Saturday, April 10, 2004


Would you tolerate thirty thousand dead Americans?

What do these numbers tell us about Iraq? For one thing, that the public may be less fearful of casualties than America's political and military elites assume -- and, indeed, less fearful than the elites themselves. In 1999 a massive opinion poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Triangle Institute for Security Studies asked various groups what level of casualties they would be willing to tolerate in the event of war with Iraq. The survey found that military leaders consistently show less tolerance for casualties than civilian leaders, who in turn show less tolerance for casualties than the public at large. (In Iraq, the survey showed the public would tolerate, as a mean figure, 29,853 American fatalities; civilian elites would tolerate 19,045; and their military counterparts would tolerate 6,016.)

That's from the WaPo. Is that what they're expecting?