[ RadSafe ] Prevention of radiation and chemical injury

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon May 5 13:23:28 CDT 2008

Doug, Thank you for hunting this up.

Howard, Brian and James (Yes, James, I know you are arguing on a different thread, but the concept applies): This is an excellent example of the weakness of trying to spin statistics to support your position.  In the first place, it turns out that Howard was flat out wrong.  Brian compared   But EVEN IF he was right about the number of military deaths being higher before the Bush years than during, that does not support the implied that engaging in a war brought down the death rate in the military.  Indeed, if you look at the "Hostile Action", or the sum of "Hostile Action" and "Terrorist Attack", a clearer picture comes out.  

I was on active duty and in the Reserves through 2001, and I would contend that the major causes of the decrease in deaths from 1980 onwards came from three sources.  The first is a the continuous improvement in medical care, especially emergency medical care, both military and civilian.  Events that used to kill people are often survived.  The death toll for this war would probably be five times higher if the Viet Nam era medical care was the standard, and probably 10 times if WWII era was the standard.

During the period of this chart the Military's attitude about the acceptability of accidents completely changed.  They went from being a cost of doing business to unacceptable career ender's for those who could have prevented them.  

The most important change was, in my opinion, the extension of the "Zero Tolerance" drug policy from the elite organizations throughout the military, and its extension to alcohol abuse.  High and drunk people do things that get them killed at higher rates than sober people.

None of these changes really had anything to do with president was at the time.  Citing statistics to support a position when they are driven by something else ultimately decreases the credibility of the position and the person defending it.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of Doug Aitken
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 10:02 AM
To: HOWARD.LONG at comcast.net; 'Riely, Brian P.'; 'Clayton Bradt'; Daren.Perrero at illinois.gov; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] Prevention of radiation and chemical injury

-----Original Message-----
From: HOWARD.LONG at comcast.net
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 11:08 AM
PS Military deaths each year during Clinton and most predecessors were over 1,000.
In none of Bush years have they been 1,000. 

Close, but not quite accurate:

But it is sobering to see how many accidental deaths occurred in the past, and how much better the military have got in protecting their personnel from these accidents.


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