Unless we withdraw fairly quickly, the amount of U.S. military personnel who have died in Iraq will exceed the amount of people who died on 9/11/2001 at some point in the future. Polling data suggest a general increase in the percentage of Americans who wish to implement an exit strategy which is more immediate than anything suggested by the White House. Also, they are not comfortable with some of the stated reasons for U.S. entry into combat operations with Iraq, such as weapons of mass destruction or elimination of terrorism.
When we cross the line where more people have died while allegedly protecting us from what happened on 9/11 than actually died on 9/11, one might expect a strong shift in how Americans will react to our continued presence in Iraq. The date this actually occurs will likely impact national political races, so I thought I’d draw a chart to see when this is likely to occur with respect to upcoming election dates.
Using the established antiwar.com rates for U.S. deaths in Iraq, I plugged the numbers into a standard Excel spreadsheet and ran two very simple straight-line projections. The first projection was based on the average daily amount of reported deaths since the “war” began on 3/19/03. The second method used was to take the daily average of deaths in the latest phase of US military operations in Iraq, this being the period since 1/31/05. The graphical output provided that both lines were so physically close I had to use very narrow lines so one can see both of them.
Depending upon which projection one chooses, either January 3 or January 15 of 2007 is the date that more people will have died in Iraq than on 9/11. This is likely to be a factor in 2006 electoral politics, as two death counts are likely to be close during the tail end of the the races which will end next November. Should there be some horrific event where a greater than normal amount of Americans are killed prior to this election day, it could move the date these two lines cross even before November.
It will probably be roughly two years from the date the lines cross before presidential ballots are cast. My guess is that we will be totally out of Iraq by then or a dove will win the keys to the White House.
What the hawks need right now is another
Reichstag fire 9/11 in the next thirteen months to maintain political power. They’ll need it a bit faster to ensure control of Congress. Doves need to push for withdrawal before the amount of people who died on 9/11 is overshadowed by the amount of American soldiers who die in Iraq.
Unfortunately, the most likely scenario is that these projections will end up being close to accurate, as neither Republicans nor Democrats are likely to begin to place principle ahead of partisan bickering and political positioning.