Bad Faith Caught Red-Handed: Military Suicides on CNN

Caught on CNN, Tuesday while exercising at the gym:

A serious discussion of the problem of increasing suicides of young soldiers in the Army. Appropriately somber mien of the anchorwoman. Of course, this is yet another attempt by the liberal media to undermine our resolve in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Having failed in every other ways, liberals want to make inescapable that idea that what we are asking our military to do in war is so atrocious that many would rather kill themselves. The Army’s honest attempt to investigate and to improve the situation is shamelessly exploited by he same liberal media. The Army talking heads are allowing this to happen because many at the highest levels of the military have become politically correct (I was going to say chickified) or too afraid of what they think is public opinion.

As always, I pay attention to what the story does not cover.

1 Is the rate of suicide for soldiers higher than it is for similarly situated civilians?

2 Is the rate of suicides among marines higher, lower than, or more or less equal to the Army rate of suicide?

If the answer to Question # 1 is “No,” we don’t have a problem related to military life. In that case, no one should use suicides, even semi-consciously, to decide upon the desirability of our military presence in Afghanistan, or in Iraq.

If the answer to Question 2 is that the suicide rate among Marines is lower than or equal to that of Army personnel, then, a combat stress explanation is probably not valid. The reason for this is that Marines are considerably more likely than soldiers to be exposed to combat and for longer periods. Hence if the combat explanation were correct, Marines’ suicide rate should be higher than soldiers’. I say, “probably not valid” because such numbers still keep open the possibility that soldiers commit suicide because of combat exposure while Marines commit suicide for other reasons. This is unlikely but possible and worthy of finer research which could be done if anyone were interested.

So, a powerful and rich news organization such as CNN omits presenting relevant data that are easy to find, at least, for CNN. I know anchorwomen and anchormen are mostly dingbats. I don’t expect them to think this logically and this deeply! However, I want to believe that someone in the editorial room has had some experience with simple logic. If there is no one of that description then, CNN richly deserves its rolling demise. If there is, he or she is a thoroughly vile, dishonest person. Surprise!

Watch the liberal media and catch them in flagrante of bad faith by omission. It’s fun and it’s good exercise for the brain.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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10 Responses to Bad Faith Caught Red-Handed: Military Suicides on CNN

  1. Scott cochran says:

    I heard something similar on NPR a few days ago. Reporter didn’t press for the stats, (what are the stats for suicides for personel statoned in say, Korea?vs Iraq ?) and instead just indulged in speculation in why they were so High. I have heard the “is it really worth it” undertones in other stories as well.

  2. Terry Amburgey says:

    I have to disagree. Regarding your first point, I don’t care if the military/civilian numbers are comparable. Any suicides among members of the armed forces is not acceptable. For that matter, even if the military numbers are LOWER than civilian numbers it’s not acceptable, it’s my opinion that we owe members of the military more than equivalent civilians.
    Regarding your second point, treat efforts to find causes [and therein potential remedies] seriously not flippantly. Combat related stress may be a significant factor but I suspect there are many others including the dismal conditions that many families are forced to endure.

    I know the temptation to score cheap political points is hard to resist, I know I enjoy the myriad openings that conservatives offer. However some topics deserve serious discourse. To my mind this is one of them.

  3. Bruce says:

    The only time I watch CNN is when I can’t change the channel, like the airport. As a retired military officer it’s always irritating, though I do take the occasion to comment to others around me at the time. Funny how most agree with me.
    There are as many reasons that people take their own lives as there are reasons they resist the urge. If in fact military people are successful at a higher rate seems logical. As a group they are more committed and capable when it comes to inflicting mortal injury. I have often wondered about what counts as suicide. Is a meth addict who kills himself over a five year period of using until overdosing any less suicidal? What about automobile accidents where a driver intentionally drives into a concrete divider at 70 mph, or a sky diver whose shoot somehow does not open? An obese person who continues to overeat. What about the Japanese high school kid from a upper class family that disgraces his family by not getting into the University of Tokyo who steps in the path of a bus? If it was a bullit train it would be called suicide, but a bus, maybe an accident. It might have more to do with survivor benefits and how the insurance policy is written. If I kill myself, my family gets nothing, if I remove my regulator at 300ft and ascend to the sruface as fast as possible holding my breath, my wife gets $2M because it was a diving accident. There’s also the stigma attached to taking your life, and of course most western religions condem it. Of course, there’s the suicide bombers. They’re chalked up as warrior’s for Allah in their country.
    What is certain is that the main stream media will always spin whatever numbers are available to further their left wing agenda. It’s also blatently obvious that they conveniently omit certain facts in their reporting. What happened to the monthly body count in Iraq and Afghanistan the talking heads used to begin their broadcasts with? Obama was elected President. They have just taken a chapter out of the Walter Cronkite playbook- good thing we have options when it comes to news today. By the way, 207 heroes have died there since he was annointed on 1/20/09.
    As an aside, the same hate America media punks are working hard to choose who a Republican presidential nominee who Obama can beat. They will distort whatever numbers they need to to accomplish the mission. That’s the only thing that’s transparent to me.

  4. Brian says:

    Internet searches mixing the terms “overmedication”, soldiers”, and “suicides” will provide additional perspective to the trends and consequences of treatments received by our troops, as well as civilians.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Brian: I was trying to point out that it makes no sense to seek explanation for something that does not exist. By blaming over-medication, you give support to those who implicitly affirm something that may not exist at all. Facts should come first.

  5. Terry Amburgey says:

    Some military suicide factoids. Especially relevant to comparisons across different branches of the military.

    http://www.congress.org/news/2011/01/24/more_troops_lost_to_suicide

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Terry is a distinguished sociologist. He does not have the privilege to act like an undergraduate on this blog. I raised a small number of questions relevant to good logic and good faith on the posting of reference. If he will not answer them, any website to which he directs us is irrelevant. Terry certainly possesses the modest expertise to answer my few questions if he has the relevant data. If he does not, he is just changing the subject.

  6. sudoku says:

    You made some decent points there. I appeared on the web for the problem and located most people will associate with together with your website.

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