Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Scales of Death

Krugman had to go poke rednecks in the eye with a stick and one thing led to another. I wound up remembering a statistic and that led me to try and make my first-ever graph. Seriously, I’ve never used a spreadsheet much less tried to make a graph out of it. You’d be surprised how many “real world” skills pass controllers by. I never knew how to use a fax machine until I needed one for NATCA business. Controllers don’t have fax machines. We didn’t have personal computers at work either. Oh well, I’m getting far afield.

For a nation that fights so many wars, we know nothing of death. At least not the scale of it. We (rightfully) mourn those we have lost in wars. We honor them. But when it comes to suffering, as a nation, our losses -- as great as they are -- are incredibly small in scale.

The numbers used come from various sources (mostly Wikipedia) and aren’t meant to be scholarly. All of the numbers are military deaths in World War II except:

US All -- Total U.S. Military deaths in all conflicts since the Revolutionary War. (1,343,812)

Jews -- The number of Jews killed by Nazi Germany in The Holocaust (5.9 million)

I’m bound to anger someone with such a sensitive subject and if I have, I apologize. I don’t mean to anger anyone -- only educate. I’ve spent a lot of time this last week watching TV while I was sick. I love The History Channel and The Military Channel. And if an American wasn’t careful, one might think we won WWII all by ourselves. The Russians might be a little sensitive about that.

And that is my larger point. The rest of the world has a different view of war than America. Just from World War II alone the numbers are horrific. Take a look at this chart from Wikipedia. Scroll all the way down and look at the deaths in Yugoslavia -- 6.67% of the population. Russia lost almost 14%. America? Less than 1/3 of 1%.

Many Southerners are still emotionally invested in the American Civil War -- even 150 years later. Imagine how the rest of the world feels about much more recent wars. And if some Southerners get a little morally uncomfortable when they compare the causes behind our Civil War and World War II...??? Mission accomplished.

Don Brown
May 4, 2011

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