Thursday, April 24, 2008

There Are Three Types of People: Those Who Can Do Math, And Those Who Can't

The liberal media falls into the second group, as Confederate Yankee's Bob Owens shows:

The San Francisco Chronicle posts this without question:

More than 120 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq commit suicide every week while the government stalls in granting returning troops the mental health treatment and benefits to which they are entitled, veterans advocates told a federal judge Monday in San Francisco.

The rights of hundreds of thousands of veterans are being violated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, "an agency that is in denial," and by a government health care system and appeals process for patients that is "broken down," Gordon Erspamer, lawyer for two advocacy groups, said in an opening statement at the trial of a nationwide lawsuit.

He said veterans are committing suicide at the rate of 18 a day - a number acknowledged by a VA official in a Dec. 15 e-mail - and the agency's backlog of disability claims now exceeds 650,000, an increase of 200,000 since the Iraq war started in 2003.

There is no way to get a constant figure of X per week, but if they are presuming that 120/week figure from the beginning of the Iraq War on March 20, 2003, we're talking 1860 days (not including today), rounding down to 265 weeks * 120 suicides/week = 31,800 suicides of Iraq and Afghan War veterans.

If we instead presume they arrived at 120/week starting with the October 7, 2001 war with Afghanistan, we're looking at 2389 days (not including today), rounding down to 341 weeks * 120 suicides/week = 41,920 suicides of Iraq and Afghan War veterans.

Are they trying to tell us between 31,000-41,000 modern war veterans have committed suicide, and we're just now starting to notice, five years later?

We've seen this movie before--and it's fiction (earlier this year, the Chronicle cited a vet suicide rate only around 2 percent of that in this week's story). Indeed, as Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft repeatedly has shown, the average number of soldier suicides has dropped since the Clinton years.

Still, perpetually-retold, earnestly-worded nonsense like the Chronicle story suggest that anti-war liberals might make up the third type of people--too clueless to know they're fact-challenged.


Some math is checked, by CBS.

(via Protein Wisdom, SC&A)


Anonymous said...

I agree with your criticism, but with one significant caveat.

The article might be "equivocating" the definitions of covered veterans as well as the covered periods. The 120 per week reference might be to recent (perhaps increased) figures for vets that are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other might be to all vets in the last months of 2007. Thus, the math error might be your own because of the equivocation.

Regardless, this issue is a concern that has often been under-estimated or, worse, ignored. We should and we MUST do much more than we are for our troops . . . and their families, whether they served yesterday or last year or, frankly, any time during their lives. Some suicides may occur many, many years after the precipitating trauma. And let's not forget that these figures do not include suicides by spouses, children, parents or even the friends of our vets that have fallen, whether fatally or psychologically.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Suicides by all vets of all wars still wouldn't reach that number, I don't think.

I work with war PTSD clients some, though the VA has most of that, of course. I haven't seen much recently. Mild to moderate symptoms of PTSD are common but transitory. Residual symptoms, such as nightmares, can persist for years. Incapacitating PTSD is pretty rare.

Rule of thumb: anyone returning from Iraq can expect to have initial adjustment problems, moving from a place of hyperalertness, no room for error, and the realization of how much evil human beings are capable of, to a place where people move freely, and gas prices are considered a tragedy.

In terms of history, what the vets have seen is the normality - our comfortable lives are the temporary illusi9on.

OBloodyHell said...

You can always recognize a liberal:

They're the ones who never learned how to rub two facts together to start a clue.


Carl said...


I think the reporter mislabeled the annual number of suicides as the number per week, or confused the figure with suicide attempts. Your suggestion seems inconsistent with these sources: Ex military (and sometimes reporter and blogger) Mike Fumento (which I cited); Michelle Cottie's aside in the New Republic last summer (which I haven't previously linked to); and Bruce Kesler's 2005 analysis of a similar, earlier claim (ditto).

Cappy said...

Hey, I resemble that remark:
At least the headline!

GW said...

Good post. Linked.

Carl said...