A Jan. 2 NewsBusters post by Michael M. Bates promotes "the fact that last year homicides in Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago substantially exceeded the number of deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq," adding: 'If Iraq's a total failure, how does Obama view what's taking place in his own hometown?"
Bates' comparison is a misleading one. Raw numbers are misleading when plucked out of context; the death rate of a given population is the more meaningful number.
As Bates notes, approximately 314 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq in 2008, while there were 509 homicides in Chicago. But the population bases are vastly different -- there are approximately 140,000 soldiers in Iraq, but there are more than 2.8 million residents of Chicago. Therefore, a U.S. soldier is still several times more likely to get killed in Iraq than to be murdered in Chicago.
Bates is following the conservatively-correct line -- also followed by WorldNetDaily, Newsmax and CNSNews.com -- of tossing out statistically meaningless numbers to downplay the number of troop deaths in Iraq.