December 29, 2004

Constant Casualties

Phil Carter's Slate article (as well as on his blog) on equalizing casualties across wars really bothers me. He explicitly links it to constant dollars, taking out inflation. You do this by equalizing what you can buy across time.

So what do you "buy" with one casualty and how does that change? What is the purpose of equalization? Why are better technologies, better tactics, and better medical care factors that can legitimately be taken out of the system?

I have a gut feel that this concept is ripe for politically motivated abuse. When you get the idea of fake casualties pumping up actual funerals that are being attended by flesh and blood casualties, two effects seem to be inevitable. The first reaction is an increase in negative feelings toward current military operations, the second is very much a backlash reaction that casualties, being partially fake, will reduce the impact of the actual casualties that are real tragedies. What the good effects of creating the "constant" casualty are, I can't really see.

Posted by TMLutas at December 29, 2004 12:35 AM