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January 14, 2008

The Times Supports Our Brave, Wacky, Murdering Troops!

Kerry windsurfing.jpgSacre Bleu! The good work of the windsurfing Junior Senator from Massachusetts - it never ends! Tireless in their efforts to support our childlike, murdering troops, the folks at the NY Times are doing their level best to thank the military by convincing us they are deranged, psychotic killers. In this, the Times follows the sterling example of one John Foregainst Kerry, who returned from serving fewer than 4 months of a one-year combat tour to testify before the United States Senate (of which he would later become a member) to having witnessed:

...war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command...

Nasty partisan hacks were later to point out that, had Lt. Kerry actually seen such war crimes being committed "on a day to day basis", it would have been his duty as a commanding officer to do something about them. Yet amazingly, of the hundreds of thousands of men who fought in VietNam, only one - John Kerry - had the amazing courage to commit these crimes and then - from the relative safety of the Senate floor - blacken the names of his comrades in arms ... wisely without ever incriminating himself.

Three decades down the road the Editorial Staff is pleased to learn via Glenn Reynolds the Times has taken up Mr. Kerry's lonely struggle to get our crazed vets incarcerated the psychiatric help they so desperately need. And yet still there are unbelievers who dare to question the narrative!

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.

And we're presented with a litany of tragedy.

But as usual, I keep asking the simple question - well, what does it mean? How do these 121 murderers compare with the base rate of murderers in the population?

And the answer appears to be damn well.

The only reference I could find for the number of troops who have served in combat areas was at GlobalSecurity.com, citing a Salon article:

Three and a half years have passed since U.S. bombs started falling in Afghanistan, and ever since then, the U.S. military has been engaged in combat overseas. What most Americans are probably unaware of, however, is just how many American soldiers have been deployed. Well over 1 million U.S. troops have fought in the wars since Sept. 11, 2001, according to Pentagon data released to Salon. As of Jan. 31, 2005, the exact figure was 1,048,884, approximately one-third the number of troops ever stationed in or around Vietnam during 15 years of that conflict.

From the October 1, 2001 start of the Afghanistan war, that's about 26,000 troops/month. To date (Jan 2008) that would give about 1.99 million.

That means that the NY Times 121 murders represent about a 7.08/100,000 rate.

Now the numbers on deployed troops are probably high - fewer troops from 2001 - 2003; I'd love a better number if someone has it.

But for initial purposes, let's call the rate 10/100,000, about 40% higher than the calculated one.

Now, how does that compare with the population as a whole?

Turning to the DoJ statistics, we see that the US offender rate for homicide in the 18 - 24 yo range is 26.5/100,000.For 25 - 34, it's 13.5/100,000.

See the problem?

For those too partisan stupid to understand the Times' brilliant anecdotal statistics, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Release two million (or even a part of a million) crazed combat vets into the American population and the murder rate goes right through the roof. The evidence is incontrovertible. The editorial staff made a little chart to help the folks at home visualize the dramatic effects of releasing these dangerous predators into the peaceful civilian populace. We added the last few years to an existing chart we found online, created to illustrate an entirely different point: the correlation between dollars spent on law enforcement and the murder rate. It was based on the same DoJ base data:


As you can see, the effect is unmistakable. Our brave, murdering troops are running amok in the streets and as a consequence the homicide rate has clearly ... stayed flat.

The point of all of this is crystal clear. We have got to lock these people up before the Times does itself an injury. We rest our case.

Posted by Cassandra at January 14, 2008 04:08 AM

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"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.

Hmm, Sounds about right. Let's treat those charged with self-defense/manslaughter/homocide as guilty until proven innocent so as to bolster the numbers and prop up the view of people who serve in our military as crazed killers. Guillotine! Guillotine!

I've often suggested that one might compare and contrast, as a percentage, those convicted of violent crime in the military with civilian crime rates but that would pollute the message doncha know.

Yeah, I question their patriotism, so sue me.

Posted by: bthun at January 14, 2008 07:14 PM

Or homicide... The above typo must have been my Southern Freudian slip showing since the subject was the NYT.

Posted by: bthun at January 14, 2008 07:17 PM

Didn't they recently use that seem fallacious logic for suicide rates, implying that returning troops were driven to suicide by their experience, until you compare to the national suicide rate for young males of the same age, which revealed the vets' rate was significantly lower than normal!

Posted by: Flatlander at January 14, 2008 08:06 PM

Ah, I see you found it!

Damage is already done Cass. I could chronicle what these guys already go through to gain employment. And keep it. Not to mention the whole psychology vs psychiatry BS. Rights for inmates with no rights for those that protect and serve.

Was talking to my Uncle today about this article (2 tours Nam - Phoenix) and he almost blew a gasket. Not quite as close to how he reacted to Kerry's testimony back in the day but close. His final response?


