Monday, January 14, 2008

New York Times Supports the Anti-Troops

Yesterday, Curt blogged on Sunday's NYTimes piece, Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles, written by Deborah Sontag and Lizette Alvarez:

Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: “Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.” Pierre, S.D.: “Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.” Colorado Springs: “Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.”

Individually, these are stories of local crimes, gut-wrenching postscripts to the war for the military men, their victims and their communities. Taken together, they paint the patchwork picture of a quiet phenomenon, tracing a cross-country trail of death and heartbreak.

The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment - along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems - appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.

Curt, like others, were suspicious of the statistical comparison, as well as the anti-war/anti-military bias inherent in such a piece, which is reminiscent of how Vietnam vets have been slandered with many myths- promulgated by Hollywood movies- about the majority of them coming home broken and deranged.

This morning, CJ emailed a rebuttal from Move America Forward. The following is an excerpt:

The Times documentation of 121 potential killings out of more than 1.5 million veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), divided by 6 years of conflict results in a murder rate of just 1.34 incidents per 100,000 veterans per year.***

That murder rate is far lower than the murder rate for the general population, demonstrating that the experiences of military service – including having served in Iraq and Afghanistan – actually made it less likely for returning veterans to commit murder once they returned home, than the general population.

Given a census-estimated population of the United States of 300,000,000 persons in this country as of October 2006, and FBI-compiled statistics of 17,399 homicide offenders for 2006, the murder rate of the general population was 5.80 offenders per 100,000 on average – and a rate of approximately 7.67 per 100,000 for men.

Since all but one of the veterans cited by the Times who committed a killing in the U.S. was male, the comparable rate is approximately 7.67 incidents of murder per 100,000 people among the general male population, compared to just 1.34 incidents per 100,000 returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans (of both genders).

I won't say that the NYTimes article was done with a conscious effort in mind to express anti-military and anti-war sentiments; but I do think the desire to report such a story, and to see the statistics uncritically examined in the manner in which they did, does show a subconscious liberal bias. It may not be absolutely anti-war/anti-military, but it is pro-actively a liberal mindset, akin to how these journalists want to perceive America has a gun epidemic everytime a Virginia Tech mass murder happens. Statistically, such gun-related mass murders, when one tallies up the numbers, is a rarity. And when these school-shootings and mass murders occur, it is such a shock, precisely because they are an aberration, and not the norm.

Of further note:
George Soros funding of Lancet Study:
Flopping Aces- Another Debunking of the Lancet Study
Mike's America- Bush-hating Billionaire Behind Big Lie in Anti-War Left
Rovin's World- George Soros Behind Funding of Lancet Study

*UPDATE* 01/18/08 12:00 Curt has a new post, with a link to Confederate Yankee.

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Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

hiya Word..u say I won't say that the NYTimes article was done with a conscious effort in mind to express anti-military and anti-war sentiments;...well I will!

Monday, January 14, 2008 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Wordsmith, you are far too nice, but then, you're a nice guy. I personally don't cut the NYT's that much slack. I don't believe it was an unconcious effort at all, but then where the NYT's is concerned I'm always suspicious. That's probably because they have proven themselves to be highly suspect.

My husband was in Vietnam. He was a Warrant Officer and didn't have a nice, cozy little office job such as most Jag Officers do. He was out there with his troops and his life came close to being over on more than one occasion. The only trauma he suffered when he came home was the fact that for the first year he felt naked without his rifle.

Being a career Army man's wife, I knew many soldiers who returned from Vietnam. I only personally knew one who suffered trauma. If the truth be told, the man was a died-in-the-wool liberal and a nutjob long before he went to Vietnam. I'm certain Vietnam didn't help his condition at all, but I'm also certain that whether he had gone to war or not, he would have still deteriorated to the point where he threatened physical harm to his wife and - the last we heard - was running from the law. Neither did he voluntarily join. He was drafted.

