Hedgecock baselessly compared Baghdad's violent death rate to D.C.'s


On the November 28 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, guest host Roger Hedgecock baselessly claimed that "the murder rate in Baghdad, the people being killed in Baghdad, is lower than the murder rate of Washington, D.C." Based on estimates from the Brookings Institution, Baghdad's violent death rate since January 2006 is about 238 per 100,000 people; by contrast, Washington, D.C., had a homicide rate of 35.4 per 100,000 in 2005.

While discussing NBC News' recent decision to describe the situation in Iraq as a civil war, Hedgecock wondered whether Washington should also be considered to be in a "civil war." According to preliminary statistics from the Metropolitan Police Department, 145 homicides had been reported in that city in 2006 by the end of October, for a homicide rate of 26.3 per 100,000 people. By contrast, estimates from the Brookings Institution's Iraq Indexes from January 30 and November 27 indicate that about 13,300 Iraqi civilians were killed in Baghdad by violence in 2006 through October 15, for a violent death rate of about 238 per 100,000 people, given Baghdad's population of about 5.6 million. (Brookings notes that these estimates of violence in Baghdad, using data from IraqBodyCount.org, are based entirely on media reports. The number of violent civilian deaths in Baghdad from January 1, 2006, through October 15, 2006, was obtained by subtracting the reported number of such deaths from the start of the war through January 1 -- provided in the January 30 Iraq Index -- from the same statistic through October 15 -- provided in the most recent Iraq Index, from November 27.)

The weblog Think Progress has previously noted that other conservatives have baselessly compared Iraq's death rate to that of Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

From the November 28 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

HEDGECOCK: They're calling it. In other words, it's like Florida for [Democratic presidential candidate Al] Gore. This is -- you know, this is -- they're calling the election. It's now a civil war. Boy, I'm glad we've clarified that. Let's see. Did they call Bosnia and Kosovo a civil war? Huh?

Did they -- did they call what's going on -- and by the way, the murder rate -- whatever you hear, whenever you hear a story about Baghdad about blowing up, about -- you know, today two car bombs went off in the entire country. The murder rate in Baghdad, the people being killed in Baghdad, is lower than the murder rate of Washington, D.C. Is Washington, D.C., in a civil war? NBC has not called it, so I dare not say.

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