February 24, 2007

They may underestimate, but they still think it's too many

From the AP.

Americans underestimate Iraqi death toll

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.

When 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.


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.


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.

"..the rest" - That would be 1/3 right? Hmmm. George W. Bush's approval rating is hovering about 30-32%. So, this 1/3 is the 1/3 that cannot even be touched. These are the yahoos that call into talk shows or pontificate in their local watering hole that our young men and women "knew what they were getting into when they signed up." So that makes the death toll just hunky dory with these whackaloons. Hey, it's just the cost of doing business, right?
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.


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.
I actually found this last statistic a bit surprising. That is fully HALF of those who knew someone wounded or killed felt it okay to criticize the war. I would have thought that number would be much lower.

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