Hard times will either make or break a man... or a woman. People who are solidly grounded in values will not break. Those who aren't have less of a chance of surviving with a full deck. At least, for whatever it's worth, that's my opinion and I'm stickin' to it. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008 1:50:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Yeah, I wrote about Soros and the Lancet report a day or so ago, I was so disgusted. I knew those numbers were wrong and was ready for the evidence.

Like your other thoughtful commenters, I, too, will flat out say with no hesitation that it was a totally intentional ant-military hit piece. Rick Levanthal on Fox News today is taking it apart, too. Also, not included in the figures are the number of auto accidents resulting in the death toll.

My husband is a Vietnam vet, too. As much as the fools out there like the NYT insist on making the Iraq War into Vietnam, it does nothing but insult those vets of that conflict. And, it really pisses them off!

Monday, January 14, 2008 2:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Pamela Reece said...

Sparky, I agree with Gayle since I despise the NYT. Their reporting is beyond unscrupulous and stretching the truth is an understatement. However, it seems all of the media has moved into the mathematical arena. They will do this in order to prove or disprove a point. It doesn't even seem to matter if it's factual anymore. If you read the comment a man wrote on my post regarding the recent deaths of 20 American Bald Eagles. He boils it down to percentages and it changes nothing about the facts.

Do the media folks really believe we are that dumbed-down that we can't just see it for what it is anymore by playing my new term "the math-card"? Great post!

Monday, January 14, 2008 5:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

"I won't say that the NYTimes article was done with a conscious effort in mind to express anti-military and anti-war sentiments"

Like Angel, I will say it too.

Come on Wordsmith! These people will say or do ANYTHING to undermine this nation's resolve. And if it means smearing the troops, they will do it in a New York Times Minute.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 9:36:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Jesus's like I'm being flooded by partisan right-wingers! Where the hell are they all coming from?!

Ralph Peters in the New York Post:

January 15, 2008 -- THE New York Times is trashing our troops again. With no new "atrocities" to report from Iraq for many a month, the limping Gray Lady turned to the home front. Front and center, above the fold, on the front page of Sunday's Times, the week's feature story sought to convince Americans that combat experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are turning troops into murderers when they come home.

Heart-wringing tales of madness and murder not only made the front page, but filled two entire centerfold pages and spilled onto a fourth.

The Times did get one basic fact right: Returning vets committed or are charged with 121 murders in the United States since our current wars began.

Had the Times' "journalists" and editors bothered to put those figures in context - which they carefully avoided doing - they would've found that the murder rate that leaves them so aghast means that our vets are five times less likely to commit a murder than their demographic peers.

The Times' public editor, Clark Hoyt, should crunch the numbers. I'm even willing to spot the Times a few percentage points (either way). But the hard statistics from the Justice Department tell a far different tale from the Times' anti-military propaganda.

A very conservative estimate of how many different service members have passed through Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait since 2003 is 350,000 (and no, that's not double-counting those with repeated tours of duty).

Now consider the Justice Department's numbers for murders committed by all Americans aged 18 to 34 - the key group for our men and women in uniform. To match the homicide rate of their peers, our troops would've had to come home and commit about 150 murders a year, for a total of 700 to 750 murders between 2003 and the end of 2007.

In other words, the Times unwittingly makes the case that military service reduces the likelihood of a young man or woman committing a murder by 80 percent.

Yes, the young Americans who join our military are (by self- selection) superior by far to the average stay-at-home. Still, these numbers are pretty impressive, when you consider that we're speaking of men and women trained in the tools of war, who've endured the acute stresses of fighting insurgencies and who are physically robust (rather unlike the stick-limbed weanies the Times prefers).

All in all, the Times' own data proves my long-time contention that we have the best behaved and most ethical military in history.

Now, since the folks at the Times are terribly busy and awfully important, let's make it easy for them to do the research themselves (you can do it, too - in five minutes).

