Go to previous post:
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Go to Electrolite's front page.

Go to next post:
And speaking of Molesworth.

Our Admirable Sponsors

April 2, 2003

Neil Gaiman wonders if we’ve noticed that “so far in this conflict the US has killed more UK soldiers than the Iraqis have?”

I can’t wait for the right-wing peanut gallery’s explanation in my comments section of how this all A-OK. And, no doubt, the fault of those perfidious French.

Neil is, of course, uterly wet and a weed. The masters larf they are in stitches.

UPDATE: Broken link to the newspaper story, my fault, fixed now. [12:21 AM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Neil Gaiman:

David ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 01:10 AM:

That's true. It's also true that the British have killed more British troops than the Iraqis have. Neither is OK, of course, but why single out the US?

Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 01:11 AM:

Seems to be an old tradition, but at least the damned yanks are killing soldiers.

(Yes, I am in a bad mood this morning)

Lori ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 01:21 AM:

Is it just me or is it really creepy that that page is now blank? It doesn't matter how many reporters are embedded if no one will carry their stories. It doesn't matter how instantaneously footage of what's happening around the world is available if it's not broadcast. Or once the story is told, if it's changed in some kind of bizarre three-card monte way. (I'm thinking of the NYT on-line article that mentioned snipers at the peace demonstration and then two hours later, didn't.)
Or maybe it's just a broken link.

David ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 01:28 AM:

I failed to include a rather important point in my first post. Which is to say that, so far as I can tell, the claim that the US has killed more British soldiers than the Iraqis have is (not to put too fine a point on it) bullshit.

As in... it is a false statement. It is made up. It is not true. And so on.

3 British soldiers have been killed by American "friendly" fire. At least 4 have been killed in combat by Iraq. I stopped counting at 4 because it was depressing, but even 4 makes the statement an untruth.

Darkhawk ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 01:33 AM:

I read the article by hitting the 'printable copy' link or some such, if that helps anyone who's finding it blank.

bkw ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 01:40 AM:

perhaps they're counting the brits killed in accidents. helicopters are killing our men in bunches.

also, one could argue that if not for the americans, the brits wouldn't be there -- so the blame for the ones that are killed in accidents can even be placed at the feet of the americans.

of course, using that logic, the americans wouldn't be there in the first place if saddam had just complied with the UN. but that argument is old and trite at this point, no?

Andy ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 04:31 AM:

Let's not forget that US troops managed to kill more Canadians then the enemy did in Afghanistan too while we're at it.

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 06:43 AM:

Gee, how about giving me some more pleasant news to read while I'm eating my breakfast of Freedom Muffins?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 07:40 AM:

It was the classic dot-htm instead of dot-html error, my fault. The link is now fixed.

Kent Roller ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 08:20 AM:

I may be a peanut, but I don't think there is an explanation for the statistics. By egging for some sort of justification, Patrick, I get the feeling that you think Yanks are targetting Brits for fun.

"He'd just gone out on a jolly." is how the article put it. Maybe.

I was so bored bored with the tabloid tone of the artilce, I almost missed the last sentence... "Another two British soldiers were killed when their Challenger 2 Main Battle tank was engaged by another British tank west of Basra."

The Brits don't even recognize their own tanks.

The spin in here makes me dizzy.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 09:13 AM:

Actually, no, I don't remotely "think Yanks are targetting Brits for fun."

I do suspect some British people might, unfairly or not, be feeling that way. Including the wounded lance corporal who's upset about the killing of his friend.

It's a problem. As I said in my later post about the incident on Highway 9, these aren't stories about how American soldiers are somehow peculiarly wicked. (Stacked up against the overall history of warfare, American soldiers are, by and large, a miracle of civilization). These are stories about what war is.

jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 03:08 PM:

also, one could argue that if not for the americans, the brits wouldn't be there -- so the blame for the ones that are killed in accidents can even be placed at the feet of the americans.

Whoa! Just a linin-pickin' minute! Did I blink and miss the U.S.'s annexation of the U.K.? Is Brittainia no longer a sovereign nation? Blame the U.S. for the war, sure, I've no problem with that. Blame the U.S. military for their "friendly fire" incidence. But several countries have demonstrated that it's possible not to follow where the U.S. leads, and the responsbility for Britsh involvement in this abomination they're calling war lies at the feet of the rulers of a sovereign United Kingdom, who agreed to it.

Plig ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 03:53 PM:

We shouldn't forget the 8 Royal Marines who were killed in the US helicopter that crashed on day one.

Neither should we be surprised that more Brits are being killed by US forces than by Iraqi forces (a repeat of the situation in GW1). The fact is that the US are bursting with such overwhelming fire-power that they can hardly avoid killing anyone who gets within range of them.

Quite how they can justify going to war with Iraq on the basis of a threat to their security I do not know.

David ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 04:50 PM:

Do you even read the comments before you post, Plig? The statement that US forces have killed more Brits than Iraqi forces is a lie. L-i-e. Gaiman may simply be mistaken, but repeating it after I've alreadly pointed out the error is "lying".

The only way you can get there is by including the 8 Brits who died in a helicopter crash where the pilot happened to be an American. And anyone including that in "friendly fire" deaths is blatantly twisting the facts to fit an agenda.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2003, 12:17 AM:

As a card carrying member of the right wing peanut gallery [e.g. I treasure a compliment from Dr. Pournelle - sometime redleg] let me be in fact the first to say that this is not only A-OK but in fact a very good thing.

To take a perhaps slightly less emotional analogy - if none of your tax advisor's clients get audited your tax advisor isn't aggressive enough. Similarly while each and every death is to be regretted and individually mourned I would hate to adjust this particular ratio by suggesting there should be more deaths by enemy action or Bravo Two Zero style by hypothermia. A reasonable number of deaths blue on blue is a good sign - define your reasonable. This may be a turning point between past wars and future police actions (I rather hope not, indeed a war you can't possibly lose may not meet my personal test for a just war; a just war may just possibly only be one to fight even at the risk of losing?) but I for one do apply the standards of war - better to start the advance before lifting the barrage - rather than the standards of SWAT team evacuate the neighborhood and talk him down - to the current events. I do not mean to defend each and every incident of blue on blue. There may well be incidents in the current war, past or yet to come, where the ultimate field court of we're all safer if John Doe who kills his own dies right now apply or whatever lesser sanction be deemed appropriate. However I do defend the position that the current numbers and ratio is A-OK.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2003, 12:34 AM:

An interesting point. Certainly nobody in their right mind would want to argue for increasing coalition combat casualties.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 08:21 AM:

David, tone it down.