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Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

By       Message Christopher Wright     Permalink

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One of the most maddening things is trying to get a straight answer out of any place in government and/or corporate America. With spins, mis-statements, conflicting pronouncements, plausible deniability, incoherent legal babble, polls, unnecessarily vague and obtuse congressional bills (and local cell phone bills) the few heroes of our times are those brave reporters who ‘accidentally’ leave the microphones on and/or release of secret tapes from FBI stings. We are living in the times of diversions.
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When the focus in government is on foreign events, it is often due to problems at home that nobody wants us to coalesce around. Sometimes it is about one country so we won’t notice what is going on in another (Iran/Iraq), or on the vapid words of a 2 year primary campaign when there are multiple and major monetary crises threatening our very lifestyles.
 
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Other times it is the blame game. When the U.S. is accused of being the leading blockage to environmental improvements, we point to China and others as doing worse, or the lack of political progress in (pick one: Iraq, Palestine, N. Korea, Venezuela) is because those leaders are (pick one: delusional, stubborn, crazy, irresponsible, socialist, double-agents, religious fanatics).
Our special ops forays into foreign lands are freedom fighters, theirs are terrorists. Our lies are for the public good and theirs are for corruption & propaganda.
We spy on our own people for homeland security while they do it because they are a totalitarian regime.
 
Our voting process is fair and open, theirs is contrived and controlled. We have more people in prison because we are a law and order society and they have theirs because they are repressive dictatorships. Our homeless are alcoholics, drug addicts and scammers while theirs are refugees and/or the result of ethnic cleansing.
 
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We have long waits for limited health care because our system is so good and they have them because theirs is so bad. Our healthcare system is so expensive because it is so good while many of our systems send patients to India because it is so cheap.
 
Last but not least, the surge is working, American deaths are down, compared to 2007 is the deadliest year in Iraq for the U.S. – 2007 being the year of the surge since January. Baghdad is now a safe and open city but war correspondents complain that they can’t go into 60% of the city because it is so dangerous.
 
Oh, yes, let’s not forget – the war costs $804 billion, or $1.6 trillion, or $3.5 trillion and is being fought for (pick one: spreading democracy, freeing people from tyranny and torture, oil, peace, Halliburton, religious freedom, Armageddon, payback for Daddy’s assignation attempt, votes, distraction, legacy)?
 
I could add this one, is the war is being financed by (pick one: national debt, loans from Social Security; Taxes, loans from China, our children, Iraqi oil, donations, Taxpayers, loans from HUD)?
 
Discouragingly, it is getting so the traditional back-up political tactics of stonewalling, refusing to obey subpoenas, and outright lies are refreshing reminders of clarity and the good old days.
ConditionU.S. GovOther SourceDiscussion
Fatalities3,976

Wounded38,164

Suicide1306,256Active and retired military personnel, mostly young veterans between the ages of 20 to 24, are returning from combat and killing themselves in record numbers.(1) 6256 in 2005 alone – that is but 1 of 4 years so far!
Non-Hostile Wounded/Deaths387530,299(as of Oct. 1) military victims of accidents and illness that caused death or were serious enough to require medical evacuation (2)
Wounded?
20,000At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records. (3) Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, said more than 150,000 troops might have received head injuries in combat. He said, "I am wary that the number of brain-injured troops far exceeds the total number reported injured" (Zoroya, USA Today, 11/23).

(3) http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2007-11-22-braininjuries_N.htm

Which makes the total Casualties (Dead, Wounded, Injured) at a minimum of 98,675


While looking through these sad numbers, I came across the total number of U.S. troops that have served in Iraq. We are regularly told about the 157,000 that were there before the Surge of an additional 30, 000 but those are but a single-frame picture in time.

Can you guess the actual number of troops who have been there? And then think about the potential numbers of PTSD and brain trauma that have not surfaced yet. The real number is 1.5 million! http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2007-11-22-braininjuries_N.htm (Bottom)

Numbers are harder to find on PTSD as it can take a while to become noticeable and only about half the returning vets are checked for PTSD according to the VA. Many don’t report PTSD symptoms to the VA or the military and self-medicate or seek other non-official veterans services. The best guess at the moment is that about 18% of returning combat vets will experience PTSD but each year of the war, the estimate has risen 3%. If 1.5 million troops were in the Iraqi theatre, then the 18% would come out to another potential 270,0000 wounded veteran citizens.

 

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Christopher is a retired Mayflower family, Navy Vet, flower child, Mensan and a long-time rural Alaskan with a lifetime or two in Social Sciences and cross-cultural endeavors. He has a terminal graduate degree and is heading into his terminal years (more...)
 

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