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So, what exactly is a 'casualty' ?

#1
Listening to Radio 4 this afternoon and a programme called 'More or Less'. Never heard it before but it takes the numbers mentioned in the headlines and looks a little deeper to see what is behind them.

One piece was talking about an Israeli General who had stated that as 'unbelieveable as it is, 111 people were injured today in Hamas rocket attacks'. (Can't remember which day those figures were for but it doesn't matter here).

When 'More or Less' looked into it, it appeared that the Israeli Emergency Services stated that 3 people were injured by shrapnel, 11 were injured running away from the scene and the remainder were all treated for shock. There are no figures for Palestinians in shock.

So, what is a 'casualty' ? Casualty figures have always been manipulated for propoganda purposes. Either reduced or hidden to stop the demoralising of a nation. Or as here, inflated, to make things sound worse than they really are. Or maybe not.

It used to be that 'X' number were killed and 'X' number wounded. They were what I thoguht casualties were. Physical rather than emotional or mental. Death is pretty well defined but has what is termed by wounded changed over time ?

They also had some interesting stuff about the real figures for the Ash dieback as well as the number of cod in the North Sea too but perhaps not of interest here other than that it showed how figures get massaged or used totally out of context. And we all know that anyways.

Anyways, I know there's plenty of people smarter than me and I wondered whether the consensus was that those treated for shock should be considered.
 
#2
I suppose if you are trying to help your cause because you are being attacked - It's probably everyone who needs medical treatment of some sort. This would be fair, as they wouldn't have needed medical treament if they weren't bombed. And treament for Shock would fall into this area.

If you were trying to "dumb down" Casualty rates, you might put it at those that needed hospital treatment.

But I think it must have to flow between those lines somewhere.
 
#3
More or less, is one of those programmes that make you stop and think about the 'facts' put out by all sorts. Well worth a listen.

As people get compo for 'hurt feelings' it is only logical that someone who would have been given a nice cup of sweet tea and told to get on with it, should now be deemed a casualty. Especially when going for sympathy.
 
#7
Shock - the clinical syndrome whereby tissue perfusion and hence oxygenation is inadequate to maintain normal metabolic function.

None of this needing a cup of tea nonsense.
 
#8
Well, in a propaganda war I suppose you'll claim as high a figure on your side as possible and as low as possible on t'other. For an "equitable" view of the Palestine/Zionist conflict perhaps something a bit more straightforward to count is best.You can then muck about with what dates you choose etc. Bottom line is that pretty much anyway you cut it 20 times more palestinians die than "Israelis" in any particular period.

Another interesting "stat" I found was than in US mainstream media reporting 120% of "Israeli" childrens deaths were reported in the headline or first paragraph ( ie child deaths were mentioned even if none had occurred in a particular incident) against 7.5% of Palestininian child deaths, in general Palestinian casualties were not mentioned until somewhere down the article.
 
#9
Shock - the clinical syndrome whereby tissue perfusion and hence oxygenation is inadequate to maintain normal metabolic function.

None of this needing a cup of tea nonsense.
So in the circumstances quoted "upset" or "distressed" is probably more accurate for the majority of than a diagnosis of clinical "Shock" ?
 
#10
With us your a casualty if the Medic or BAS has to treat you for wounds, injuries caused through enemy action. Not sure about Shock in a civil defense setting. I suppose it can depend on the individual. If your next to someone who was just evicerated by shrapnel from a rocket you would be likely to be far more affected than someone around the corner who just hears the explosion.
 
#11
Well, in a propaganda war I suppose you'll claim as high a figure on your side as possible and as low as possible on t'other. For an "equitable" view of the Palestine/Zionist conflict perhaps something a bit more straightforward to count is best.You can then muck about with what dates you choose etc. Bottom line is that pretty much anyway you cut it 20 times more palestinians die than "Israelis" in any particular period.

