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papicek:
Here's a factoid I've borne in mind a lot these last few years: when the 20th century opened, civilian casualties accounted for about 10% of all casualties in conflict. By the century's close that ratio had reversed - about 90% of all casualties of conflict are civilian casualties.

I doubt this factoid is true if you do not (as they did at the time) constrain the definition of war to the conflicts between european powers. When dealing with people without machineguns (Congo, Tasmania and the list goes on) attempted genocide was common. WW2 saw these practices spread to europe, hence the horror.

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:59:29 AM EST
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A good point. I hop around books and white papers so much I forget where I've read things...so I cannot speak to the authority of that assertion, but I can say this: when I read it, I immediately absorbed it as if it were true, so I was in general agreement with the author's premise.

Damn, I thought I had that one down, and now I'll have to go back and check it.

Grrrrrrrrrr!

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"as they did at the time"

This is a current author. He'd have to be to be speaking to what happened at the end of the 20th century, wouldn't he?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, but I assume he uses the start of the 20th century definition of conflict and casualties for those. However, I doubt that the sum of military casualties in 19th century wars matched the sum of killed civilians in the Congo alone.

It is a fairly common mistake, similar to using start of 20th century definitions of democracy. My guess would be that the author is primarily concerned with the atrocities of the 20th century and uses the earlier episode as backdrop for contrast. Am I right?

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 09:38:21 AM EST
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