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Trying to make something out of nothing
Posted by: McQ on Monday, January 02, 2006

First a fact or two. Total active duty personnel in the US military is 1,098,397. Now add 861,000 Reserve and National Guard.

That's a total of just under2,000,000 in the military.

Now to the AP story entitled "More soldiers try to exit service as war continues".

Sounds ominous doesn't it?

Here's the intro to the story:
Kevin Benderman spends his days sitting in a plastic chair in the stockade at Fort Lewis, Wash., completing a 15-month sentence for "missing movement" with his unit. Jeremy Hinzman is raising his baby boy in Toronto, awaiting a court date when he hopes the Canadian government will grant him political asylum. Aidan Delgado is back in school, studying religion at the New College of Florida and practicing Buddhism.

All three are among a small but growing number of soldiers who have become disillusioned with the war in Iraq and are trying to get out of their required service.

Increasing numbers of men and women in uniform are seeking honorable discharges as conscientious objectors. Others are suing the military, claiming their obligation has been wrongfully extended. Many have simply deserted, refusing to appear for duty.
As you'll see, each claim is technically correct. But if you read the story, you'll find that being technically correct isn't the intent. The story's implication is the military is increasingly dissallusioned and dispirited.

But then we get to the facts to support the highlighted areas in the intro we find a little bit of a proportional problem that, when considered in the context of the total numbers above, works against the intent of the article.

Conscientious objectors:
Requests for conscientious objector status, which can qualify someone for an honorable discharge, have steadily increased since 2000 —- about 110 soldiers filed the complex paperwork in 2004, about four times the number in 2000. Of those, about half were approved. Those who were rejected either went back to the war or refused to serve. Some are now on the lam. Others have been court-martialed and done time.
110 requests. Out of 2,000,000, we saw 110 requests last year. A veritable tsunami.

Stop loss:
About a dozen reservists have filed stop-loss lawsuits, arguing that it is illegal to make them stay in the military once their required term of service is complete. The Bush administration has argued with success so far that under federal law, the Pentagon can involuntarily extend the deployment of any reserve officer who's on active duty, if the president believes it's essential to security.
A dozen. 12. Overwhelmingly bad news.

Desertion:
Simple desertion has been decreasing in the military in recent years —- about 2,500 troops last year simply didn't show up for work, down from almost 5,000 in 2001, according to the Pentagon public affairs office. Some of these men and women are in hiding in Canada, where about 20 have applied for refugee status.
2,500 out of 2,000,000. Less than before the war started. Horrible, horrible news.

Yes, glad to see those four levels of editors the MSM continues to claim do such good work found this non-story to be newsworthy.

Amazing.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Any port in a storm.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I guess.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Prediction satisfied. But here, you do have a legitimate gripe.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Oh, my.
Are you actually suggesting Bruce that the press is trying to mislead us about our military and its commander in chief? For shame, sir.

(snork!)

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Pogue ... you call what you made a prediction?

Heh ...

Oh, and I always have a legitimate gripe. It’s your problem if you don’t agree with it. ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Hey, I did include a long shot in my predictions. I’m entitled to an easy one, eh?

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Easy one? Let me make one in a similar vein:

"The sun shall rise in the east tomorrow".

Heh ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Or here’s one even more sure than that:

"Sometime this year, Michael Moore will have eaten the equivalent of a cow".

I’m guessin’ January.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
All fun and games...

"Sometime next year, Michael Moore will eat the equivalent of a cow".

Until someone gets hurt.

That said, there are indeed blogs, as Jon points out, who are nothing but snark, sass and ridicule. And while they may have a large number of readers, I’m not one of them. McQ

Eh, McQ?

BTW,
There are those...

"The sun shall rise in the east tomorrow".

who aren’t so sure.

Heh.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Hey, comments are a free pass on snark. It’s the posts that count.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Eh, McQ?

As I said in a comment to that post, I do a lot of snark and sass in the comments section.

To quote Dale:
Hey, comments are a free pass on snark. It’s the posts that count.
Amen.

Why, is Mikey M a buddy of yours? ;)


 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
As I said in a comment to that post, I do a lot of snark and sass in the comments section.

You see, this is where I get confused about “blogs” or “online magazines” if you must. So, as long as you keep it civil in the original post, anything subsequent is fair game???

Unlike newspapers and print magazines where, according to you, headlines must be fair and accurate to the article underneath, “blogline magazines” are exempt. I think I’m getting it.

