A week ago, various media noted “a very sad milestone: the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has now exceeded the number of persons killed in the 9/11 attacks”, as Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy put it. I commented there that this was untrue, and wondered why the media had jumped the gun. Here is what I wrote:
Since when was the total death toll of 9-11 only 2,973? The project to memorialize all the victims calls itself Project 2996. According to Wikipedia, there are 2,973 confirmed dead and 24 more missing and presumed dead. (Which makes a total of 2,997, but a discrepancy of 1 is a lot less bothersome than a discrepancy of 24.) After 5+ years, it’s conceivable that one or two of the 24 missing may turn up alive, but surely the actual number killed is at least 2,994. (Wikipedia and Project 2,996 explicitly exclude the terrorists from their totals.) Apparently, the press couldn’t stand to wait another few weeks for the total dead in Iraq to exceed the actual total murdered on 9-11.
I even wondered if the media were (subconsciously, I hope) trying to ruin Christmas by announcing this on the 26th. Now I know why they did it. Today they are commemorating a different milestone, the 3,000th death. They could hardly have commemorated the 2,996th and the 3,000th separately, so lowering the number killed on 9-11 to 2,973 allowed them to mourn two supposedly different milestones a week apart.