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November 14, 2007

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Sara

Fox is reporting on a Government Report that states:

More Military Deaths in Some Years of Peace Than War

The gist is:

More active members of the military died during two years of peacetime in the early 1980s than died during a two-year period of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a government report.

The Congressional Research Service, which compiled war casualty statistics from the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts, reported that 4,699 members of the U.S. military died in 1981 and ‘82 — a period when the U.S. had only limited troop deployments to conflicts in the Mideast. That number of deaths is nearly 900 more than the 3,800 deaths during 2005 and ‘06, when the U.S. was fully committed to large-scale military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

...

“Getting killed on the battlefield is one way that people in the military wind up dying, but it’s not the main way.”

According to the raw figures, of the 2,380 members of the military who died during active duty in 1981, 1,524 were killed in accidents, 145 by homicide, 457 by illness and 241 from self-inflicted wounds. That compares with the 1,942 killed in 2005; of that number, 632 died from accidents, 739 from hostile action, 49 from homicide, 281 from illness, 150 from self-inflicted wounds and 72 whose causes of death were still pending. Eleven deaths in ’81 and 19 deaths in ’05 were classified as “undetermined.”

You can read the full report HERE.

MikeS

Does this mean our soldiers are in more danger when they return to the U.S. than while they are in Iraq?

PKU

No, it means air force has fewer combat deaths and a higher standard of living. Weren't all the CIA Directors under Bush x air force like Plame's dad?

Rick Ballard

"Does this mean our soldiers are in more danger when they return to the U.S. than while they are in Iraq?"

Not exactly. The 'universe' of male veterans aged 20-24 is significantly different than the 'universe' of of male veterans aged 20-24 who have served in a combat zone which is significantly different than the 'universe' of of male veterans aged 20-24 who have seen combat.

As you narrow the universe, very small changes in the actual numbers may cause very wide percentage fluctuations. For example, this CDC report contains the following:

Significant upward departures from modeled trends in 2004 were identified in total suicide rates for three of the six sex-age groups: females aged 10--14 years and 15--19 years and males aged 15--19 years (Table). The largest percentage increase in rates from 2003 to 2004 was among females aged 10--14 years (75.9%), followed by females aged 15--19 years (32.3%) and males aged 15--19 years (9.0%). In absolute numbers, from 2003 to 2004, suicides increased from 56 to 94 among females aged 10--14 years, from 265 to 355 among females aged 15--19 years, and from 1,222 to 1,345 among males aged 15--19 years.

The 10-14 female cohort and the 15-19 cohort are roughly the same size (and roughly the size of the male 20-24 cohort). Without the absolute number of suicides within the cohort and within the separate 'universes' identified there is no way to make a valid claim of "significance" which would carry much weight.

Aside from the weight of its progaganda value, of course.

bgates

It's interesting data that's been out there, but overlooked, for a long time. I was citing the Defense Manpower Data Center in arguments with people in 2004.

They list active duty fatalities going back to 1980. If you assume that 2007 and 2008 have the same number of deaths as 2006, and assume 1980 was an average year for the Carter presidency, you get this ranking:
Deaths per 4 year term
1) Carter, 9568
2) Reagan, 8601
3) W Bush, 6254
4) HW Bush, 6223
5) Clinton, 3750

Other fun stats - the only Nobel Laureate on that list presided over an active duty military 2,159,630 strong; the current warmonger in chief has never had more than 1,732,632.

Back on topic, has the CBS story been updated since your post? They're now claiming a 2005 veteran suicide rate of 31.5 to 35.3 per 100,000 for men and 11.1 to 12.3 per 100,000 for women, for an overall rate of...
18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000.
Which as far as I can work out means 63% of veterans are female.

Sue

I'm not sure it matters whether the CBS article is correct or not. One troop committing suicide is one too many. Well, for that matter, one suicide by any one is one too many. But since we have asked so much of our troops, shouldn't we give so much back to them? What is the major reason for suicide? Do they have easy access to professional help? Are combat vets more likely than non-combat vets to commit suicide? If so, should we monitor their mental health more closely when they come home?

I just find it sad that someone finds death as the only answer.

Uro

Myanmar bending, U.N. is told. Bender. Mrs. Bender. Pin hero and Su Su Noway.

