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How many people has the United States killed in your lifetime?

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 10:45 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
You question was of such a nature as not be be able to produce anything of worth unless you just consider Anti-American postings of worth.


Thanks for your opinion on that. I see a lot of worth to it, so I guess it is somewhat in the eye of the beholder.

In high-level engineering interviews people will often ask crazy questions like "how many golf balls would it take to fill each building in New York" and they don't care what the answer is they only care about the approach to the question.

So if someone says "that's impossible" that tells them something they need to know, and if someone tells them "what I would do is....." and comes up with a way to solve the problem it does too.

The same is the case here. I am not trying to have a discussion about the justification for any of the deaths at all. I am just trying to see how you approach it. For example, it's pretty clear that you can't get around a nationalistic approach to this question. If I asked you to estimate how many people Saddam's Iraq killed it would be a straightforward question to you. This one is not, you can't help but convolute your way not to answering the question.

Quote:
You would need to refine the question and limited it to produce any meaningful results.


I want to see how you would refine it. I already know how I would and that is why I'm not doing it for you.

Quote:
Hell even the time period is up in the air as in your lifetime could mean anything from roughly eighty years or so to thirteen years.


If your estimated lifetime has that much variance then what I would do in your shoes is present a range. I would seek to better establish my age immediately afterwards.

Quote:
The question must had meaning before you can get any kind of meaningful answers to it and in this case the question is so broad and undefined as to be meaningless.


I think you should be willing to consider that failing to see a meaning does not mean that one does not exist.
Strauss
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 10:53 am
@Robert Gentel,
There's plenty on this matter to research over the internet, I'd do it myself had I the inclination to do so.

So, prior to this question, I had a figure in mind that happens to be corroborated by the numbers I found on a few sites.

This one, for example:

Quote:
In the last 50 years, the United States has promoted, financed and participated in over 200 incursions and 20 separate wars, killing over 8,000,000 people.

1952 - 79, 70,000 Iranians killed. ( Ayatollah Khomeini, US public enemy for the 1980s, was on the CIA payroll while in exile in Paris in 1970s, as were Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden at different times and in different places. )

1954 - 120,000 Guatemalans killed

1954 - 1975, 4,000,000 Vietnamese and Cambodians killed.

1965 - 3,000 Dominican Republicans killed

1965 - 800,000 Indonesians killed

1973 - 30,000 Chileans killed

1975 - 250,000 East Timorese killed

1970s - 1,000,000 Angolans killed

1984 - 30,000 Nicaraguans killed

1980s - 80,000 El Salvadoreans killed

1989 - 8,000 Panamanians killed in an attempt to capture George H. Bush's CIA partner now turned enemy, Manuel Noriega,

1980s - over 700,000 Libyans, Grenadians, Somalians, Haitians, Afghanistanis, Sudanese, Brazilians, Argentineans and Yugoslavians killed,

1991 - over 1,000,000 Iraqis killed, including over 500,000 children -- about which Madeline Albright ( then, Secretary of State ) said "their deaths are worth the cost". While George W. Bush owns over 80% of the oil wells in Kuwait, trouble will continue there.


Since the last Irak war, the count still goes on...
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 11:09 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
I don't think the question can be answered simply (unless you're of wandel's mindset)


Thankfully, Robert gave us enough latitude so that we can each use our own mindset.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 11:22 am
@CalamityJane,
How about WWII? The problem becomes intractible, because many a2k members were borrn after WWII and Korean wars.
wandeljw
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 11:56 am
Strauss wrote:
Since the last Irak war, the count still goes on...


We now have answers ranging from zero to infinity. Smile
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 12:20 pm
I was busy earlier, but now I'm going to start to work up some figures. Could take a while, as I suppose references vary, and some of my estimates will be way off guesses. Have started a Works Page on this at any rate.

I'm especially interested in episodes that were what I think of as "under the table", and in some of our interferences in countries resulting with new leaders that caused many deaths. Since I started thinking about it, a few have posted showing some lists, which is a help re my remembering our reported actions abroad over time.

Like a few other a2kers, I was born before the start of U.S. involvement in WWII... in my case, a month before. So, there's quite an accumulation of deaths to consider.

On the thread, I think this is worthwhile.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 12:25 pm
Don't have time to do the research re numbers but my answer is "too damn many!" It probably numbers in the millions. My lifetime includes all of the proxy wars (the concept of which disgusts me) throughout the cold war with the exception of Korea, Gulf I and II, etc. Where's JTT? He could spit out a number in a millisecond.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 12:28 pm
@JPB,
I was just looking for JTT - s/he/it has only posted once since sometime in October.



(when joeblow, Set and I met with George and family we couldn't decide on gender or location of JTT - definitely some strong opinions just on those two points ! )
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 12:30 pm
@Strauss,
Strauss wrote:



1980s - over 700,000 Libyans, Grenadians, Somalians, Haitians, Afghanistanis, Sudanese, Brazilians, Argentineans and Yugoslavians killed,



Yugoslavians (sic)? Argenineans (sic)? Afghanistanis (sic)?! What is the origin of these statistics you quote without attribution, but with apparent blind faith?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 12:54 pm
@High Seas,
not sure what the original source is, but the numbers Strauss posted are quoted on over 2000 websites

About 2,070 results (0.16 seconds)

(Google is our friend)

ahh found it - the original source is noted as

Quote:
( Source: Philip Bradbury, Insight Magazine, November 2001 )
0 Replies
 
Strauss
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 12:58 pm
@High Seas,
I don't have faith in anything, especially in humankind.

