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Michael Fumento: The CBS report on suicides among Iraq war vets is bogus

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NYVet Donating Member (822 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 08:58 AM
Original message
Michael Fumento: The CBS report on suicides among Iraq war vets is bogus
http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Michae...



THERE'S "STARTLING" and "stunning" news of a "hidden epidemic" of veteran suicides. So claimed CBS News in two reports.

<snip>

Problem is, we have absolutely no way of verifying the CBS data nor how the network claims it collected the info. CBS News admits to collecting the data itself, rather than relying on an independent outside party. It also concedes its rate is "much higher" than that in an uncompleted Department of Veterans Affairs study.

<snip>

Last month, the Army released a report finding that the suicide rate among these GIs in 2006 was 17.3 per 100,000 troops -- rather lower than CBS's rate for veterans. Why would soldiers who were recently on active duty be killing themselves at a much higher rate than those still serving?

More important still, the Army study corrected for some key demographic facts -- notably, that the military is largely male and that men are much likelier to commit suicide than women are. Among civilians who match the overall age, gender and race profile of the U.S. Army, the suicide rate was 19 per 100,000 -- higher than for the troops.

<snip>

That is, a solid body of work shows no "extra" suicides among vets of the only previous two major U.S. wars of the last half-century -- yet CBS claims a massive increase among vets generally. For the networks' numbers to hold up, there'd have to be a vast jump in suicides among vets who never saw combat.

And since suicide rates among Vietnam and Gulf vets match those of the general population, CBS's numbers translate to higher suicide rates for peacetime vets than for wartime ones.

This also contradicts a powerful implication of the CBS presentation -- namely, that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a major cause of these suicides. (That's what those interviews with the wives helped show.)

<snip>

Of course, suicide is always a tragedy; whatever the rate among veterans, it would be good to reduce it. But success will require an agenda that puts the well-being of these heroes above crass media sensationalism and political causes.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
1. So Where Is the Union Leader's Census?
Fumento hasn't got any numbers, and hasn't done a count. He's just hanging out at the Koolaid bar, swilling as much free booze as he can....
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes, it seems he's a r/w whackadoo who also doesn't believe in
the Gulf War Syndrome. Some of his affiliations-'nuff said.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Fumento

Fumento has been affiliated with the following organizations:

* American Enterprise Institute
* Competitive Enterprise Institute
* Consumer Alert
* Hudson Institute
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. The Nazis are everywhere, as it was before.
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 09:14 AM by tom_paine
And people will read his Nazi Lies and Obfuscations, then believe them. Nazi Media - 1 (actually more like 1,742,659), Free America - 0 (actually more like 0)
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MikeNearMcChord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Also IIRC he was big on trying to
downplay the AIDS epidemic, especially among heterosexuals, I wonder how much damaged he caused doing that?
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MikeNearMcChord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Ah Yes here is the book
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 09:21 AM by MikeNearMcChord
The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS: How a Tragedy Has Been Distorted by the Media and Partisan Politics.
Thanks babylonsister.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
6. Yeah, Fumento is full of BS
"Why would soldiers who were recently on active duty be killing themselves at a much higher rate than those still serving?"

Those still serving can be held together by an ethos of helping their fellow soldiers - which means staying alive. Once your a veteran, you don't have comrades depending on you to save their lives.

"More important still, the Army study corrected for some key demographic facts -- notably, that the military is largely male and that men are much likelier to commit suicide than women are."

So were the CBS figures:

All of the rates of suicide we presented are adjusted. The overall rates are adjusted for age and gender in both the veteran and non-veteran populations. The male and female rates are age adjusted. And the age breakdowns are adjusted for gender.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/13/cbsnews_inves...


"CBS News admits to collecting the data itself, rather than relying on an independent outside party. "

Over the course of five months, CBS News contacted vital statistics offices in all 50 states asking them to provide all of their suicide data from 1995 to 2005. The vital statistics offices have access to suicide data from death certificates.

Forty-five states provided us with raw suicide numbers. Of those, 40 states provided us cross classified resident suicide data for the years 2004 and 2005, which we used to statistically calculate rates of suicide for the entire country. (Cross-classified is the type of format necessary to run adjusted rates of suicide.)

We asked the acting head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Georgia, Steve Rathbun, to calculate the rate of suicide for 2004 to 2005. Rathbun adjusted the rates of suicide for age, gender and any potential error in the gathering of the raw data by the states. The results reflect that potential margin of error by showing a range in the rates of suicide among veterans.
...
While gathering the raw data over the course of five months, we consulted with several leading epidemiologists and biostatisticians across the country on how to gather and analyze suicide data accurately and appropriately.
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Narkos Donating Member (919 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Fumento's a poopoo head
with a high pitched voice. Another drone with contempt for the truth.
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