Suicide is a mistake because it's all over when you die. Nothing there. So, if you kill yourself you've escaped the damning, but there is nothing there. Of course, there are situations when sacrificing oneself for the good of all mankind is okay, if it's someone like ***** all mankind honors the sacrifice for us, really.

When humans die en masse, the general explanation is we have, in effect, ceased to be humans, so it's not that bad. Humans have gone insane: hearing and seeing(dreaming).

Rick Ballard

Sue,

In 2004 the entire cohort of males aged 20-24 numbered 10,784,000 with 2,251 suicides. The total cohort of males aged 20-24 who became veterans between 2003 and 2005 does not exceed 650,000 (by definition a veteran has completed his enlistment - accessions is used as a surrogate number because there was just a tiny increase in the number of personnel authorized in '04-05). The expected number of suicides for the veterans in the age cohort is 136 and the worst case suggested implies a total of 229, for a difference of 94 individuals out of 650,000. (I believe the "real" increase number is probably closer to 60.)

I agree with you about the tragedy of suicide but I'm uncertain as to what the government could do to find the 'cause' and effect a 'cure'. Especially when I consider all those teen suicides, the vast majority of which occur in homes with at least a parent around.

Sue

Me either. But instead of funding a bridge to nowhere, spend it on the military. Provide them with the best of everything medicine has to offer, including psychiatry, and then at least we'll know we gave as much to them as they gave to us.

Ralph L

In 2002, four recently returned soldiers at Fort Bragg committed suicide, 2 of them murdering their wives first, IIRC (it certainly wasn't afterwards). Law & Order tried to blame it on vaccines, but I suspect some copy-catting occurred. Certainly combat causes a lot of stress, and separation from the unit, also. There's a weird, anti-Kerry psychology that makes wounded men do almost anything to rejoin their units in the field.

JJ

Ah, come on. I think TM points out correctly that this is journalistic suicide by statistical analysis.

The shame of it all is that they would stoop to using suicide to once again prove that life is just hell because of only Iraq.

They can report on these the saddest numbers all they wish, but to couch it in any way as a byproduct of this particular war (as opposed to any war or any peace, for that matter) is incredibly poor judgment.

largebill

Folks,

Not to trivialize this, but some folks are nuts including some who choose to enlist in the military. Having done 25 years in the Navy, I can tell you that while many of the people who enlist are among the best and brightest America has to offer, we also get many who join because they don't fit into society. Those same folks fail to fit into the military structure and never adjust to civilian life after getting out. Like it or not, some folks just aren't wired very well upstairs and choose to end things. No amount of money wasted making more psychiatrists richer will change that fact.

laura

Sorry I have no references on this, but a friend told me about new programs the military were putting in place to deal with combat stress. The important part was to deal with it quickly and get the men back to their units asap. For those of you who read Lone Survivor remember how important it was for Lutrell to go back so he could finish his deployment with his team. Another friend, a wife of a Seal, told me she perferred if her husband worked for a couple of weeks back stateside after an operational deployment before he took his leave because he destressed better this way. When a carrier or ship returns after deployment they have that return voyage to put everything back together. As anxious as the sailors are to get home it serves a purpose.

Uo

The bridge americans denounced Bush because they were afraid of the evil Chinese killing them in China. Clinton had a bridge to the only answer.

I don't think there is a lesbian study for teen suicides.

DHY

The government really isn't responsible. Hillary, a lesbian, prefers to de stress with a female. She does her job fine. Like the seal, he goes to work and relies on these people to help him, which really isn't fair to him or the people he works with; same with Hillary.

The 'getting the man back to his unit' thing is so no one can sue. The person can function. gettin back to the unit, getting back to work, getting in groups. These are mistakes. Hillary de stressing with more than one female is a mistake, like the one she keeps with her at work. Maybe there are others for when she's not working? It is not good for her or the people she uses to de stress.

Combat vets or lesbians, it really doesn't matter. You need to take care of yourself. the government psychiatrist doesn't work for you and, if you hire your own, they do. Suicides are much lower for those who seek there own psychitrist instead of relying on the government. The government doesn't care.

Dying is the answer. It's the only answer. So, why would you want to die? There is nothing, but non existence(the light is there so you go to it like a bug to a bug zapper and cease, just in case). Dying is the wrong answer, get real close and your gonna scream to live. I heard that fetus story is a lie!

reliapundit

GREAT JOB TEARING DOWN THE CBS STATS!

it's the job the should have done - but didn't because it fit their preexisting anti-military "anti-war" template so well.

my thought:

clinically depressed vets might not seek the help the need, or take the treatment.

are they seeking help at all?

are they able to get it at the VA?

if 30% more are committing suicide it may be that male non-vets are seeking and getting better medical help for their psychological problems.

