Ted Koppel claims that opposition to the war based on 3,500 deaths — “the number of those killed” — is a misguided when compared to the deaths by vehicular accident in the US.
Aside from the fact that 100 deaths in 150,000 soldiers per month (we had 122 in May) translates to a death rate more than 55 times the chance of an American dying on the road in any given month, he seems to have neglected the number of Iraqis dead as a result of the US invasion on completely unjustified grounds. Numbers of the dead there — in a country which was no threat to the US — range up to well over a half a million. More than the dead in Darfur. And the US is responsible for that.
Then, of course, there’s nearly 10% of the population that has been turned into refugees. Koppel claims to worry that the conflict might bleed into neighboring countries. But if he’d been paying attention, he’d know that Syria, Jordan, and other neighbors are already straining with the flood of Iraqis driven from their country by conflict.
I opposed the war not because I thought a lot of American soldiers would get killed but because the reasons the administration gave were so transparently false, and I didn’t want to see tens of thousands of innocent people killed because of a war carried out under false pretenses. Apparently, Ted Koppel doesn’t have a problem with that, so long as the death toll — of Americans — isn’t too high.
Where Koppel goes even further off the rails is here:
So, the level of outrage and the growing opposition to the Iraq war has to be connected to something other than simply the number of those killed. After all, we lose that many people in traffic accidents every month, with barely a murmur of protest.
Where the Bush administration has failed, tragically and repeatedly, is in explaining to the American public why U.S. forces were sent into Iraq in the first place, and why they must remain there now.
Has the administration failed to tell us that they thought Iraq under Saddam was a threat? Koppel claims that “chaos and anarchy” were “at least partially, unleashed by the U.S. invasion of Iraq”. At least? It’s as if the last four years have made no impact on Koppel. US forces were sent to Iraq under the false pretense of a threat to the region from a dictator who didn’t even control his own airspace. Troops were sent into Iraq to look for WMDs that didn’t exist, drone planes that couldn’t have existed, and Ted Koppel even now manages to pretend that Iraq posed some sort of threat to “stability in the Persian Gulf”.
Ted Koppel is a moron.