Attrition: The Big Killers Get Away Unseen


September18, 2008:  War is a matter of definition, because there are high levels of violence in many parts of the world that are not considered, by the media anyway, as a war. Overall (worldwide), 700-800,000 people a year a dying from violence. Fewer than ten percent of those deaths are caused by what is generally regarded as a "war." But three or four times as many die from war related disease and starvation. Then again, far more people die from disease and starvation in parts of the world where there is little violence.

For example, South Africa has a murder rate of 65 per 100,000 population per year. The death rate is also high in some other African countries (like Sudan, Somalia and Congo), but those places don't keep records as efficiently as South Africa. The Iraqi rate is now running at about 48 per 100,000. The Afghanistan rate is about half that. India, another area with lots of terrorism (and half of it is from communist and tribal rebels) the murder rate is about four per 100,000. That's about the same as most European nations, and half the U.S. rate. But the Western Hemisphere has always had a higher homicide rate than the Old World. No one is quite sure why.

The amount of disease and starvation deaths in Africa is staggering, resulting in average life expectancies of under 40 years in several countries that are not at war. Most of the early deaths in Africa are the result of corruption and inefficient government.



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