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A proud member of the reality based commentosphere since 2000. You can find my two Eurocent mainly at liberal and centrist discussion threads, but also at some other surprising places. Also tweeting now, as user "graygoods".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Don't fall for spin - Iraq IS more dangerous than DC!

This bullshit is circulating since at least June 2005 in the internets, and, sadly, most readers don't recognize it's a fraud:

You consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000.
The rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation’s Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.
Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C.

Now, what's wrong with that comparison? Why, the math is wrong!
Well, this has already been totally debunked in the blogosphere. The critics focus on two major points:

Firstly, the anonymous author compares the monthly rate of casualties in Iraq per 100000 with an alleged number of 80.6 for DC for "the same period", and that's 22 months! Regardless that nobody else managed to find this number (80.6), it is obvious that this calculation will understate the risk in Iraq by the factor of 22. Correcting the calculation, using the spinmaster's own mysterious numbers, we see that the 'right' comparison is 1320/80.6=16.37 (1320=(2112/160000)*100000).
So, Iraq is 1537% more dangerous than DC!°
US soldiers aren't on a holiday trip, they are facing clear and present danger.

Secondly, as stated above, The cited numbers are totally questionable. 2112 casualties in June 2005? 80.6 homicides in Washington DC in 22 months? Nobody knows where those numbers come from, it's quite possible they are simply made up.

Also, pls note, even if the numbers would be right, 60/100,000 isn't the "firearm death rate". Sadly, this number includes those who were killed by IEDs, and that's the majority!

Now,let's try a better, honest comparision, using publicly available numbers. To get a picture about the situation right now, let's look at the most recent statistics:
Washington metropolitan police says the monthly number of homicides in June 2007 is 23.
And the US census bureau gives an estimation of 581,530 citizen living in Washington DC.
So, the monthly homicide rate was 3.955 /100000 in June 07.

At the same time, 06/2007, the US forces in Iraq suffered from 98 casualties
It's more difficult to determine the US troop numbers in Iraq for June 2006. This article from early July by an AP military expert gives a number of 158000. This computes to 62.025/100000 for that month.
Comparing those numbers, we find that in June 2007, serving in Iraq has been more than 1400%, or 14 times, more dangerous than living in Washington DC. Because of the possible errors in the population numbers, and in the troop levels, it's impossible to say that with more accuracy, but this gives a clear picture.

Conclusion: The US should immediately pull out of Iraq. At least, if they care for the lifes and wellbeing of their soldiers.

Ok, don't get confused by this comparison. Actually, all those soldiers doing administrative jobs in the relatively safe green zone or in the big bases distort the numbers. It goes without saying that US soldiers on patrol in Bagdad neighborhoods face an even graver risk. Nobody should diminish their sacrifice by pretending it isn't so bad in comparison. Anybody who spreads such madness should enlist and volunteer for Iraq ASAP!

° This may be confusing: 200% in a comparison means, it's 100% more of something, ok? So 1637% means its 1537% more. My math is a bit rusty, and I was confused about this at first, too.

[This story is derived from comments I posted at No Quarter, the blog of Larry Johnson, who simply doesn't get it. Looks like those CIA guys don't do math. |-( ]

Monday, August 13, 2007

News I'd like to read

Somehow the great news about Rove resigning made me think about the next big news I'd like to read:

Tapes Reveal Bush, Cheney, Rove Criminal Conspiracy
Nixon's Oval Office taping operation never suspended. Evidence for election fraud, Iraq war lies, and corruption.

Washington, DC -- "Nobody ever told me to stop it" said John Doeberger, a technician working in the White House since 1969, during an ACLU press conference when asked why he still conducts the Nixon-era taping operation. "I am responsible for all telephone and audio equipment in the White House. I had different bosses over the years, but they never showed any interest in the details of my job." In a surprise move, Doeberger decided to go public today after learning from the tapes that the Bush administration not only lied to the American people about the reasons to start the Iraq war, but that they're also responsible for several other serious crimes.

"I was never interested in what's on the tapes before, but when my son was killed in Iraq, I wanted to know what he died for. So I checked into some old tapes from 2003, and what I learned was so shocking that I simply had to inform the public" said John Doeberger, 63, whose son James Doeberger, 28, died while serving in a National Guard unit that is part of the US surge in Bagdad. "Bush, Cheney and Rove stole both elections, they directed the efforts to manipulate the voting machines. They were still laughing about it in 2003, and were making plans for 2004."

"They also deliberately gave away federal contracts to businesses who supported GOP campaigns. I heard Cheney telling Bush: "The oil meeting went really well. Those guys will give millions to assure our support". And everything they told us about Iraq was a lie. They started the war because their buddies in the energy industry wanted it. They never believed in the WMDs. And they didn't care that thousands would have to die for those oil contracts." While giving copies of the tapes to members of the press, he concluded, fighting his tears: "They killed my son for oil, I want to see those [expleted] in jail!"

Well, that's what I would call good news!

(Originally posted as a comment at Americablog)