Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King has repeated his false claim that Iraq is safer than Washington, D.C. (This isn't the first idiotic comment from the Congressman. Last year, he referred to Joseph McCarthy as an "American hero.")
My wife lives here with me, and I can tell you... She's at far greater risk being a civilian in Washington, D.C. than an average civilian in Iraq.
For starters, King is comparing one tragically neglected small city with a population under 600,000 to an entire country of 25 million. That's because comparing a big city to a big city, Baghdad to New York for example, doesn't work. Sneaky. Even the conservative Opinion Journal, which features pieces from The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, has a problem with the "fuzzy math":
In addition, the comparison with U.S. cities poses a problem of scale. Just as some municipalities here have high concentrations of crime, Baghdad and some other Iraqi cities have high concentrations of military, guerrilla and terrorist activity. A comparison of Baghdad with Los Angeles or a similarly sprawling U.S. city would be more enlightening than a comparison of Iraq as a whole with cities of well under a million people.
But even if you do stick with Washington, D.C., the numbers still don't hold up. Based purely on bodies delivered to the Baghdad morgue, the Brookings Institute reported that Baghdad had a murder rate of 95 per 100,000 indicating that even that number might be “too low since many murder victims are never taken to the morgue, but buried quickly and privately and therefore never recorded in official tallies.” By comparison, Washington, D.C., had 195 murders, in 2005 putting their annual murder rate at 34 per 100,000.
Just for fun, here's another way to spin the numbers and make a silly statement: A person from Iowa is much more likely to be intentionally killed in Iraq than in the Hawkeye State itself. FBI crime statistics show 8 homicides in 2004 and 6 homicides in 2005 in Des Moines, the largest city in Rep. King's home state of Iowa. So far 30 soldiers from Iowa have been killed in Iraq. If you are from Iowa, stay far far away from Iraq... you are much better off hanging out on the dangerous street corner in Washington, D.C., or playing Russian roulette in a bar in Des Moines.