"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Twilight Zone

Apparently even the reality-challenged editors at the New York Times have begun to realize that we're now winning the war in Iraq. How can we tell? Because they're tacking to windward.

Instead of filling their front page with bad news, while hiding the good back with the truss ads, they are now publishing a series (no less) on troops returning home. Not troops who return from combat to open a daycare center; not veterans who run for office; not soldiers returning to their loved ones: but troops who return and commit murder:
Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: “Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.” Pierre, S.D.: “Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.” Colorado Springs: “Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.”

Individually, these are stories of local crimes, gut-wrenching postscripts to the war for the military men, their victims and their communities. Taken together, they paint the patchwork picture of a quiet phenomenon, tracing a cross-country trail of death and heartbreak.

The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment — along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems — appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.

Three-quarters of these veterans were still in the military at the time of the killing. More than half the killings involved guns, and the rest were stabbings, beatings, strangulations and bathtub drownings. Twenty-five offenders faced murder, manslaughter or homicide charges for fatal car crashes resulting from drunken, reckless or suicidal driving.
The Times, you see, has uncovered a previously unknown fact -- veterans (unlike the rest of us) sometimes commit crimes, or engage in other dangerous behavior. Perhaps after this series, we will be favored with further revelatory tales documenting tax evasion, salad bar grazing, double parking and elevator flatulence.

There is, of course, no story at all if veterans, as a group, commit no greater number of crimes than a similar number of Americans of the same age. Thus, the lede should be something like, "Veterans Murder at Twice National Rate." But it's not, of course, and you'll strain your eyes in vain searching in the Times for any such statistical analysis. This fellow has taken a stab at it, but I'm not entirely sure that he's closed the deal.

Times story HERE.

[UPDATE] More comment HERE, HERE and HERE.

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