Just Google "USA Murder Statistics." The top site to appear will be the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics. Click on it, then go to "Demographic Trends." Click on "Age." For hard numbers on the key demographics, click on the colored graphs.

Run the numbers yourself, based upon the demographic percentages of murders per every 100,000 people. Then look at the actual murder counts.

Know what else you'll learn? In 2005 alone, 8,718 young Americans from the same age group were murdered in this country. That's well over twice as many as the number of troops killed in all our foreign missions since 2001. Maybe military service not only prevents you from committing crimes, but also keeps you alive?

Want more numbers? In the District of Columbia, our nation's capital, the murder rate for the 18-34 group was about 14 times higher than the rate of murders allegedly committed by returning vets.

And that actually understates the District's problem, since many DC-related murders spill across into Prince George's County (another Democratic Party stronghold).

In DC, an 18-34 population half the size of the total number of troops who've served in our wars overseas committed the lion's share of 992 murders between 2003 and 2007 - the years mourned by the Times as proving that our veterans are psychotic killers.

Aren't editors supposed to ask tough questions on feature stories? Are the Times' editors so determined to undermine the public's support for our troops that they'll violate the most-basic rules of journalism, such as putting numbers in context?

Answer that one for yourself.

Of course, all of this is part of the disgraceful left-wing campaign to pretend sympathy with soldiers - the Times column gushes crocodile tears - while portraying our troops as clichéd maniacs from the Oliver Stone fantasies that got lefties so self-righteously excited 20 years ago (See? We were right to dodge the draft . . .).

And it's not going to stop. Given the stakes in an election year, the duplicity will only intensify.

For an upcoming treat, we'll get the film "Stop-Loss," starring, as always, young punks who never served in uniform as soldiers. This left-wing diatribe argues that truly courageous troops would refuse to return to Iraq - at a time when soldiers and Marines continue to re-enlist at record rates, expecting to plunge back into the fight.

Those on the left will never accept that the finest young Americans are those who risk their lives defending freedom. Sen. John Kerry summed up the views of the left perfectly when he disparaged our troops as too stupid to do anything but sling hamburgers.

And The New York Times will never forgive our men and women in uniform for their infuriating successes in Iraq.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 9:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

"I won't say that the NYTimes article was done with a conscious effort in mind to express anti-military and anti-war sentiments; but I do think the desire to report such a story, and to see the statistics uncritically examined in the manner in which they did, does show a subconscious liberal bias."

Considering the number of stories they've done that intentionally undermined the ongoing military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would hardly say this latest smear effort was unintentional.

As Ann Coulter put it, "Thanks to the New York Times, the easiest job in the world right now is 'Head of Counter-intelligence-al Qaida."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 5:50:00 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I'll do it for you: the Times DID create a story solely for the purpose of discrediting the military and its dedicated soldiers and sailors. It's their M.O.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008 7:29:00 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

The New York Slimes is NEVER going to stop slandering the Troops and getting statistics and opinions and pictures wrong.

Like I could make the arguement that more people died from the flu last year than all the years we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan combined!

More people were killed in drive by shootings last year than have died in Iraq.

You know what I mean.

Great post Word.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I disagree with my "amen choir", here. No one has to preach to me about the bias of the NYTimes. I have books that cite specific evidence to it, starting with Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and his anti-war rhetoric (and I see the bias, daily).

But unless you can point out to me a history of INTENTIONAL, CONSCIOUS efforts on the part of the two writers of this specific article, what I see is a woeful lack of self-awareness and subconscious bias on their part. Not a desire to INTENTIONALLY harm the military.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Tapline said...

Word, excellent post as usual. Opinions are like ----everyone has one. It could be the authors of the article are lazy and it could be they are trashing the troops or somewhere in between. Point being it was uninspiring and misleading. nuf said. stay well......

Thursday, January 17, 2008 7:52:00 PM  

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