Skip to comments.Cocky Ignorance (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 06/09/2008 9:07:02 PM PDT by jazusamo
Now that Senator Barack Obama has become the Democrats' nominee for President of the United States, to the cheers of the media at home and abroad, he has written a letter to the Secretary of Defense, in a tone as if he is already President, addressing one of his subordinates.
The letter ends: "I look forward to your swift response."
With wars going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a Secretary of Defense might have some other things to look after, before making a "swift response" to a political candidate.
Because of the widely publicized statistic that suicide rates among American troops have gone up, Senator Obama says he wants the Secretary of Defense to tell him, swiftly:
"What changes will you make to provide our soldiers in theater with real access to mental health care?"
"What training has the Pentagon provided our medical professionals in theater to recognize who might be at risk of committing suicide?"
"What assistance are you providing families here at home to recognize the risk factors for suicide, so that they may help our service members get the assistance they need?"
"What programs has the Pentagon implemented to help reduce the stigma attached to mental health concerns so that service members are more likely to seek appropriate care?"
All this sounds very plausible, as so many other things that Senator Obama says sound plausible. But, like so many of those other things, it will not stand up under scrutiny.
What has been widely publicized in the media is that suicides among American troops have gone up. What has not been widely publicized is that this higher suicide rate is still not as high as the suicide rate among demographically comparable civilians.
No one needs to be reminded that suicide is a serious matter, whether among soldiers or civilians. But the media have managed to create the impression that it is military service overseas which is the cause of suicides among American troops, when civilians of the same ages and other demographic characteristics are committing suicide at an even higher rate at home.
Moreover, this is not the first time that military service overseas has been portrayed in the media as the cause of problems that are worse in the civilian population at home.
The New York Times led the way in making homicides committed by returning military veterans a front page story, blaming this on "combat trauma and the stress of deployment." Yet the New York Post showed that the homicide rate among returning veterans is a fraction of the homicide rate among demographically comparable civilians.
In other words, if military veterans are not completely immune to the problems found among civilians at home, then the veterans' problems are to be blamed on military service-- at least by the mainstream media.
Does Senator Obama know how the rate of suicides or homicides among military veterans compares to the rate of suicides or homicides among their civilian counterparts? Do the facts matter to him, as compared to an opportunity to score political points?
Perhaps even more important, do the media even care whether Senator Obama knows what he is talking about? Or is the symbolism of "the first black President" paramount, even if that means a President with cocky ignorance at a time of national danger?
The media have been crucial to Barack Obama's whole candidacy. His only achievements of national significance in his entire career have been media achievements and rhetorical achievements.
Perhaps his greatest achievement has been running as a candidate with an image wholly incompatible with what he has actually been doing for decades. This man who is now supposedly going to "unite" us has for years worked hand in glove, and contributed both his own money and the taxpayers' money, to people who have sought to divide us in the most crude demagogic ways.
With all his expressed concern about the war in Iraq, he has not set foot in Iraq for more than two years-- including the very years when progress has been made against the terrorists there.
You don't need to know the facts when you have cocky ignorance and the media behind you.
Secretary Gates should tell BHO to pound sand.
I know what I’d give him if I were Secretary of Defense.
How about making sure B. Hussein isn't elected?
The only thing Obamination is going to get is a swift kick in the pants, if he doesn't watch his tone.
And his teleprompter is not going to save him this time either. What an arrogant, ignorant, clueless idiot.
Ouch. This lightweight may just convince me to vote for McCain.
Correct on all points. Without a teleprompter or cue cards BO is a bumbler.
Just wait till he makes McPeak his Secretary of Defense.
The military suicide rate will really go up!
Everybody will be recalled from Iraq to wear new designer uniforms.
Dr. Sowell has been ripping BO for a couple months but the intensity has incresed his last couple columns on him.
Dr. Sowell would be an excellent choice for the first black president.
...*wonders when Obama is going to send a letter like this to Iran, Syria and other states that count suicide bombers as a part of their army*.....
Obama is a “post turtle.”
SecDef should invite Hussein to a private give and take briefing to be recorder. If he refuses, release the blank tape.
Was it drinking or smoking, where stats were falsely written when someone died who had ever had a problem with either, and the deaths were all attributed to the habit?
Same thing here. Take 10 young people in their late 20s who killed themselves, 5 of which were members of the military. The latter group’s suicides will all be attributed to their military service.
It’s phony math.
Great description of BO, George!
Swiftly Return to Sender.
It is not inappropriate for a senator to write a cabinet official requesting information on government programs.
