Saturday, April 08, 2006

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"So in the MSM, the liberals' false leaks are noble, while the administration's declassification of the report that shows them to be false, in response, is a scandal!"
Wretchard's take on the latest casualty picture and Baghdad's burning newstands: "... not the hunter but the hare."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

On Idiotarian Innumeracy

UPDATE AND BUMP: Dean Esmay has his take on the phases of the Iraq war and the myth that casualties are "trending massively upward". And I have an update in the works on a more detailed breakdown of death rates that's looking VERY eeenteresting...

In "On Connecting Ugly Virgins and Innumeracy" last September, I pointed out what simpletons everyone is for letting the EneMedia brainwash us about how "disastrous" and "unsustainable" our casualties in Iraq are when the reality is that the total Military deaths we are now incurring including Iraq and Afghanistan is at worst roughly twice that of just operating a Military at all ... in peacetime!

I pointed out that it's frankly stunning that we are doing this well given the bloodthirsty nutcases we are tangling with.

I also pointed out that just having a Military at all is a dangerous thing for the soldiers. Well, while that may be true in the worst war scenarios, it turns out that I (brace yourself) was wrong about the the risk level of being in the military!

I was swallowing more EneMedia bile without researching it. Shame on me. So let's do some slicing and dicing and see what the REAL NUMBERS say.

What recently got my attention was Robin Burke's dissing of Proud Kaffir's attempt at a deconstruction of EneMedia despair mongering that included this chart:

Image hosting by TinyPic

Robin takes P.F. to the woodshed for not taking into account the declining size of the military.

I looked at this rather differently than Robin though. I looked at it with a big AHA about my own laziness last fall for not taking things to the level of this chart -- and beyond. So let's go where nobody seems to have gotten out their spreadsheets to go until now.

First, notice that it does nearly exactly illustrate my point about the war currently running at 2X of peacetime military casualties.

But what if we looked at per capita death rates in the context of the "big picture"? What's the big picture? Why that would be the death rates for the entire U.S. populace of course.

And what would they be?

Let's look at this "enhanced" version of the WoC chart:
Click for larger version

I'll let you scrape your jaw up off the floor before I continue ... ... ... ... ...

That's right, the short answer is that even with the war on, it's actually SUBSTANTIALLY safer on an age adjusted basis to be in the U.S. Military than in the civilian population! And even if the entire military consisted of those aged 15 - 24 (the age group with the lowest mortality rate [mostly] eligible for service), being in the military would raise your yearly risk of death by at most 22%: from 0.09% to 0.11%!

That's rounding error around one-tenth of one percent!

And even if all military combat deaths occurred in Iraq -- which they don't of course -- and we counted the death rate against only the military population actually in Iraq we would be talking about roughly 0.5 deaths per 100 soldiers located in Iraq per year at current force levels. (Which is lower than than the death rate for the U.S. population as a whole -- but that's an unfair comparison as I note in the sources section below.)

And here's the real belly laugh: With no war in progress just before 9/11, the entire military -- including the oldsters who die off faster(!) -- suffered a death rate just 56% of the overall U.S. population's 15-24 age group!

So if the left actually cared about saving lives instead of crying crocodile tears, they would actually be herding young people into the military in droves -- war or no war.

And while every death matters, the overall death toll from the WoT is amazingly small when put in perspective of previous wars.

US War Dead at Big Lizards

And how about our "betters" in the EneMedia giving us this incredibly innumerate story line as if it were Gospel, huh? Great? Gullible?

Or Goebbels-like?

You decide.

CDC Death Rates
Military Age Distribution (page 24)
(Oh, and by the way the death rate for the entire U.S. population in 2003 was 832.7 per 100K -- WAY higher than anything I'm using here. If I was playing fast and loose I would have tried to foist that on you. I'm not.)
Another inspiration: Wretchard's Damned Lies and Statistics of course.

UPDATE: Added a link to a larger version of the spreadsheet. And para 15 should start with "And even if all military combat deaths occurred in Iraq" of course and has been corrected.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Brother Michael says to pray we are Prey.
"Still, for all the bungling in the dark the FBI has nothing to fear, not from a complicit Bush administration, not from a prostrate Congress, not from a bamboozled public. An e-mail sent to Agent Harry Samit on September 10, 2001 from a CIA Counterterrorism Center official identified only as "Cathy" points the way: "God help us all if the next terrorist attacks involves this same type of plane.""
"HARRY: And who doesn't, Nancy? Every Monday night at 9 on Fox, we see how a strong spy force is vital for protecting America from suprise biological attacks by conniving White House insiders. That's why I have directed former ambassador Joseph Wilson to form a new super top secret spy agency, to monitor communications between terrorist groups and Dick Cheney."
"The real question is, will Gen. Abizaid and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld do theirs?"