Sunday, December 04, 2005

Someone needs to adjust their tinfoil hat

Utah's "conservative" newspaper, the Deseret News, has a regular editorial feature called "My View" wherein some non-journaliste is given the opportunity to pontificate just like the Big Boys. Most of the time, it's some politician or other bigwig who feels aggrieved by the News' negative coverage of them, or some expert who corrects the chronic cluelessness of their staff. But every now and then they turn the page over to someone who, shall we say, is not quite up to speed when it comes to facts or even reality.

Such as today. The guest writer is a veteran named Joseph Puente, and he is, uh, a bit on the paranoid side. In addition, he makes this amazing assertion:

The Bush administration underestimated the number of soldiers who would be wounded seriously enough in Afghanistan and Iraq to warrant medical discharges and subsequent care through the VA. The administration's estimate was around 23,000; the actual number is closer to 95,000 and rising.

Wow. That's quite a big number: Indeed, it's quite a bit more than the actual numbers. According to this official-looking website, there have been only 15,568 wounded in Iraq and of those, over half -- 8,468 -- returned to duty within 72 hours. This means that only 7,413 were injured severely enough to require extensive treatment. A large number, to be sure, and one that unfortunately contains many personal tragedies. But one that is almost 12 times smaller than the one reported above.

I have noticed that many on the Left have become so filled with hatred for the President they look for any opportunity to discredit him and, as a result, they latch on to any factoid that makes him look bad. As with the faked Bush NG memos, this overpowering desire to bring him down causes them to overlook things that would be obviously false to neutral observers. Mr. Puente heard this statistic, and because it fit his negative view of the President he repeated it uncritically in front of hundreds of thousands of readers. The fact the DesNews editorial staff failed to catch such an egregious error suggests they thought it was true, too.

That wouldn't surprise me, BTW.


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