When I pointed out that the phrase was used for the peacetime military he said, "The Country is not at war. Only the military is so it's the same deal." Heh! I love that deranged murdering old fart! He's always been pretty cool for a Doggie! :-)

Posted by: JHD at January 14, 2008 08:36 PM

I wish that I were not working so many hours this month. My blogging is likely to suck transcendently, but I don't have much time.

And yes, Flatlander. Many moons ago I wrote about that too. I think it's in my deleted posts somewhere :p

Posted by: Sense of Humor Failure at January 14, 2008 08:48 PM

I'm not that old, but I recall the good old Soldiers and Sailors, KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs in Norfolk and Hampton Roads, Va. I can still feel the love.

Wait one... Maybe I am that old. Damn!

Posted by: bthun at January 14, 2008 09:05 PM

Do you know where your bogus addy takes you if you click on it?


Posted by: BWAAAAAAA! at January 14, 2008 09:10 PM

Oh for Pete's sake. Can't even joke around any more. What in the hell is wrong with people?

Thanks for telling me. You know where that is from - that really makes me angry.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2008 09:19 PM

Bthun wrote:

"Let's treat those charged with self-defense/manslaughter/homocide as guilty until proven innocent so as to bolster the numbers and prop up the view of people who serve in our military as crazed killers. Guillotine! Guillotine!"

There've been a lot of good takes on the article, but that's one that bothered me. Their lead anecdote, presumably chosen because it's especially awful (and thus a ratings-grabber) avoids, for nine pages, the question of whether the shooting was justified. That the young man is tormented is clear; but the article states that he was set upon in an alley by two armed gang members.

Normally, one would be justified in using a firearm to defend oneself from assault in an alley by armed criminals. Even a veteran. Even one with PTSD.

But the Times doesn't find the question interesting...

...until page 9.

Where it turns out that Sepi had not only been set upon by criminals, but that he had been fired upon by them. Investigators can't say who fired first; but they are sure they fired.

"The investigation backed up Mr. Sepi’s story of self-defense, although it was never determined who fired first. It made an impression on the police that he was considerably outweighed — his 130 pounds against a 210-pound man and a 197-pound woman."

That's the kind of thing that really ought to make a difference to how the story was reported from the start.

Posted by: Grim at January 15, 2008 12:42 AM

Grim, you are NOT allowed to use common sense and logic. That is just so NRO.

I tend to avoid these discussions not because the Engineer has a whopping case of PTSD, but because
I prefer reading and seeing it all laid out.

Filleted the NYT beautifully, Cass.

Posted by: Cricket at January 15, 2008 01:00 AM

Filleted NYT..........is that anything like bad gravy on an old tire?

Posted by: Little Snark Runamuk at January 15, 2008 10:33 AM

"Filleted NYT..........is that anything like bad gravy on an old tire" I imagine that it's closer to road-kill, in the summer time, when the road crew has been on vacation for two weeks.

But then the NYT seems to take much pride and expend much effort in shrinking their audience using just such journalistic methods and with increasing frequency.

Posted by: bthun at January 15, 2008 11:26 AM

P.S. Sorry to have bothered you Grim. I find that as I age, I often bother myself!

It is as you point out in this article. But this article is hardly unique when compared to all of the other recent major media screeds concerning service members who are suspected of or charged with crimes.

How the picture is painted by the media is very disturbing, yet the circumstances of many of those charged later prove to have merited no criminal charges at all.

Slander on the front page, above the fold, retract or elaborate in the back of the paper, if at all. Hardly an honorable practice IMO.

WRT the major media and the hate America first crowd, Curmudgeon, thy name is bthun...

Posted by: bthun at January 15, 2008 11:42 AM

"You know where that is from - that really makes me angry."
Ok, where?
A board game?
Jethro Tull's Aqualung?
Abu Grabe-slap-n-tickle?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Tab Lloyd at January 15, 2008 01:31 PM

Sorry. I died last night - working late.

Long story. Let's just say you all just narrowly escaped another postfeminist rant last night. You can thank Rick James:


Posted by: Cassandra at January 15, 2008 02:13 PM

You inspired me to do my own statistical analysis! (Well, actually, the NYT did, but you were intermediary!)

I Plotted NYT errors less corrections (vertical axis) against, oh, I dunno, let's call it, um, valid pro-Iraq War arguments appearing in, ah, lessee, NYT columnist columns for the last 20 years (horizontal axis).

The results, as a scattergram, appear here:

In case you were wondering about the horizontal data, it did require I use a word-search algorithm. Yeah. That's it. Word Search Algorithm. Uh-huh. The colors represent a time-series analysis of the word occurrences. Yeah. A Time series. In color. Yep.

Anyone seeking to capitalize on my data, feel free.

Posted by: obloodyhell at January 21, 2008 10:12 AM