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Tuesday, 26 September 2006


Roger Saner

I agree that crime has undergone a dramatic spike in recent times in SA - and your question "Is this their 'liberation'?" is a good one.

In The Citizen article you linked to Dave Stewart did some research and said that since the US invasion of Iraq in January 2003 between 41 and 46 000 civilians had died. The South African stats for the same period are between 70 and 80 000 murders. This puts us in a warzone!

Except Dave's stats are wrong - by a long, long way. According the the Lancet Medical journal (source: The Guardian - http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1892888,00.html ) the actual death toll is around 655 000. This is horrendous and must make us ask some huge questions of America. The best article I've read in recent times on this is "What if the Amish were in charge of the war on terror?" http://www.beliefnet.com/blogs/godspolitics/2006/10/diana-butler-bass-what-if-amish-were.html

That said, I hope our crime comes down drastically! Even though I wouldn't consider SA a warzone, crime is at unacceptable levels and we've got to do something.

Clive Simpkins

Roger, valuable contribution. I read the article in question. Whilst I have no reason whatsoever to minimise the number of Iraqi deaths, I find that this sort of statistical 'extrapolation'(from some 600 deaths) can lead to absurdities. There are all sorts of factors involved in gathering 'house to house' information in a war situation. Not least of which is hyperbole (legitimately) to up the ante against the enemy. The same kind of extrapolation was done with AIDS stats in SA and the reality, whilst ghastly, is nothing remotely like the projected model.

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