Speaking of “comments” section, McQ, I noticed that you had originally wrote, “Oh, and I always have a point. It’s your problem if you don’t agree with it. ;)” but then you edited it to the more accurate, “Oh, and I always have a legitimate gripe. It’s your problem if you don’t agree with it. ;)”
Hey, that’s not fair. I often post shite that when examined later reveals inaccuracies or typos (or crap that sounds good when typing over a single malt, but then realized to be drunken ramblings).

Dale, you should do something about that. I mean to allow comments to be editied….
I know, I know…
Get your own blog.


********
Why, is Mikey M a buddy of yours? ;)

Well, not really. I find him to be disingenuous and harmful for… wait a minute… this may be druken ramblings… nevermind.

Since my business is related to the beef industry, if MM eats a cow a month, I won’t be cryin’ about it.
(snark)

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Hey, that’s not fair. I often post shite that when examined later reveals inaccuracies or typos
[...]
Dale, you should do something about that. I mean to allow comments to be editied…

As I’m sure Bithead would enjoy the same feature.
(you see, I cuold hvae udse an edti faetrue)
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Unlike newspapers and print magazines where, according to you, headlines must be fair and accurate to the article underneath, “blogline magazines” are exempt.

The comments section is closer to "Letters to the Editor" than actual article contents.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
You see, this is where I get confused about "blogs" or "online magazines" if you must. So, as long as you keep it civil in the original post, anything subsequent is fair game???

Pretty much.

Speaking of “comments” section, McQ, I noticed that you had originally wrote, “Oh, and I always have a point. It’s your problem if you don’t agree with it. ;)” but then you edited it to the more accurate, “Oh, and I always have a legitimate gripe. It’s your problem if you don’t agree with it. ;)”

Hey, that’s not fair. I often post shite that when examined later reveals inaccuracies or typos (or crap that sounds good when typing over a single malt, but then realized to be drunken ramblings).


Start your own blog Pogue. Then you too can edit your comments when you don’t quite get it right the first time.

With ownership comes priviledges.

I know, I know…
Get your own blog.


Exactamundo.

Since my business is related to the beef industry, if MM eats a cow a month, I won’t be cryin’ about it. (snark)

On the shoveling end? (snark)

The comments section is closer to "Letters to the Editor" than actual article contents.

Actually it’s more like Usenet or Yahoo groups.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The comments section is closer to "Letters to the Editor" than actual article contents.

Unless, of course, it’s written by the editor. Then it becomes an editorial.

On the shoveling end? (snark)

Good one. No, the stuff that goes in before.
Heh, the shoveling I save for reading QandO.
(just kidding. Oh, come on. It was set up for me, I had to.)




 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
This is just a minor correction, but 1,098,397 active plus 861,000 reservists is not "over 2,000,000" total. It is just shy of 2 million. The number is 1,959,397 to be exact.

Also, I have to take issue with the implication that only 12 reservists filing lawsuits absolves the government of misuse of the stop-loss system. Just because only 12 reservists filed lawsuits does not mean that there are not a lot of soldiers sucking it up and continuing mission because they understand the concept of selfless service. In fact, there are thousands of soldiers on stop loss, and thousands more who have been called up from the Inactive Ready Reserve.

For one, I don’t think these 12 soldiers have any legal standing. However, that doesn’t make this use (misuse in my opinion) of stop loss right.
 
Written By: J
URL: http://
This is just a minor correction, but 1,098,397 active plus 861,000 reservists is not "over 2,000,000" total. It is just shy of 2 million. The number is 1,959,397 to be exact.

Per the second site it is over 2 million (page 180) but I took the more concervative number for active duty troops from the 1st site. But i’ve modified the post to reflect "just under 2 million" to be consistent with the numbers quoted.

Also, I have to take issue with the implication that only 12 reservists filing lawsuits absolves the government of misuse of the stop-loss system.

Who implied it did?

The title of the article is "More soldiers try to exit service as war continues", not "Stop Loss is right".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/

As I’m sure Bithead would enjoy the same feature.
Yeah, I won’t deny that be a help.
So far as typing goes I have the touch of a truck driver.

Initially, I thought this dictation thingie that I’ve put up on my system would be a help... And to some degree, so it has. (I’m not typing this note I’m speaking it, directly to the editor in the site ... ain’t technology wonderful? )

Of course that injects other issues.... like context foulups for example... (I’ll say too, and it’ll say two, as an example). I have found that adding memory to the system did help the error rate by quite a bit. Overall, though the voice recognition thing is nice but it’s no silver bullet.

To make matters worse it occasionally slips into command mode which is what happened with a double posting in this thread.(Since removed by someone... thanks, guys) I still haven’t figured that part of the system out yet unfortunately.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
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