Mobjectivist has an interesting quote from Glenn Reynolds, the Laziest Man in the Blogosphere:
IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT? Our drunks are more lethal than their insurgents.Mobjectivist explains:
This enigmatic little entry links, in turn, to a blogger who notes:My word, how ironic! On the other hand, the population of Iraq is 22 million, and the population of the United States is about 300 million. In other words, the United States has a population roughly 13 times that of Iraq. If 455 Americans were killed on an election day by neo-Nazis (for instance), I think we'd be talking about it for a long time to come. (For that matter, we'd be talking about it indefinitely if 35 Americans were killed on an election day.)
Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05)
Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)
If I really wrack my brains, maybe I can come up with another problem with these statistics. How about this: The US figure is an average, taken from yearly statistics. The Iraq figure, by contrast, is a snapshot statistic from one day. If you treated the Iraqi figure as a daily average, like the US figure, you'd have to assume that 12,775 civilians die violently in Iraq per year as a direct result of the invasion...which is not exactly reassuring. And of course, there's evidence that the actual civilian death toll is much higher than that.
But really, all of this is nonsense; you can't compare killings in a war zone to auto fatalities, and the statistics as presented are incommensurable beyond that. (Gee, think of how unlikely you are to be killed by a drunk driver in Iraq! It's safer there than here, when you think about it!)
Here's another amazing factoid for you, Professor Reynolds: 17,155 Americans were killed by drunk drivers in one year, so 9/11 was obviously no big deal. Our drunks are more lethal than Al-Qaeda! Forget terrorism...let's ban alcohol and cars!