It bothered me too, when I saw those mistakes.

But I thought the origin of these numbers could easily be found.

Other figures are also available on the web...
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 01:06 pm
@Strauss,
The afghanistan thing probably relates numbers from our involvment supporting and training the mujahideen in the eighties -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone
0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 01:53 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

As I've repeatedly said, the only thing I am looking for in this thread is what the capacity for this kind of difficult research is here on a2k.
That can not possibly be the only thing you're looking for - if it was, you'd be asking "how many golf balls would it take to fill each building in New York?".

Quote:
I leave all those qualifiers up to the discretion of anyone who wants to actually try to answer the question.
In that case,in my lifetime I'd guess the US has:
- Actively killed less people than 150 years ago
- Passively killed more than 150 years ago
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 02:33 pm
@thack45,
Or, the US killed more people between 1911 and 2011 than any other period in human history.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 02:45 pm
My take is that the domino theory has held sway in the u.s. defense system for a long time. People within the system may have disagreed, but the sway has taken precedence.

I agree with RG's points that are described as emotional; have posted similarly off and on and been ignored as wacko, though usually by dismissal or skipping along, since I don't argue data, and the good arguers are into data. Well, hey. I think I remember, RG, you saying we couldn't leave Afghanistan (that might have been pre the last build up), and I think I remember you saying that re Iraq, essentially that we bought the problem. No links, just memory. If that memory is right, I get mind changing, evolving on views, sign of health.

I think we are still domino theory trapped and this is stupid.

0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 02:56 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Or, humans have killed the same amount of people on earth as they have in the solar system.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 02:56 pm
@High Seas,
Haven't researched yet but I'd not be surprised we were involved in the horrendo in Argentina. Maybe and maybe not. Re stuff in Yugoslavia in the eighties, there I'm fully ignorant, but interested.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 03:02 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
it's pretty clear that you can't get around a nationalistic approach to this question. If I asked you to estimate how many people Saddam's Iraq killed it would be a straightforward question to you. This one is not, you can't help but convolute your way not to answering the question.


Nonsense you gave no firm time period no idea if you are talking about direct military actions by the US and it allies or something more boarder such as claim harms done by say embargoes.

Do you count actions by allies in their own countries that we did not stop?

Hell do you count deaths that we did not cause but that we might had been able to stop due to diseases or famines and on and on we go -------------------------------------------

Sorry Robert if the question is for example how many deaths we cause in say the WW2 bombing of Germany and Japan cities you could come up with a ball part number but your open ended question is so open ended the only thing it good for is some good old US bashing.
Robert Gentel
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 03:06 pm
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:
That can not possibly be the only thing you're looking for - if it was, you'd be asking "how many golf balls would it take to fill each building in New York?".


Not all research is equal. I'm looking for ability to do historic research about politically polemic matters, if I were trying to gauge mathematical ability then golf balls would make more sense.

This is how this discussion happened:

I had two discussions yesterday, one online one offline, where the person I was talking to simply did not seem to share the same factual basis for the discussion. In one the person was wrong about the casualties by several orders of magnitude. That got me thinking that it is awful difficult to discuss things like whether a military act is justified with people who simply have nothing but a conceptual understanding of what we are talking about. I went on to think about how difficult it is to have this kind of a grasp on history. The US military certainly doesn't want you to know this number ("we don't do body counts") because information asymmetry and shaping the narrative of the war is part of their strategy and I wonder just how many people can dig through that and have a real sense of what the scale of the events they talk about are.

There certainly doesn't lack for strong opinions about things like whether a war should be waged or not, or whether a country should be increasing the number of people it kills or not. But these opinions increasingly seem to me to have been formulated in the complete absence of any form of hard data.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 03:16 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
Nonsense you gave no firm time period...


For most people "in your lifetime" is a firm time period. I did not anticipate your ignorance of this temporal window.

Quote:
no idea if you are talking about direct military actions by the US and it allies or something more boarder such as claim harms done by say embargoes.


I know what I would define as deaths the US is responsible for, but I'm not asking you what my definition is. I am asking you what yours is.

Quote:
Do you count actions by allies in their own countries that we did not stop?


Why do you ask? Do you intend to formulate your opinion on the basis of my own answer? That is why I'm not going to tell you what I count. I'm asking you what you do.

Quote:
Hell do you count deaths that we did not cause but that we might had been able to stop due to diseases or famines and on and on we go -------------------------------------------


You tell me bub. It's your number I'm asking for. Your criteria. Your definition.

Quote:
Sorry Robert if the question is for example how many deaths we cause in say the WW2 bombing of Germany and Japan cities you could come up with a ball part number but your open ended question is so open ended the only thing it good for is some good old US bashing.


I've not said a single negative word about the US in this thread. Your nationalism and fear of criticism of America is disallowing you from coming up with a number. I already told you that I will voice no judgement at all in this thread about the number and what portion of it is justified. So get over your hyper-sensitivity about your country already.

How many people did your country kill in your lifetime? I'm not asking you to justify them, or make any comment at all about their moral justification. I just want to see if you have the aptitude to answer the question.
 

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