Drunk Driving Vs. The War In Iraq

There’s a really popular trend right now of bombarding Pres. Bush with criticisms for a lot of reasons, but particularly for the current conflict in Iraq. I can’t attest that his reasons for entry were flawless or that we “should” or “should not” be there (that’s so grey, in spite of what a lot of hard-headed and self-important protestors think). Basically, I feel that I, along with most Americans (both for and against the war) are not perfectly informed and therefore, I have a hard time picking sides, though I do dislike the whiney liberal media. Anyway, on to my point.

In listening to the news, we are quick to hear about the rising death toll in Iraq. Interestingly enough, though, it still loses out to the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving in the United States by a ratio of about 17 to 1 (according to MADD and DoD Reports, comparing fatalities of 2005 to both causes). 17 to 1. 17 to 1. That’s in favor of drunk driving. There aren’t 17 reports against drunk driving for every report of some legislator fighting Bush’s Iraq policy. In fact, I’d wager that the number is quite inverse.

There are some big differences, too. Those who serve in our military do so with a commitment to laying their life on the line in the defense of our nation. Those killed by drunk driving accidents are often on their way home from the store, taking kids to a school play, going to see a movie, etc. They never chose to have their life unnecessarily endangered. How is that fair?

So what I don’t get is why we can spend so much energy slamming Bush for his foreign policy while we let 15 more people die here for every one that loses a life in Iraq and we do relatively nothing about it. Why? I guess it’s a weak and easy strategy to heave blame on someone else so we don’t have to feel guilt for our own misdeeds. Plus, if we really cracked down on alcohol misuse, we wouldn’t have those hilarious commercials. I mean, talking frogs. That’s good stuff. That’s worth 16,000 citizens a year.

Lewis originally posted this article on his blog at TheGoont.com, where he posts fairly regularly.

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Blogger Dave1y said...

Thanks for the interesting blog.

I'm an old Army brat having grown up with a career officer for a dad (1958 VPI grad, Vietnam, etc.) and appreciate the military life.

That being said, your argument concerning 'Drunk Driving vs. The War in Iraq' is so poorly thought out that I've finally been compelled to say something.

First, much has been attempted to lower drunk driving deaths. Stricter laws, greater enforcement, advertising campaigns by alcohol producers and MADD, etc have consistently reduced fatalities for drunk driving over the last 20 years.

Second, (from my quick GIS and bad math skills)in 2005 16,885 drunk driving deaths occured from a total population of 293,027,571. That's .00576% of the population. 2005 had 846 US casualties in Iraq, out of 160,000(or less?)or so troops. Thats .528%. That means to me that a soldier was 91 times more in danger of being killed by an IED that I was from a drunk.

Third, the Iraq casualty rate will be reduced to zero the minute we leave. They, on the other hand, will continue to kill each other indefinitely.

In the end, to justify a soldiers death by comparing it to some random act of stupidity in the US is the ultimate insult to all our troops in harms way.

How our fighting in Iraq is protecting America is far beyond my ability to comprehend. If going bankrupt and dying to fight Baathists and the Mahdi Army is everybody's idea of fighting for freedom, then I haven't been paying attention.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Lewis said...

Valid point. In that article, I was not attempting to justify any soldier dying in Iraq as much as I wanted to point out that there are other things we can focus on as a people (in addition to unnecessary battles) to protect the innocent. Thanks for the feedback, though.

10:00 PM  

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