Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Oct 14 02:01:34 UTC 2010

At 10/13/2010 09:50 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>2. "popular" usage (as in the Speer/ Hitler case) applies the plural only to
>the dead.  To take an example I've encountered more than once, the first day
>of the battle of the Somme is accurately said to have cost the British Army
>nearly 60,000 casualties, which includes about 20,000 killed.  This is
>frequently misinterpreted and rephrased as "60,000 deaths."  Similarly, I
>have heard it said that the U.S. suffered 58,000 "casualties" during the
>Vietnam War.  But the actual number of casualties was far higher than that.
>I have heard that the U.S. has suffered "4,000 casualties in Iraq."  The
>real number is, again, far higher.

This, of course, may be due to the military's desire to minimize the
number of casualties ... to "our" side.  Or critics' desire to
maximize the number of casualties to "our" side.  Or to simple confusion.


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