Rick Ballard

JJ,

It would be interesting to know how many times the CBS idiot who pitched the story has watched The Deer Hunter. Dan Rather may be gone but CBS is still chock full of big meme hunters - reduced in this instance to amateur hour stat juggling.

My conclusion from the exercise is that the increase in the suicide rate among teenage girls is quite troubling. What is it that the educrats have bungled so badly that it would cause such a a thing?

DY

Let's save people!!!!!!

Airport screeners missed bomb parts (AP) - 32 min agoAP - Government investigators smuggled liquid explosives

Pet massacres carried out in Puerto Rico (AP) - 40 min agoAP - Back roads, gorges and garbage dumps...

Disabled kids abused in Serbia (AP) - 39 min agoAP - Troubled children bound tightly to fetid ...

Clinton says no to licenses for illegals (AP) - 41

hit and run

On a somewhat related note, back in May Taranto took on (scroll to "Statistical Offense") the AP on over an article about a study dealing with vets in prison. The AP churned out the headline

Study: Imprisoned Military Vets More Likely to Have Sex Crime Convictions Than Others

And the wrote the lead as

WASHINGTON — Military veterans in prison are more than twice as likely to have been convicted for sex offenses as nonveteran inmates, federal researchers say. They cannot say why.

One of the study's authors is quoted:

"I don't want people to come away from this thinking veterans are crazed sex offenders," Noonan said. "I want them to understand that veterans are less likely to be in prison in the first place."

Yeah, and I want a million bucks. But the AP isn't listening to what I want either.

The article does mention the fact that veterans are less likely to be in prison, but they chose to feature the sex offenses aspect, even though the numbers don't add up the way they think they do.

Taranto allows the possibility that the AP was just sloppy. I say he's a man of considerable charity.

MB

I got that the liquid explosives was a test, like the test for 9/11. You know, none of the equipment they use can detect liquid explosives, just solids like orange and purple. If you look for parts, it's gonna take a while. Check a laptop.

The explosive is usually the laptop battery. The parts are parts. The equipment used is an x ray and a color x ray for explosives(solid). You have to work two seperate screens on two seperate machines to see the explosives. There is a sniffer at the end, but it will probably only pick up TNT, not liquids, because they won't set it for bio terror 'cause they might find it.

Lighters are a favorite. Liquid explosive. It's wierd we had this big thing about liquids and then the FBI smuggles liqids aboard and air liner. So, there are explosive liquids and the other liquids. Other liquids were bio terror that was put into the air filter system where it bread over several hours into a lethal form that was not found until 3 days into the 7 day completely lethal event. So, like 9/11 was a test for airliners being hijacked and flown into buildings in NY, what was the FBI smuggling on board in the liquids?

Lighters.

So, it used to be the union of the company(airline) that puts through the gun, grenade, and semtex explosive laptop. So, stewardess would get mad you hand searched her shit and send a bomb through. The police aren't allowed guns. They have to get special letter from their boss to carry on board. Yes, even FBI, except the terrorist supervisor believes he can wave this. Cops get real mad when you tell them they can't carry on a plane.

The undercovers who did this broke the law. The airline company union didn't aanhorizee FBI to carry lethal liquid explosives on their planes 'cause we all know why the cop needs a letter from his boss cause sometimes even the real good police man guy goes nuts.

So, liquids got on board. Just explosives, no bio terror.

RT

Google is doing bullet points again, didn't someone in the US govt media conspiracy request this?


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Eric

Suicide rates in the military have had the military's attention far in advance of 9/11 and Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems early in my career (which started in 1982) we were told that the suicide rates in the military were somewhat higher than the general population.

However, what really seemed to get the flag (generals and admirals) officers' attention was the suicide of Admiral Jeremy Boorda, Chief of Naval Operations, in 1996. After that the services really bore down on various studies of suicide, trying to come up with indicators that might clue supervisors and unit members into someone considering suicide. We got special mandatory briefings on this, and little cards to carry around with the various indicators and sources of help, e.g. phone numbers for the chaplains, psychologists, etc. I really don't think any of this had any impact on the suicide rate, though.

