A colleague reminded me of this November 2003 column by Council on Foreign Relations fellow Max Boot:
Other statistics add to the context. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 114 U.S. police officers died in the line of duty this year, almost exactly the number of service people who have been killed by Iraqi insurgents since May 1. And more than 41,000 people are killed on U.S. highways every year, according to the Department of Transportation. So during the last six months, while more than 300 Americans were dying in Iraq, more than 20,000 were dying on the roads at home.
Of course to “add to the context” one might have wanted to compare the number of soldiers in Iraq to the total population of the United States and one would have realized that, yes, serving in a war is more dangerous than driving a car. Boot did, however, presciently note that “the myopic media are focusing far too much on counting casualties and not enough on assessing the larger state of the campaign.” Less presciently, he argued that the larger state of the campaign was very solid.