I agree his tone is a little over the top.
Yes, it’s phony math and I love the way Dr. Sowell shows it for what it is in a simple manner.
Thiat report of suicide rates immediately prompted me to search for comparable suicide rate data for civilians in the same age cohorts, but I don’t know where to look.
An honest, curious “news” reporter or commentator would find and report such comparisons.
I think Dr. Sowell pointed it out well that BO is a political candidate, even though he is a senator the letter was written to score political points and as you say the tone was a little over the top.
SecDef should invite Hussein to a"he has written a letter to the Secretary of Defense, in a tone as if he is already President, addressing one of his subordinates."
live televised one-on-one interview at a time chosen by Secretary Gates.
At which time Mr. Gates can simply point out that suicide is of course as serious a matter for civilians and soldiers alike - and ask "President" (Heaven forefend) Obama why the civilian rate is higher than the military rate.
And why Obama thinks that patronizing the troops increases their morale and reduces their suicide rate.
"Well," I would reply with a cocktail-party smile, "it's always nice to have something to look forward to, isn't it?"
The man is a pompous ass. But then what am I saying? A million to one says he didn't write that letter any more than any one of us did.
"As to your questions, Mr. Obama, I refer you to the many speeches and interviews I have given to the press answering specifically the questions you ask".
"Good day sir."
The Associate Assisant to the Acting Director of Pentagon Lunchroom will be right back to in early December. Thank you for your concern.
What is not touched on in Dr. Sowell’s article is the possible reason for suicides being lower among the military that in the civilian population. I would like to suggest an answer.
Soldiers, especially volunteers, have a sense of purpose - something woefully lacking among their demographic at home.
That's an excellent point and right on the money, IMO.
I'd tell him to pound something else. It's basically what he does for his supporters and what they do for him. A real circle jerk goin' on.
Dear Senator Obama,
In response to the issues you raise in your recent letter, I am sure you will agree that these matters are too serious and important to be left to a few soundbites in the media. I assume that details can be provided to the next meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s “Sub-Committee on Europe” which oversees NATO and our US combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You do chair that sub-committe, don’t you? OH WAIT, I almost forgot, your sub-committee never meets!! It has never met since you became Chairman and apparently it will never meet. Let me say this, Mr. Obama: when you begin to do your job and actually earn the public salary paid to you by taxpayers, then I will try to find in my hectic schedule, in the midst of a war on multiple fronts, to come before your sub-committee and address your questions in a thorough and substantive way.
Until then, continue as the lightweight, dishonest, shameless Demagogue that you are!
Secretary of Defense
[I can dream, can’t I???]
look for the black lady Macbeth to call Sowell a Tom down the road
I'm sure he covets the affections and good graces of that obnoxious harridan.
I thought that just by his being nominated, the Obamassiah was going to make the oceans rise. So how come he can’t HEAL the soldiers. Just bring them all home from ALL points of the world, not just Irag, but Germany, Japan,Guam etc. Bting em all home. Serving our country is just toooo much to ask of any person. Besides, we will have no enemies when the Obamassiah has come. There will be peace.
Stop it! I don't need to re-live the McPeak nighmare. Stop it, before I say "Year of Training" or "TQM"!
“What an arrogant, ignorant, clueless idiot.”
Well, BHO does have the Audacity....of Audacity.
Seriously, this whole thing is indicative of something DEEPLY disturbing for America. Please, please, please vote for the candidate most likely to defeat this dangerous guy who does NOT love this country.
He’s a Senator. Shouldn’t he already know these things if he hasn’t been slacking off his whole tenure?
Since neither yourself nor any other member of your family ever bothered to serve this great nation by wearing the uniform, I don't see what possible interest in the matter you might have.
You nailed it. In fact it wouldn’t be surprising to find that Obama’s sub-committee has received the briefs on this subject but they sit in unopened folders.
Good article! That sums it up. BO is ignorant of just about any issue you can name, but it doesn't matter.
The other thing BO has is an incredible will to power and a political ruthlessness (which many underestimate) that will probably get him there.
He won't. Questions like this are routine at the Pentagon. They will be staffed and answered.
Yeah, now if we could just find an honest and curious news reporter or commentator.
obama thinks he’s relevant.
I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.
You bring back really bad memories with that.
We wasted enough mandays on TQM nonsense that we could have fought the entire War on Terror and avoided second tours to Iraq.
Now, years later, no one admits what a stupid mistake that fad was, and no one was ever fired for the waste of time it inflicted on airmen.