Friday, March 19, 2010

An acceptable level of collateral damage

I've been trying to find the ratio of unintended civilian casualties for every enemy combatant killed by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to no avail.

The closest I can get to an estimate of how much collateral damage our troops are causing is this piece, that estimates a little more than one civilian death for every 12 bombs or missiles our troops use.

I'll round it up, say that it's two civilian deaths for every dozen bombs or missiles.

Our targets aren't so much enemy combatants as enemy equipment -- tanks, weapons caches, munitions factories, and so forth -- and efficacy is counted in terms of whether the target was destroyed, not whether combatants were killed. But the equipment isn't just sitting there unattended. I think it's a safe assumption that if a bomb hits its intended target, it's also taking out at least one enemy combatant. And for the sake of comparisons, I'll go for the very lowest estimate and say that each successful bomb or missile is taking out only one enemy.

This article estimates that 75% of bombs were hitting their intended targets. That's 3/4, which is 9/12.

To eliminate a hundred guys like this, we accidentally kill 22 people we didn't intend to kill.

So, if we're making the low estimate of combatant casualties (one per successful bomb or missile) and a high estimate of civilian casualties (two per dozen bombs or missiles), every dozen missiles is taking out nine enemy combatants and two civilians. For every 100 of the enemy killed, we are (at the absolute highest estimate) taking out 22 civilians.

Let's compare the War on Terror, then, to the War on Down Syndrome, which kills three genetically standard babies for every "enemy" (baby with Down syndrome) successfully eliminated. For every 100 of the "enemy" killed, we are killing 300 "civilians" -- non-targeted "normal" babies. That's at least 13 times the "collateral damage" rate of combat bombing missions.

To eliminate 100 people like this guy, we accidentally kill 300 people we didn't intend to kill. So evidently we consider this guy thirteen times as threatening as that guy in the other picture.

What has the world come to, when doctors have at least a 13-times higher collateral damage rate than military bombers?

Who is killing indiscriminately here?


Katie said...

Great point. Before having my third baby I worked in supported living with adults who are disabled (mostly Downs). I think people are so afraid of Downs because they've never really known anyone who has it. They're complete people just like everyone else.

Our society's obsession with perfection is really disturbing. OTOH, I wonder how pro-abortionist will react if scientist ever do discover a "gay gene." Will they still insist that mother have an unmitigated right to murder their babies for any reason?

Katie said...

Forgot some "s" in there, ha! I do know how to pluralize, I promise.

Katie said...

Forgot some "s" in there, ha! I do know how to pluralize, I promise.

Lauren said...

This is why the only prenatal screen I have done is the AFP test. I only do that one because if it's high it gives an indication for a more complete 3D ultrasound to make sure that the baby's spinal cord looks good.

I feel like this is important information to have for the delivery. Everything else is just used to go on search and destroy missions and I don't want any part of them!

WKen said...

I'll admit, I was pretty sure that I was going to disagree with you at the beginning of this article.

I come up as a borderline pacifist, for what it's worth.

However, you're dead on with this. Besides the fact that the war on Down Syndrome is inexcusable (unlike the war on terror, which is at least defensible), the fact that the ratio of "collateral damage" is that high is beyond ridiculous.

Not that pro-aborts care, of course. What's a few more harvested tissue masses?

Leticia said...

Razor sharp analysis and scathingly honest commentary. Well done, Christina. Hope the Down syndrome groups NDSS and NDSC who deny that search-and-destroy missions exist are reading you.