So to measure any effect of the wars on suicide rate of the military, you not only have to properly consider and compare the populations as noted above, but you also need a good estimate as to what the suicide rate would have been without the war -- and there's a good chance it would have been somewhat higher than a comparable civilian population anyway, which would decrease the significance of a the higher rates reported during the present conflicts.

In any case, it is clear that the starting point for the media is to characterize anything to do with Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror in general as negative, so you have to factor this out of the new story to have any hope of finding out what's really going on.

Rick Ballard

Vote Jmax six more times and Jessica will be over the line - first!

kim

Here's mass suicide, unintended, predictable. Let us pray it is not the Will of Allah.

Several years ago there was discussion of several places on earth where natural disasters recur predictably, disastrously. One is the Ganges Delta, where people populate low lying land because it is arable, despite prohibition, and predictably die en masse in big cyclones. Another is Africa on the southern edge of the Sahara which alternately dries and moistens, causing starvation, and, apparently, genocides. Someone else mentioned the floods in China.

What to do? What to do? I imagine the Navy is already moving east from the Persian Gulf on to the Indian Ocean.

Howrah, oh Howrah.
===================

Other Tom

The Fox News stats are interesting, but as someone pointed out these data, or comparable data, have been in the public domain for a long time.

In 1986 Clinton's SecDef, William Cohen, published a letter celbrating the fact that the death rate among active duty military personnel had declined considerably in that year. The letter alluded to the death rate for the 13-year period 1973-85 (as I recall), which was something on the order of 1,200 per year. (Again, this is from memory. When I first heard of this a couple of years ago I was able to find the letter on Google, but have been unable to do so more recently.)

In any event, it was striking that the annual number of non-combat deats during this period was not materially different from the combat deaths during the current Iraq war. But I never saw this discussed anywhere.

Clarice

OT, I remember that, too, and told Steve Gilbert when he wrote about it last week. IIRC it was because the military had done such a good job on accident prevention and emergency battlefield medical treatment. People who study it have long noted that battlefield medicine has taught the profession a great deal of benefit to all of our health care.

kim

Helicopter transport of the injured in Vietnam stimulated it here at home.
==================================

alkali

Bill Sweetman at Aviation Week provides the analysis CBS News forgot, which hinges on the fact that men are more suicide-prone than women ...

I'm not sure what the basis is for the claim that CBS News and their biostatistician "forgot" that fact. They have a page which breaks out the results for male and female vets:

Rathbun [the biostatistician] adjusted the rates of suicide for age, gender and any potential error in the gathering of the raw data by the states. The results reflect that potential margin of error by showing a range in the rates of suicide among veterans. ...

Results for 2005
Overall Rates
Veterans: 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000
Non-Veterans: 8.9 per 100,000

Male Rates
Veterans: 31.5 to 35.3 per 100,000
Non-Veterans: 17.6 per 100,000

Female Rates
Veterans: 11.1 to 12.3 per 100,000
Non-Veterans: 4.5 per 100,000

Obviously I can't vouch for their numbers but it doesn't seem correct to say that they "forgot" or otherwise ignored the issue.

skyler

I can't believe so many people are so prideful they just mindlessly condemn CBS without even bothering to read it. It now says TWICE on the CBS methodology page that this is data adjusted for age and gender, among other things. It also adds that they aren't stupid enough to compare the veteran populations with the entire population, as you baselessly assert, but rather non-vets.

Rick Ballard

It could say it TWENTY times, Skyler, and it would still be phony as a $3 bill. Here is the WISQARS site which allows for very accurate extrapolation of rates by sex and age. According to the VA the total number of male vets as of their current report is 21,787,000. An extremely generous estimate of male vets aged 20-24 would be 650,000.

CBS is using its "expert" for a comparison of apples and orangutangs to get the "shock" value necessary for the story. Tom's assertion of an 30% differential is correct and the CBS assertion for the 20-24 age group being two to four times as likely to commit suicide is pure hokum.

boris

Mark Steyn has this exactly right ...

In other Daily Mail immigration news:
A British woman planning to start a new life with her husband in New Zealand has been banned from entering the country - because she is too fat.

The argument here is the usual one that, because of the costs to the taxpayer, a socialized health care regime has the right tor regulate your lifestyle in all particulars. There is nothing that is not potentially the government's business.


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