One hears much complaining these days that Iraq has yet to be pacified even after almost four years of U.S. military engagement. To those who offer such complaints I remind them of this: The United States has been around for 230 years and it hasn’t been pacified yet, either. ~“Jack Dunphy”

I don’t quite know what motivates people to use the deaths of police officers as some sort of springboard for cheap pro-war rhetoric.  Viewed one way, it cheapens the deaths of these officers and makes them into props for the War Party; viewed another way, it belittles the risks our soldiers face by making their tours seem no more dangerous than the average cop’s beat in southern California.  As I see it, it manages to disrespect both kinds of service while also making the most absurd kind of comparison of serious, but isolated, criminal incidents and the violence of a war zone. 

But, wait, now that Officer “Dunphy” has put it this way, I guess we can all just shut up and stop worrying about the war.  Besides, how could we have forgotten all of the IEDs placed along the PCH and the mines planted by MS-13 underneath Rodeo?   This must be why they call Sunset Boulevard “the most dangerous road on earth.”  Thank goodness we have Officer “Dunphy” to give us some perspective.  Otherwise we might start saying ludicrous and appalling things for narrow political purposes. 

He notes a news report that states that there were 16,692 criminal homicides in the U.S. in 2006.  That’s out of a population of 300 million people.  Iraq suffered approximately that many civilian dead in four months last year, and they have a population less than one-tenth the size of ours.  If we wanted to do a straight-up comparison between murders in the U.S. and violent deaths in Iraq–which so many war supporters seem to think is a smart and advantageous thing for them to do–that would mean that Iraq is suffering from a homicide rate that is roughly 36 times as great as our own (i.e., the equivalent of America having just over 600,000 murders per year).  However bad crime may be in some parts of this country, it is twisted in the extreme to pretend that what happens here and what goes on Iraq are actually comparable.