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March 08, 2005
Think Twice

Maybe what this should really suggest to us is that, obnoxious and gratuitously insulting as Coulter's writings are to intelligent people stuck reading them, they're probably a lot worse before her legal-minded publishers get to them? Which, you know, says that, obnoxious, petty-minded, and bigoted as we find Coulter, she's actually much worse?

Via Avedon Carol who got it from Jonathan Dresner of Cliopatria fame, the perils of electronic voting. (Regardless of political affiliation, you need to care.)

You know what I object to in the whole "war room" thing? I'll give you a hint. It's nothing to do with the fact that the Administration occasionally shows some intelligence by realizing they need a strategy for something, even if the strategy is only around trying to sell a concept instead of around formulating a decent concept to sell. (Well, okay, I object to that, but the Bush Administration don't get any smarter in spite of the fact that thousands of us have spent the last four years publicly posting their failings so let's move on.)

What I really object to is the whole idea that they're waging "war" on the USofA citizenship. Metaphors are not harmless and the metaphors people use tell you a lot about them. I'm just, in the end, sick of the entire bunch of them and their perception that anything can be solved with enough bullets. I'm sick of that playground bully mentality and I'm sick of the adolescent posturing.

I know I'm not the first one to comment on the rhetoric of the Bush Administration (even outside of Shrub's tortured syntax and potentially Freudian missteps) but I think it's a wider problem than that. I think the "language of war" is common in Washington and contributes to the confrontational, partisan divide. If you're at "war" then you have to have an "enemy" and perhaps many of the testosterone-poisoned inhabitants of D.C. have a little trouble reaching across the aisle to "the enemy."

Also? I'm not qualified to comment at any length, but I think that when power becomes an end, in and of itself, government is in trouble. And that's what I see in Washington today. A culture where it's the power that matters, not the responsibility of leadership.

1500 dead soldiers doesn't sound like that high a cost for fighting a war, not to some of you. But what about when you include everyone?

Nearly 17,000 service members medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited by newspapers, according to military data reviewed by United Press International. Most don't fit the definition of casualties, according to the Pentagon, but a veterans' advocate said they should all be counted.

The Pentagon has reported 1,019 dead and 7,245 wounded from Iraq.

The military has evacuated 16,765 individual service members from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries and ailments not directly related to combat, according to the U.S. Transportation Command, which is responsible for the medical evacuations. Most are from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Y'all may not agree, but I think 17,000 evacuees says there's a lot going on we're not being told. I mean, what does the Pentagon consider "not a casualty"? If a soldier develops debilitating PTSD or some other disorder, I guess he's not a casual of battle. ("Among the mental problems were 800 soldiers who became psychotic") If someone gets suicidally depressed, I guess they aren't a casualty of battle. If someone gets food poisoning from bad field rations, I guess they aren't a casualty of battle. I do know soldiers "wounded" by equipment problems aren't considered casualties. (If your gun explodes while you're loading it, for instance, you're not a casualty. It's not that they don't love you, it's just that they have to keep the numbers down. The fact that you were in a war zone doesn't count.)

Overworked case officers, unrealistic case loads, lack of money or resources enough to do more than the bare minimum. It's about parole officers but much of these same problems exist in social work agencies across the country. Like education, this country's social programs exist more in theory than in any workable, sustainable reality. There are people in the Middle East who need to be killed, you know. No money to waste on social programs to alleviate the appalling and miserable lives that lead citizens of this country to become criminals. None at all.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:34 PM


Comments

Anne:
Part of the confusion is the military keeping a distinction between casualties eligible for the purple heart and those not. I added the definition of casualty (some folks stop at merely lost to the organization, not quite correct) although the term "seriously" is of course not well-defined (I suspect there are some metrics, but I'm not aware of them).

However, as for keeping it a secret, hardly:

(this is the one with KIA; WIA; WIA RTD - so it doesn't have the "seriously ill" numbers - hence, it shows 12K or so.

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

This is only for Army folks, but is the more comprehensive listing, including NBI and the 3 top sources (to include a glossary which breaks down components - for example, psychiatric between suicidal, depressed; adjustment issues). As usual, it's "diseases" which cause the most issue (although at a lower rate historically than in US military history).

Consequently, Disease/Non-Battle Injury rates have been lower than any other (US) conflict ---testimony by David Chu, UnderSecretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness) to Congressional Committee last month


The Army is taking the majority of these figures, but obviously the total figure is slightly higher when adding the other services, especially the US Marine Corps.


http://www.armymedicine.army.mil/news/medevacstats/200501/oif.htm

http://www.armymedicine.army.mil/news/medevacstats/200501/oef.htm


Another site - especially if you want to breakdown figures by states

http://web1.whs.osd.mil/mmid/casualty/castop.htm

Casualty. Any person who is lost to the organization by reasons of having been declared dead, missing, captured, interned, wounded, injured, or seriously ill.


The point - the figures are there for those that want to do a little research, compare to historical figures, and make some informed analytical conclusions as opposed to grasping onto one or two statistics to support a pre-determined or desired position.

Posted by: Col Steve at March 8, 2005 11:00 PM

Col Steve:

Thanks for the information. (It may "be there" but it's harder to find than you understand, for those of us not familiar with the DoD/Pentagon websites.

Thanks also for the explanations.

I haven't had a chance to read comprehensively on these sites yet, but I have them bookmarked for this weekend.

Posted by: Anne at March 10, 2005 01:19 PM