FACT CHECK: Baghdad Has 13 Times More Murders Than Philadelphia

In a post this morning, Wizbang blogger Alexander K. McClure compared the homicide rate in Philadelphia to the situation in Iraq:

Without looking at the URL or the headline at the top, try to figure out which city this is. Each red dot represents a murder in the past year. Isn’t that a quagmire? Isn’t it time to consider pulling out?

The city McClure pointed to is Philadelphia. It had 337 homicides between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2006.

In Baghdad, the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index estimates that 5,320 people are killed a month, meaning there were 53,200 murders between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2006. are projected to be killed this year, meaning Baghdad had 13.2 times more murders than Philadelphia.


This number vastly underestimates the number of civilians killed in Baghdad because it applies only to people with mortal gunshot wounds. (Brookings also notes this number may be “too low since many murder victims are never taken to the morgue, but buried quickly and privately and therefore never recorded in official tallies.”)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has also tried to claim that living in Washington, DC, is as dangerous as living in Iraq. Comparing the murder rate in any U.S. city with the situation in Baghdad only underscores how out-of-touch some conservatives are from the real situation on the ground in Iraq.