Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

I work in a research unit, and long-time readers know how I feel about innumeracy, so I am more attuned than most to the subtle ways people who want to lie to you can manipulate the numbers to make their arguments sound valid.

But there's nothing subtle about this one. This came up and smacked me between the eyes.

At the VA website there is a page that shows the number of wounded in Iraq. For several months this figure was up in the 50,000 range, and then on January 10 it plummeted, without explanation, to 21,649.

So what's up with that?

Well, it turns out that the lower figure is the number of strictly combat-related injuries. The rest of them are due to illness, vehicle crashes and other accidents, etc., a number that the VA insists isn't relevant. See the full story over at VA Watchdog

Never mind that it helps to hide the true cost of war (for example, those injuries or illnesses likely would not have happened if the individual hadn't been in Iraq to begin with). And the cost, to be borne for several generations, of caring for the veterans who have been disabled in those incidents. Remember, if it occurred while you were in the service, it is by definition a service-connected disability.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the VA came up with a new definition of service-connected disability. Look at the money it would save if disabled veterans were helped only for combat wounds and nothing else.

Jesus, I'd better shut up. I might be giving the evil fuckers in the BFEE some ideas and lose my own VA disability payments...


The Future Was Yesterday said...

For a long time, the assumption was that government would be better off, if ran like a private business. But now, with so many private businesses being ran incompetently, Government IS being ran like a business - Enron!

Anonymous said...

Oh common now you can hardly call what you do work!

so how many illness, vehicle crashes and other accidents do they have in none war time?

Right we have never been in a none war time...

Dude if you can think it someone else already has...

C-dell said...

I did a similar post well the title at least you should check it out and leave me a comment. I would also liketo say that this is a way to make the administration look better so that it seems that we a doing better than it appears. That is so stupid, it is like they take the public for fools. A means to an end. Their end I might add. I am surprised that Veterans would diminish the life of a soldier in a war.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Farnsworth, but some numb nut that slammed his thumb on his foot locker and broke it; is NOT a wounded soldier. Those of us that have been wounded in combat earned our Purple Hearts.Of all my decorations,I hold a special place in my heart for men and woman who earned this Country's first issued Military Medal. I think General Patton would understand the difference.

WIA 2/5/68
RVN 66-68

Farnsworth68 said...

Charlie, no one is saying that a sore thumb should result in a Purple Heart. But there are disabilities that are the result of military service but are not the result of hostile action by an enemy force (I have one myself). That's all I'm saying, and I don't want the veteran who was disabled by anything other than combat to come up short.
That way of thinking would lead to, for example, all Agent Orange disability claims being denied because it was caused by the equivalent of "friendly fire".

Anonymous said...

"That's all I'm saying, and I don't want the veteran who was disabled by anything other than combat to come up short."

Nor do I. Getting hit by a .50 Cal, or getting running over by your own duce and a half are both painful, if not deadly. However,, for whatever reason, I do make the distinction between the two. Now that might not be right, it's just what I saw and the way I feel.

No veteran should denied what was promised. I honor all veterans and expect them to be treated fairly and with respect.As you know this not the way it was when we returned home. I'd like to believe this will never happen again, but I see some disturbing signs that it is...

In Brotherhood,

PS: "drainbamage"??? This has to be coming from the Oval Office...LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm not talking about medals here, who should get one and who shouldn't. I'm talking of what the government is trying to hide.
Being stone-dead-tired from being in a warzone makes one vulnerable for (mostly) stupid accidents. So they count.