"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
- 4:25:14, Apr 18th 2014 - SignRancher - I can't wait to check it out ! My daughter, who lives in Rushford, can' ... [Read More]
- 10:55:36, Apr 3rd 2014 - Attendee - I do think the meeting went well in terms of sharing information. But also ... [Read More]
- 11:56:59, Apr 2nd 2014 - svtaxpayer - Start the meeting with the same old rehash about how great college class ... [Read More]
- 11:30:55, Mar 28th 2014 - RoryKramer - I couldn't have said it any better. My family has shopped at Willie's f ... [Read More]
- 8:44:51, Mar 26th 2014 - Gunnar Berg - Would that be Henrik's lessor known younger brother "Al"? ... [Read More]
- 1:21:46, Mar 23rd 2014 - REDHORSE51 - EXCELLENT COMMENTARY ON BULLYING, HOWEVER THE AUTHOR STILL SUPPORTS THE ... [Read More]
- 6:23:24, Mar 17th 2014 - about time - About time they start giving tickets to people who park where it days no ... [Read More]
- 5:51:04, Mar 17th 2014 - what? - I guess it depends who you are in this town. I called and talked to the city ... [Read More]
- 4:03:17, Mar 14th 2014 - - Looking for his mom and found this. Randy you will be greatly missed. I loved all ... [Read More]
- 10:21:04, Mar 14th 2014 - Doc - So many winners. ... [Read More]
Do you think that chain stores in small communities undermine the sales of locally owned retailers?
Fri, Dec 16th, 2005
Posted in Commentary
Posted in Commentary
“I would say 30,000 more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis,” President George W. Bush said matter of factly last Monday in response to a question of how many Iraqis have died in the war. “We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.”
Bush was talking to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. He wasn’t sure where he got the number 30,000. His handlers said it was a “credible” number. A John Hopkins study in the Lancet, the British medical journal, has put the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the war at more than 100,000. Another questioner challenged the administration’s linkage of the Iraq War to 9/11. Bush said, “I made a tough decision. And knowing what I know today, I’d make the same decision again. Removing Saddam Hussein makes the world a safer place and America a safer country.” Wow. This guy knows that more than 30,000 (or is it 100,000?) people have been killed and he would do it all over again. I suppose if God had told me to invade a country I too would feel as if I had some kind of divine immunity. Maybe God said, “George, don’t worry about the numbers.” Numbers do seem rather impersonal: “Yah, our group got 30 walleyes.” “We met our goal of 20,000 units in April and second quarter demand looks good.” “The movie King Kong took in 75 million dollars over the weekend.” Numerical details give meaning to what they refer to - as in the examples above - fishing, production and sales. Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the authors of “Freakonomics - A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything,” apply economic principles to answering everyday questions. Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Which raises the question, how much is a human life worth? One American insurance company has a life value calculator, which asks several questions about age, income, etc., and assigns a life value quotient. It’s purpose is to sell life insurance based on the notion that a life has value in relation to other lives - spouse, children, etc. The economist Allan Feldman argues that the value of life is the amount you are willing to pay to extend life for a finite period. In Feldman’s model, the amount is roughly equal to what that person would spend on personal consumption during that time. Other economists argue that the value of life is the amount an individual is willing to pay to reduce the risk of death. The courts, however, use a human capital model to determine damages in wrongful death cases. The court looks at loss of income over time and other factors. So how much is a human life really worth? Is an Iraqi civilian’s life worth less than an American soldier’s? Is a Muslim life worth more or less than a Christian’s? According to an Israeli research firm, per capita income in Iraq has fallen from $3600 in 1980 to approximately $600 in 2003. Plugging into our American insurance calculator income of $600 for a 40 year old Iraqi male as well as $600 for his 40 year old wife, (and assuming that they have two kids and they will both retire at age 62), the value of the man’s life was 94 times his annual income of $600, or $56,183. Assuming this man is the standard Iraqi who has died in the war, then Bush’s 30,000 killed would total a value of $1,685,490,000 - more or less. While those numbers may reflect loss of life from a lost income perspective, what we don’t know in all those 30,000 more-or-less persons is whether the price of a brother or father’s life is worth more than that of a stranger’s? Or whether a mother’s life is worth more than that of her child’s? Is a poor person’s life of the same value as a wealthy person’s? What about an Iraqi and an American, are their lives of the same value? And is Saddam’s life worth more than 30,000 other lives? What about a 100,000? Saddam took countless lives trying to stay in power. And now we have done the same to oust him.