Jewish World Review Sept. 24, 2004 / 9 Tishrei 5765

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

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Death is not a final diagnosis — Murder rates in US cities comparable to Iraq!


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Death may not be a final medical diagnosis but the state of being dead is final! Are the deaths of our courageous soldiers any more final than those who die on our own streets?


On September 8, 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported (The Conflict In Iraq, U.S. Toll in Iraq Reaches 1,000) that through September 7, 2004, 1,000 US soldiers lost their lives in Iraq due to both hostile and non-hostile actions. This is certainly a tragic loss correctly reported in the media and mourned by the US populace. However focusing exclusively on these statistics does not provide the much needed perspective.


According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report of May 24, 2004, the number of murders reported during calendar years 2002 and 2003 show a comparable death toll exists in several US cities. Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City reported 1,168, 1,246 and 1,184 murders during the subject 24-month period.


As these murders are reported over a 24-month period and the US death toll in Iraq covers an 18-month period they cannot be directly compared, however the average deaths per month establishes a more valid comparison.


The average monthly death toll for US soldiers in Iraq is 55.6 deaths per month while the average reported murders per month in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City are 48.7, 51.9 and 49.3 deaths per month. The murder statistics in the US cities are for hostile deaths only — whereas the death toll in Iraq includes both hostile and accidental deaths. This makes our own murder rates in LA, Chicago and NYC even more appalling. Yet there is not an equivalent amount of reporting or hand wringing.


The soldiers' deaths in Iraq occurred in a strife-torn country with a leadership vacuum. The murders in US cities occurred in an advanced society during peacetime.


US soldiers killed in Iraq volunteered for a job known to entail high risks, and were trained and equipped accordingly. Not so with innocents murdered on our cities' streets.


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As tragic as the loss of US soldiers' lives in Iraq have been, their sacrifices have led to some benefits. Among them:


1. Women are now allowed to go to school in Iraq.


2. Over 50 million Afghani's and Iraq's now have a voice in selecting the government under which they will live in the future.


3. Major progress has been made in neutralizing Libya's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and programs since December 2003 when Moammar Qaddafi voluntarily disclosed their existence and committed to completely dismantle them.


4. North Korea reversed their earlier positions and agreed to multi-national talks with Japan, China, South Korea and the US aimed at dismantling North Korea's weapons of mass destruction projects.


5. The corruption of the UN-administered Food for Oil Program was revealed and the illegal flow (10 billion dollars) of money halted.


As far as we can tell there are no corresponding benefits for the random deaths on our own mean streets. And the deaths in Iraq are part of a broader war on terror, whose objective is to make the world a safer place. A violent death is tragic and a soldier's death is cause for grief.


Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of going to war in Iraq. But objectivity requires that these deaths be put in perspective. Do we continue to condemn death in Iraq while simultaneously ignoring the concurrent deaths in our own cities — or should we consider all violent deaths a terrible waste of life?


Editor's Note: Thomas R. Damiani, Newport Beach, Cal., contributed statistical research for this commentary.

AUTISM FOLLOW-UP: We want to thank the hundreds of readers who wrote or called regarding our last two columns, "Mad Child Disease" and "Autism and Mercury'. In spite of this being an extremely controversial medical, legal, economic and political issue all but one reader strongly supported our position.


One reader, Jennifer McNulty, added a knockout punch by writing, "I really appreciate your bringing desperately needed attention to this extremely important issue. I only wish that you had mentioned Aventis Pasteur's conflict of interest in this issue. While they are a manufacturer based in France, and oppose removing thimerosal from vaccines for American children, Thimerosal in vaccines is ILLEGAL in France. They can't give those vaccines to their own kids, yet they seek to make profit at the expense of American children. Ironic, don't you think?"


We think their attitude is typically and disgracefully French!


And lets hear from more of you. Thanks, The Medicine Men




Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

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