• From: John Wager <john.wager1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 13:42:33 -0500

Eric Yost wrote:

>>In the time it took to win all of WWII, we managed only to kill one guy.
Here's what we did last month:
324 Terrorists Killed or Captured

Let's be careful here. When the press releases say something like "Top Al Queda official captured" I tend to think it's a legitimate sign of success. When a press release says "Four terrorists killed planting IED" I think that's legitimate as well. But having taken part in the Vietnam war, I am EXTREMELY suspicious of any "body count" figures supplied. "Twelve terrorists killed." What that may mean is that the U.S. forces killed 12 people, and since we only kill terrorists, that must deductively mean that we killed 12 terrorists. Such logic did not hold up in Vietnam and it may or may not hold up here.

Further, "12 terrorists killed" may itself be misleading. I was once on a fire support base attacked by 4 VC sappers. Two were killed, but the other 2 VC got away out the other side of the perimeter. Years later, I read the official after-action report that said the base was attacked by 16 VC sappers! I wondered how the Army came up with this. My platoon said we saw 4 sappers run past our position. The Artillery FDC reported 4 sappers running through the artillery pieces, throwing grenades. The sergeant who shot two of them said that he saw 4 sappers. And the commanding officer said that he had reports from one of his platoons saying that the platoon had seen 4 sappers. 4+4+4+4=16. THAT is the way Army logic works! "Body counts" tend to be even more exaggerated.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence and ignorance." -------------------------------------------------
John Wager john.wager1@xxxxxxxxxxx
Lisle, IL, USA

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