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October 06, 2004

Nitpicking the nits picked

Juan Non-Volokh complains that Factcheck.com misrepresented Cheney:

FactCheck.org got the numbers right as far as I am aware. The problem, however, is that FactCheck.org materially misrepresented what Vice President Cheney said. Here is what he said, taken from the debate transcript:

Well, Gwen, the 90 percent figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well as the allies, they've taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent. (cmphasis Juan's)

It is clear from the above that Cheney did not claim that Iraqis accounted for "almost 50%," but rather that Iraqis and other coalition members combined, accounted for "almost 50%" of casualties in Iraq, leaving the U.S. with the other 50 percent. FactCheck.Org's selective highlighting of the relevant passage from Cheney's remarks furthers the misrepresentation.

A little context: Edwards was criticizing the administration's ineptness at building international coalitions. The 90/90 figure shows that that we are shouldering the burden almost singlehandedly. Moreover, the US knew that was going to be the case when they waged elective war with only a handful of smaller, weaker, poorer allies. Sorry, but in this context, the vanquished Iraqis aren't part of the Coalition of the Willing. Cheney can't very well say, "No, you're just wrong, John, we're great at coercive international coalition building."

I'd like to add for the record that the "denigrating contributions" meme is a despicable piece of rhetoric. The other members of the coaltion have contributed less because the White House couldn't convince anyone to contribute more.

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I'd like to add for the record that the "denigrating contributions" meme is a despicable piece of rhetoric.

You know, when you've been shitting all over "Old Europe" for the past three years, sent your Secretary of State up there to lie to the United Nations, had coalition partners (even Poland!) claim they were "taken for a ride" by your administration, and even passed a "Freedom Fries" resolution in Congress, it takes some serious fucking chutzpah to turn around and accuse the opposition of "denigrating our allies."

I think this debate might be a little off topic, though it is good to point out Poland, especially now that they might be pulling out in January. The US military comprises 85% of the current "coalition" and has taken 88.5% of the casualties. The first Gulf War was also overwhelmingly led by the United States (about 75% American).

The critical difference between the two wars was the absolute number of troops, and not that amount that we contributed relative to other nations. The total coalition force in the first Gulf War was 660,000 for a much more limited objective. This point highlights the MOST serious Bush blunder, as highlighted by L. Paul Bremmer: We did not have enough troops, US or otherwise, on the ground.

However, although comparing relative troop contributions as a proportion of the whole is popular among Bush defenders, doesn't really hold up either. I am sure that Bush doesn't go around the world asking for proportions (Hey Poland, you give 1%. Ukraine, .5%. Britain, 4%).

If we add up the total number of non-US forces in Iraq, we get 24,170. This is what the rest of the world is contributing. Compare this to the first Gulf War, where the rest of the world meant about 160,000 troops.

I think we may have found a good measure of just how different this coalition is.

I'm going to persue this more on my blog...

First, repeating that line %50 Iraqi casualties is very disengenous because it gives the impression that Iraqi casualites in toto are only about 1,000. The bit about Iraqi security forces needs to be repeated there.

Also: pwnd!

That was truly a great registry hack. I really wonder who did it. I think that may have been the most successsful political hacks ever. I'm really surprised I've yet to see it on Slashdot.

Now for my rant:
What I find really galling is that both France and Germany have troops who are engaged in peacekeeping combat and combat support roles for American troops. It must be really nice being a French or German soldier risking your life in Afghanistan because America was attacked on 9/11 and hear the kind of chickenshit chickenhawk bullshit insults. And it must instill a real feeling of pride and security in the American soldiers serving there to know that the chickenhearted chickenhawk REMFs and their shills are doing their utmost to denigrate the valor, dedication and military prowess of say, those German pilots they depend on for close air-support?

Some people just don't fucking think.

I'd really like to draft every last one of those Fighting 101st Keyboarders. And we'll do it too, just as soon as they get out of diapers.

I'd better stop ranting now or I'll regret it, Once a day is enough and I really need to get some sleep.

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