JAMES A. LANDAU Netscape. Just the Net You Need. JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sat Sep 13 14:48:58 UTC 2008

```On Fri, 12 Sep 2008 09:49:28  Zulu minus 0700 Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM wrote:

<quote>
In case anybody cares, the Allukian-Atwood article I just cited also
claims  (p. 331) that an American soldier in Vietnam (1965-1973) had
an 8.5% chance of being killed in action. Source? A 1973 article in
_Nutrition Today_.

According to J. F. Dunnigan & A. Nofi's sensationally-titled
but extensively researched _Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War_
(N.Y.: St. Martin's, 1999), p. 242, the figure was 1.8%. Source?
Some government document.
</quote>

Let’s be scholarly, i.e. do some arithmetic.

The number of US combat deaths was somewhere around 60,000 (I checked three Web sites and found 6 different figures, so let’s use the round number, which includes MIA’s as killed in action).  Note that this figure does NOT include
around 10,000 non-combat-related deaths.

If the chance of being killed were 8.5%, then the number of American
servicemen (and servicewomen) in Vietnam must have been 705,882.  This is impossible.  US strength in Vietnam was around half a million for several years, and of this half-million, most only served a one-year or thirteen-month rotation.

If the chance were 1.8%, then the number of US service people must have been 3,333,333, which is much more likely.

Hence the Dunnigan-Nofi number is plausible and the Allukian-Atwood number is not.

It is possible that the 8.5% figure refers to the number of *wounded*, not the number *killed*, which means that somebody along the Allukian-Atwood chain was a total idiot.

I find objectionable your words “Source? Some government document.”  ADS-L is supposed to be a scholarly mailing list.  Having cited the source of the 8.5%, you are obligated to either be equally exact about the source Dunnigan and Nofi use for the 1.8% figure or at a minimum not brought it up.

James A. Landau
test engineer
Northrop-Grumman Information Technology
8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300
West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^
RTSCT EZWWW YZAWV FQMYP ILZFD CWQAE MXCYN WMPJJ
HHYNU AMFGX HSA
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^

_____________________________________________________________
Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

```