Archive for September, 2004

Debate Round One

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Posting from my Treo. Since I tend to think in tables, I like Hugh Hewitt’s summary of the debate. I largely concur on Hugh’s read of Lehrer’s lean. I sat with a (paper) notebook and scored each question’s valence B(ush), N(eutral) or K(erry). What especially struck me was not the bias in questions but Lehrer’s repeated employment of the discretionary extra minute to give Kerry another shot or to blunt a Bush hit. It may be my bias for Bush but it seemed that Lehrer employed the discretionary follow-up rapidly when Kerry needed help and Bush had to push Lehrer to allow follow-ups Bush wanted.

The post-debate spin was as predicted and likely to make little difference as the broader public that watched the debate isn’t going to spend hours having spin-meisters tell them what they really thought and heard. We political junkies now have blogs, radio and cable to break MSM’s spell.

I do wish President Bush had found a phrase to deal with charges of sending soldiers in harm’s way without the latest body armor and armor plated vehicles. Since I was there and witnessed the insurgency’s birth and adaptation over the summer of ‘03 to this past February, and since my reserve component logistics unit deployed with our basic authorized equipment, I have some knowledge of the groud truth.

The truth is that the switch from last generation to newest “Intercepter” body armor was completed in Iraq in the most dangerous places first. My own outfit had some very resourceful troops, who took some of our old kevlar vests (after new vest issue) and sandwiched them between plywood panels to build a pillbox for a machinegunner in back of a soft (thin metal) side HMMWV. I personally witnessed this vehicle survive an IED blast when I was just behind it. Did the job fine. The plain truth is that the Army, for *decades,* has seriously under-equipped its support troops and under-resourced combat convoy training for those troops.

Rambling

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

While I noted last week that a conservative talk station in the Phoenix metroplex had just gone way left, a day or so later Michael Savage and Jerry Doyle were added to 1100 AM in the same time slots.

While most talk shows, Drudge and blogs had fun with Senator Kerry’s striking change in complexion, a woman called Michael Savage with an interesting explanation. The (unintentionally overdone) artificial tan may be covering up the tell-tale r8

Burying the Truth in Plain Sight

Monday, September 27th, 2004


Truckers of Iraq’s Pony Express Are Risking It All for a Paycheck
NYT 27 September 2004, by James Glanz

The NYT published a good article on the KBR convoys that are key to sustaining our operations in Iraq. They conveyed the scale of the operation and the wide variety of supplies and people involved. But they did not do the math. I will do so for you.

The scale of the operation is astonishing, with about 700 trucks on Iraqi roads on a typical day. The trucks deliver 40 million gallons of fuel a month, for example, and keep shelves stocked for half a million meals daily at more than 60 military bases across the country. And the fare at those bases is splendid, ranging from Omaha-cut steaks to deep-dish pizza to a respectable chicken Kiev. Whatever judgment history renders on this war, it will always be remembered as well victualed.

How dare the military feed those military unter-menchen as well as the NYT staff! It is surely wasted on these bumpkins’ inferior palettes! And you’ve been distracted from connecting the key number, 700 trucks per day, to the convoy attack and casualty numbers 26 paragraphs later.
[ . . . ]

But their fears were understandable: of roughly 30 convoys a day on the road in Iraq, an average of 10 are attacked, said Keith Richard, the regional project manager for Kellogg Brown & Root.

So, 700 trucks (one driver per truck) divided among 30 convoys means 23 trucks per convoy. Each convoy faces a one in three chance of attack (risk is actually not this evenly distributed). 10 attacks per day means around 3600 convoys attacked per year. Take into account the number of vehicles per convoy (23) and you see the bad guys get about 52,900 chances per year to kill a KBR driver.

Some 46 Kellogg Brown & Root employees have died in Iraq, including 16 while on convoys.

So 30 KBR employees have died on bases or caught outside the wire not in a convoy. And how did the insurgents, who the NYT would have you believe are becoming so much more effective, do with their 52,900 chances to kill KBR employees in convoys this past year? They killed sixteen, 16 divided by 52,900 means three killed per 10,000 chances. So a driver has a 1 in 3 chance each time of being on a convoy that is attacked and IF she is on that unlucky convoy, she has a 0.03% chance of dying. Fifth grade math word problem with the numbers buried in piles of distracting phrases.

Nearly every driver has a story of coming under attack.

As well they should, given a 1 in 3 chance something will go “bang” each time they exit the gate. But what isn’t specified is “attack” — could be a single shot fired, one RPG, one rock thrown off an overpass, one IED, or a daisy-chained IED combined with rifle fire. Examining the numbers inside this story, published in a hostile newspaper, you can reasonably judge for yourself the gap between rhetoric and reality.

Moore-ish Movement Activist Air

Friday, September 24th, 2004

1010 AM in Phoenix swung Left on the political dial. In fact, they pegged out the day — 23 September — they switched from Tony Snow and Michael Savage to a slate of Moore-ish “progressives.”
The woman who replaced Savage mocked Interum PM Alawi as a puppet and then went staight to the anti-American, socialist playbook — claiming Alawi murdered five children, shooting them in the head.

Is this timing of a “progressive” take-over of a conservative radio station in a battle-ground state just good business or is this a political expenditure aimed at buying privledged speech access as the FEC guts the people’s right to free speech when free speech against politicians matters most?

Planes, Trains & MSM

Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

MSM mouthpieces are spouting the Moore.Dem line that the islamist-formerly-known-as-Cat-Stevens is a “critic” of US policy and a peace activist, who, MSM would have us believe — since MSM offered and saught no other explanation — was pulled from a flight and on a watch list only due to the bungling evil Bush administation. How quickly conveniently the islamists’ useful idiots forget a certain fatwah. It is reasonable to ask if Yusuf Islam is supporting a new version of “Peace Train” — “Riding on the (Madrid) Metro?”