Information Graphics/Body Count

The New York Times marked the 1000th American military death in Iraq with this informative (and moving, an in information graphics kind of way) interactive graphic A Look at Those Who Died. A thousand gray boxes appear on the screen. As you mouse over each of the boxes, a picture of an American soldier killed in Iraq appears, along with the dead person's branch of service, date of death, hometown, home state, gender, age, and type of death. You can also sort the whole chart by these criteria. I think it brings home the cost of this war.

Speaking of the cost of this war, I was thinking the other day — the only real justification that the Bush adminstration has provided for the war that has held up to scrutiny (remember those WMD?) is that Saddam Hussein tried to kill Bush's dad. Considering that, in some ways we can consider the mission of the War in Iraq accomplished. But thinking further along those lines, if the real reason for the War in Iraq was to get revenge on Hussein, just how much has that cost? I can't find information on how much Saddam Hussein weighs (he looked pretty thin when he was captured), but let's be generous and say the man weighs 200 pounds. If that is the case, then we have sacrificed 5 American lives for every pound of Saddam's flesh. One man or woman per 1/5th of a pound of Saddam flesh. It gets even worse when we take into account the economic cost of the war. If the war has cost roughly $132 Billion to date, that means we have spent roughly $660,000,000 per pound of Saddam's flesh. $660 Million and 5 American lives per pound of Saddam's flesh. To speak momentarily like a Republican, that's a lousy return on investment.

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