant tumors that should have already been surgically removed through the process of impeachment. The congress and the american public turned a blind eye to this evil and now it is exposing inself for it really is……………..EVIL. This evil tried to appear otherwise (good) initially and actually got away with it before all the lies were discovered and still this country continued its apathetic decline into now what could surely become terminal for all of us. Is it to late? probably…..Cheney is already mouthing off about Iran and bushidiot has disappeared for now. Congress continues its spineless approach and if it (congress) ever does decide to impeach those two assholes, it will probably be TO LATE. God help us all.

  16. Joe Keegan

    February 24, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Time to emulate the British: Declare victory and leave! Thoroughly screen the Iraquis that we patriate.

  17. Will Write

    February 24, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    I started to write yet another diatribe against this War and the Administration that is solely responsible for its start, execution and outcome. But I remembered early on reading the story of a young chicano man from my home town who was wounded in Iraq, and was sent to an army hospital in Texas. Briefly, his abdominal injuries were critical and of a nature that he will never be restored. His mother quit her job to go to Texas and supplement his hospital care. The family lost their house, as they relied on two low incomes to get by.

    When I read of this kid from my small midwestern hometown, I cried. His story put a face on the experience of so many young men and women across America, who with their families have been killed or left irreparably damaged by this war.

    We speak of human tragedy in the aggregate, and our media hit us with so much information, we can’t empathize or even dwell too long on the horrors of war. However, when we connect with the experience of one individual or family, and their pain and loss, it should hit home.

    And we should ask ourselve why? Why Iraq? The answer is that there is no good reason. There have been times in the history of the world where one people must stand to fight off attack or oppression. Times of great moral consequence that demanded the use of force. Our Revolutinary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War II were the result of valid causes. By comparison and by any measure, there is no justification for US troops to be in Iraq.

    Someone in the article above cites death as an unfortunate consequence of war. This is why war should not be entered into cavalierly. When, for good reason, war cannot be avoided, then we should mobilize all the resources at our disposal to secure an unequivocal victory. Our President and his handlers and the members of Congress who went along with this stupidity betrayed their high office and the trust that placed them there.

  18. Ray

    February 24, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    There never was a reason to go to war, like Will stated. The Revolution was the last one that was necessary and maybe the war of 1812. But none since have been for valid reason. Elites want to build thier fortunes and they know the best way is to use a countries treasury because that involves everyones money and effort not limited by market forces. All one needs to do is look at this latest debacle and try to find an honest genuine purpose for it. You will only come up with one, and its called greed. The instigator does not believe in democracy and freedom. Is that not proven? If he did, we would not be in Iraq. It is all a friggin lie. How long will this go on? It will go on untill someone nukes our ass and destroys the evil that is rampant and evermore hungry. I just hope it falls on DC, where it belongs. But the jerk who should eat the nuke will be underground about six miles hiding like the coward he is. Why doesn’t a piece of crap like that have a brain hemorage or get cancer or have a heart attack? It seems only the better ones have the misfortune and the ones who deserve nothing go on and on. I am so disgusted and sick of the criminals that are ruining the world I can’t even smile.

    If the f^&king media would do what they should do and report the truth, then this shit would end. Period.

  19. Ardie

    February 24, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    There is no other way to say it, but these men and women died for the real reason we went into Iraq which was because of oil. It might, therefore, be appropriate to engrave their headstones with little oil derricks including the appropriate corporate sponsor of the war.

  20. Kent Shaw

    February 25, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    .

    WW2 may or may not have been “valid”. Nevertheless, the United States provoked Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor by embargoing its importation of oil, in itself an act of war. There are some who also contend that Roosevelt knew of the imminent attack by Japan and allowed it to happen. It can be argued whether or not the U.S. should have become involved in WW2 but the WAY it became involved is suspect.

    .

  21. Kent Shaw

    February 25, 2007 at 1:51 am

    .

    It is time to send Barbara and Jenna and Chelsea to Iraq in an unarmored humvee and without body armour.

    .