Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lying by Numbers

Why does Hyman hate our troops so much that he trivializes the risk to them in Iraq and the numbers of them that have been killed?

Okay, that question is a bit facetious. I don’t honestly think Hyman “hates the troops.” He just doesn’t care enough about them to tell the truth.

What other conclusion can one reach from
Hyman’s recent editorial in which he makes the absurd claim that being a commercial fisherman is more dangerous than serving in Iraq?

The key to unraveling Hyman’s deception is in following the way he changes the terms of his argument. Here’s how he starts his editorial:

Most people would agree that serving in the military and being assigned to Iraq
is perhaps the most dangerous job in America. That would seem logical. But it's

A few lines later, he explains how he comes up with the fatality numbers for Iraq:

There were 1,625,952 active duty military and mobilized reservists and National
Guardsmen on duty in 2005. The fatality rate with respect to deaths in Iraq was
52 per 100,000 last year.

See what he did? He starts off by claiming that he’s talking about the danger of “serving in the military *and* being assigned to Iraq.” But when he actually computes the numbers, he measures the number of casualties in Iraq not against the number of people “assigned to Iraq,” but to the total amount of active duty U.S. military and reservists on the planet.

What a putz.

The number Hyman ends up with (52 per 100,000) is lower than the fatality rate for four other professions: iron worker, pilot/aircrew, logger, and commercial fisherman.

But if one actually does the numbers accurately (comparing the rate of fatalities in Iraq to the number of soldiers serving in Iraq), the result for 2005 is approximately 554 per 100,000, more than 450% higher than the second most dangerous profession of commercial fisherman (118.4 per 100,000)

If I were serving in Iraq, a veteran of Iraq, or a family member of anyone serving there, I would be unbelievably pissed at Hyman for trivializing the risk involved in serving there. Heck, just as an American and someone who knows a few people who have served in Iraq, I’m pissed.

For that matter, so should anyone who cares about the truth.

But Hyman’s contempt for the truth goes even further. He ends his commentary with the following cutesy lines:

A frequent comment among service members is to retire from the military, buy a
boat and fish for the remaining days. Who would have thought that fishing as a
profession would be more than twice as dangerous than fighting the Global War on
Terror? Every single workplace fatality is sad and unfortunate whether it comes
from defeating terrorists or hauling in yellow fin tuna.

Ha, ha, ha! Get it? What a gifted sense of the ironic our Mark has! A retired soldier is actually *more* likely to be killed fishing (at least, commercial fishing, which isn’t what most retired soldiers dream of doing, but never mind) than serving in Iraq!

Beyond the fact that the assertion is absolute rubbish, notice the other way in which Hyman plays fast and loose with the truth: saying that serving in Iraq is “fighting the Global War on Terror.”

As we now know all too well, Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda before we invaded it, and to the extent it’s part of the war on terror now, it’s only because we’ve made it a haven for terrorists, a place where they can mix business (learning how to better kill Americans) with pleasure (actually killing Americans).

Yes Mark, every workplace fatality is sad and unfortunate, but some are more sad and unfortunate than others. In fact, some are not “unfortunate” at all, but the direct result of bad decisions. And some of these are more tragic yet because they are deaths that have occurred for no purpose whatsoever.

Sure, it’s unfortunate when a tuna fisherman is swept overboard and dies, but at least he was involved in a job that provided food for the world and which had a reasonable expectation of success.

But the soldier who dies in the name of “fighting terror” in Iraq isn’t like a tuna fisherman swept out to sea. He’s more like someone who is told to row out into the Dead Sea in the middle of a raging storm in an inflatable dinghy and fish for Killer Whales: he’s being sent to the wrong place with the wrong equipment on the wrong mission in impossible conditions by people who clearly don’t know what they’re doing.

When that fisherman drowns, carrying out the absurd orders of imbeciles he’s obliged to follow, it’s not “unfortunate.” It’s a tragic and criminal waste, one that is far too horrific to be trivialized by a nimrod with 120 seconds to fill on his commentary segment.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.23


At 9:25 PM, Blogger Zeno said...

Chronic liars like Hyman are always willing to twist numerical data completely out of shape in trying to advance their political agendas. Melanie Morgan of KSFO did a similarly dishonest job of fudging the numbers when she said we are winning in Iraq because U.S. fatalities were falling every month. She published this claim when she knew it had to be untrue, truncating the month of August to make the number work temporarily.

They're shameless.

Details here.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hyman hates the troops, hates the military, hates the U.S., hates common sense.

Because he cannot acknowledge the great risk and harm that attends those serving in the military, he cannot, or refuses to, acknowledge their service to American. What an *******.

Ted, I applaud your use of the word "putz" to describe him. But you are much too generous.

Hyman is simply reprehensible.

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I nominate this effort by hyman as one of his all-time worst.

Can we fashion some kind of nazi/totalitarian statue and send it to him?

He is awful.

I wish veterans groups would get on his ***.


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