Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A couple of months ago we linked to a devastating review of Jon Krakauer's new book about Pat Tillman. In some ways, this hurts even more. Because, you know, it suggests that Krakauer has no regard whatsoever for the facts.
Total sour grapes on all your parts. I think you are all uncomfortable with the fact that Krakauer is more on the money with what really happened and what is true. Truth about screw ups in the Iraq and Afghanistan war while Bush was president makes the righties nervous. The truth hurts, doesn't it.
Vicki from Pasadena
IF you think that pulling statistics out of one's rectum and solattering them on the pages of a book is being "on the money", vickie, then little has changed since your last recorded post.
I'm sure that Krakauer has an excellent source to quote for his friendly fire statistics....something like the University of East Anglia.
Q: If the Krakauer friendly fire figures are true, then why aren't embedded MSM reporters reporting it?
A: Because they're not true. Not even close to true.
Surely such august institutions as the NYT, who freely reveal the nations secrets on their front page, would squash such revelations.
"Into Thin Air" was an excellent book, compulsively readable. However, what it said about Krakauer's character was devastating. I've always wondered if he actually understood what he revealed about himself in that book.
And, no, I don't believe almost half the troops killed or wounded in Iraq suffered from friendly fire. I simply don't think you could keep that kind of information quiet - especially now that those who oppose the war are running it. If there was anything like that happening, we'd have heard about it in the last year.
Krakauer was right about those friendly fire numbers. Check out these statistics from The American War Library, an independent, non-partisan organization:
Krakauer's reporting in Where Men Win Glory is disturbing, but he generally gets his facts right. Not surprisingly, when readers don't like what he reports, rather than presenting evidence to refute his facts, they tend to make ad hominem attacks on his character based on rumor and innuendo. Shooting the messenger is a pretty convenient way to dismiss unpleasant news.
I've done two separate tours in Iraq-while accidents happen, there's not a single chance in hell that friendly fire casualties are at 41% now or ever.
For 41% to be true, we'd have to have nearly indiscriminate artillery and air to ground fire into US positions on a continued basis, which just plain does not happen.
Even in the comparatively rare anymore company size engagements, IFF technology generally prevents
tankers from firing on our guys. And when the worst does happen, such as the Canadians who were killed by US planes or Pat Tillman, there's a huge furor. CYA is as true in the military as anything else and improper target selection will end a pilot or arty officer's career on the spot.
And 41% among ground units would require such wholesale bad tactics that mutiny wouldn't be far behind.
In short, Krakauer's completely full of it.
Yeah, the Anon 1:20 cite to
is totally absurd, the site gives conclusionary numbers with only one or two anecdotes of misaimed arty or air strikes. the Brookings Institution, a reliably lefty group,puts Iraq friendly fire deaths at about 1% of total combat deaths, with detailed info to back it up.
John Cunningham: The Brookings data you mention says nothing at all about friendly fire casualty rates in Iraq or anywhere else. The 1% rate for Iraq friendly fire deaths was cited in a 2006 CBS News story, and was based entirely on data provided by the U.S. Army.
The American War Library's reported friendly fire casualty rate of 41% in Iraq does seem suspiciously high, but it is based on independent, well-documented research. The AWL is a non-partisan organization with no political agenda.
Anonymous commenters: the Brookings study is at http://www.brookings.edu/saban/~/media/Files/Centers/Saban/Iraq%20Index/index.pdf
look at pages 14 and 15, with total US deaths from hostile action and breakdowns by type. total deaths hostile were 3,477 as of the cutoff date, and 41% friendly fire would have been an absurd total. categories were
IED 1,735 deaths
car bombs 140
helo losses 218
other hostile 1,283
so over half of deaths were due to IEds and car bombs, impossible to be friendly fire. for 41% of deaths to be friendly fire, all of the rest would have to be FF, clearly absurd.
so how about fessing up, gutless and anonymous ones?
By the way, Krakauer did the same hit job on the Mormons in "Under a Banner of Heaven." As a Catholic, and an admirer of the Mormon people, I was disapointed that he took the worst and most zealous examples of the early Mormons. If every faith were put under the same mircroscope or the modern eye as he has done in this book history would hold almost every faith under a similar disdain (Except for Quakers of course :))
QuakerCat (The Irish Catholic Admirer)