Another interesting "stat" I found was than in US mainstream media reporting 120% of "Israeli" childrens deaths were reported in the headline or first paragraph ( ie child deaths were mentioned even if none had occurred in a particular incident) against 7.5% of Palestininian child deaths, in general Palestinian casualties were not mentioned until somewhere down the article.
Pretty sure a perusal of the times thru 1940-45 would not go into German or Japanese casualties among the Civpop as much as opposed to friendlies
 
#12
So in the circumstances quoted "upset" or "distressed" is probably more accurate for the majority of than a diagnosis of clinical "Shock" ?
I'd say so. People like to use the colloquial "shock" in a medical context to make "upset" or "shaken up" sound severe or to sound like they know what they are talking about.
 
#13
Pretty sure a perusal of the times thru 1940-45 would not go into German or Japanese casualties among the Civpop as much as opposed to friendlies
Sorry chum but I don't think we or indeed the US is at war with Palestine or its population ? Your comment does nicely illustrate the point I was getting at tho. Thanks.
 
#14
Sorry chum but I don't think we or indeed the US is at war with Palestine or its population ? Your comment does nicely illustrate the point I was getting at tho. Thanks.
It's ok son, Of course I didnt say we or the UK is at war with the arabs in gaza, but the point still stands that typically you dont really care about the other sides casualties in the papers, especially when your Civpop is under missile fire.
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#15
They also had some interesting stuff about the real figures for the Ash dieback as well as the number of cod in the North Sea too
Radio 4 has figures on the tree and fish casualties in the recent Hamas vs Israel conflict? Wow. I missed that.

Take a look at 'Number Crunching' in Private Eye. And don't believe everything you read. Unless I write it.
 
#16
I listened to it yesterday whilst driving, essentially a case of chinese whispers. Hospital reports 110 admissions, IDF officer takes that as 110 casualites and then tweets it, newspapers report it.

Much more funny was the cod numbers, how 100 cod left in the north sea, should have actually be 437 million cod, but who said journalists were good at maths.

E.g Number crunching, put two similar but unrelated numbers side by side and expect joe public to do some sort of moral equivalence without any supporting context. Lazy journalism that belongs in the Independent, not Private Eye
 
#17
I suppose that the point is that whereas once upon a time casualties were those removed from the field of battle who could make a difference to the outcome, that has changed.

Since battlefields are now more predominantly fought amongst the CivPop and not over in a few days or hours and fought under the glare of worldwide media, propoganda plays a bigger role and so the higher the casualty figure the better ?

I always thought that casualties were participants and victims were those who were collateral damage. But thinking about it, that probably hasn't been true for a long time.

Yes, the cod thing was funny, as was how the media are trying to scare people with the Ash die-back thing.

I'll be making a point of listening to 'More or Less' online now.
 
#18
I've always assumed that "casualty" followed Goldbricker's definition of someone treated by medics for wounds sustained in theatre. I have seen some definitions that assign it to 'anyone removed from battle', but that can become so broad as to lose all value - for instance, the Osprey Campaign book on the Falklands War stated that Argentina suffered 11,000 casualties, because the garrison surrendered completely. Obviously that's not very distinctive or meaningful.
 
#19
I've read very little about the civilian casualties of attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas - truth is, most people don't care as long as it isn't "our" civilians or casualties. War's always been like that and as much as our politicians might like to paint a picture of clean kills it ain't so. We all know what the first casualty of war is don't we?

You don't need to be hit by shrapnel to be injured, a rocket dropping close enough for you to feel the blast and shock wave isn't going to be nice. Regardless of physical injuries they're fair game for the statisticians to class as casualties.
 
#20
"The cod thing" is actually referring to the number of full frown, fertile cod in the North Sea.

TBH the figures are disturbingly low, yet the EU & our own Fisheries Ministers do nothing.

What's really insane is their repetitive decisions to do nothing, when a 5 year moratorium on trawling would bring fish numbers back to a level where current commercial take would still allow an annual 15-20% increase in fish numbers.

I spent several years as a member of one of the Sea Fisheries Committees covering the UK, so I have first hand knowledge of what is true & what isn't WRT commercial fishing.
 

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