The tragedy of war … since 1400

The following chart gives a detailed account of war dead in conflicts since the beginning of the 14th century. (Click to enlarge: via Our World in Data)

ourworldindata_wars-long-run-military-civilian-fatalities-from-brecke

Amazingly, the rate of death is near the lowest point it’s been in history. Now, of course, the world population in 1400 was about the same as it is in the combined population of the United States and Canada (about 350 million). There are 7.23 billion people in the world now.

But even with that. despite the more impersonal and highly more devastating weapons of mass destruction (nuclear weapons now, battle axes in the 1400s), somehow humanity as a whole is now resisting the urge to kill everybody in site.

Don’t get me wrong. Humanity still is filled with homicidal tendencies, but we don’t act on them at the same rate as we used to. That’s got to be good for something, right?

The Iraq quote hall of fame

iraqwhoppers720 One New York Times columnist is especially delusional when it comes to Iraq:

It’s really hard to give simple sound-bite answers about past mistakes. The question, would you go back and undo your errors is unanswerable. It’s only useful to ask, what wisdom have you learned from your misjudgments that will help you going forward?

Which brings us to Iraq. From the current vantage point, the decision to go to war was a clear misjudgment, made by President George W. Bush and supported by 72 percent of the American public who were polled at the time. I supported it, too.

While another has a complete grasp on reality:

Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.

Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.