If you depend on the New York Times for your information, you’d be forgiven for thinking that American troops are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and littering the streets of America with murder victims.
In Part 1 of “War Torn: A series of articles and multimedia about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have committed killings, or been charged with them, after coming home,” we hear some frightening anecdotes.
Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: “Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.” Pierre, S.D.: “Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.” Colorado Springs: “Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.” Individually, these are stories of local crimes, gut-wrenching postscripts to the war for the military men, their victims and their communities. Taken together, they paint the patchwork picture of a quiet phenomenon, tracing a cross-country trail of death and heartbreak.
The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment – along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems – appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.
My RSS reader is already running hot with American and Australian MSM outlets repeating the New York Times’ implications in headlines such as “Rise in homicides by US Iraq war vets”
Thankfully, the Blogosphere is already on to this. So far, The Democracy Project, Winds of Change and Media Lies all take issue with the New York Times’ maths — debunking the meme of the Murderous Vet that the Times is trying to push. After doing the sums, Media Lies concludes,
In other words, the homicide rate for returning military personnel is dramatically lower — one-half to less than one-third as much as the general population. The entire thesis of the story is not only false but portrays the exact opposite of the truth!
After similarly taking the NYTs’ figures apart, Democracy Project comments, “In short, the NYT has no serious methodology but a serious agenda.”
Winds of Change answers their own question as to why the NYT does not publicise the fact that returned soldiers are actually less likely to become murderers: “Because it’s not part of the narrative of how our soldiers are either depraved or damaged.”
All this, less than 24 hours after the New York Times piece was published. All I can say is, Wow. And, Thank you.
Oh, almost forgot. The NY Times Public Editor can be reached at email@example.com.
UPDATE: From Sandi in comments, a link to this very topic under discussion at over at the Swiftvets site.
UPDATE #2: I’m finding more and more blogs on this subject as time goes by and I’ll be listing the ones I think are worth a read. Phil Carter calls “bullshit.” Abu Muqawama has a great post discussing the “Rambo” connection. Michelle Malkin headlines, “Hey, NYT: 99.98 percent of all discharged Iraq and Afghanistan vets have not committed or been charged with homicide.” John J. Dilulio Jr. of The Weekly Standard busts the NYT’s wacko-vet myth
UPDATE #3: Bob Owens published a piece today (17 January) which offers a much more in-depth analysis of this. Read it.