The New York Times' Bias is Turning Vicious

The Times lies about our soldiers to falsely slander Bush.

On Jan 13, 2008, the New York Times email edition said:

The 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.

Before we go into what's wrong with the story, we must make it clear that we abhor the murders that seem to have been committed by veterans of the Iraq war as we abhor the deaths of our soldiers serving there.  There can be no objection to being concerned with the damage that some of our veterans may have incurred.

What's wrong with the Times' approach is that they seem to imply that there would have been no murders by these young people if they hadn't been to Iraq.

We see similar "spin" in the Times' reports of combat deaths in Iraq.  Whenever they report a death in Iraq, they imply that nobody who's serving in Iraq would have died if they hadn't been in Iraq.

Accident statistics show that the death rate due to drunk driving and other accidents would be expected to kill more of our men and women if they were at home than have been killed by the enemy.  In other words, being at war in Iraq is safer for our military personnel than being at home would be.  This was true during the first Gulf war; it's true now.

This table gives the number of deaths among active-duty members of the US military for the recent past.  The absolute number of deaths isn't the best figure for comparison because the number of people in the military fluctuated.  For each year, the number of deaths is converted to the percentage of all active-duty personnel who died in each year.

Year Active Duty Deaths % President
1980 2050758 2392 0.1166 Carter
1981 2093032 2380 0.1137 Reagan
1982 2112609 2319 0.1098 Reagan
1983 2132909 2465 0.1156 Reagan
1984 2138339 1999 0.0935 Reagan
1985 2150376 2252 0.1047 Reagan
1986 2177845 1984 0.0911 Reagan
1987 2166611 1983 0.0915 Reagan
1988 2121659 1819 0.0857 Reagan
Avg   2150 0.1007  
1989 2112128 1636 0.0775 Bush
1990 2046806 1507 0.0736 Bush
1991 1943937 1787 0.0919 Bush
1992 1773996 1293 0.0729 Bush
Avg   1556 0.0790  
1993 1675269 1213 0.0724 Clinton
1994 1581649 1075 0.0680 Clinton
1995 1502343 1040 0.0692 Clinton
1996 1456266 974 0.0669 Clinton
1997 1418773 817 0.0576 Clinton
1998 1381034 827 0.0599 Clinton
1999 1367838 796 0.0582 Clinton
2000 1372352 758 0.0552 Clinton
Avg   938 0.0634  
2001 1384812 891 0.0643 Bush
2002 1411200 999 0.0708 Bush
2003 1423348 1228 0.0863 Bush
2004 1411287 1874 0.1328 Bush
2005 1378014 1942 0.1409 Bush
2006 1378014 1858 0.1348 Bush
Avg   1465 0.10498  

Bush-bashers hate to admit it, but a smaller percentage of active-duty military personnel died during both Bush administrations than during the Reagan and Carter administrations.

This is a simple fact which any Times researcher could find out, but sticking to the facts wouldn't let them imply that President Bush is to blame for all our soldier's deaths.  The facts about the number of our people who would be expected to die back in the US are evidently not "fit to print" as far as the Times is concerned.

Similarly, the Times' story about murders by Iraqi vets implies that they would not have committed murder if they hadn't been stressed out in Iraq.  Unfortunately for the Times, the murder rate by 18-25-year-olds is rather high.  Some of these men and women would be expected to commit murder whether they'd been in Iraq or not.

This table is taken from the US Department of Justice:

Year 18-24 25-34 35-49 50+
1980 30 22.6 12.8 3.6
1981 26.6 20.2 12.3 3.5
1982 25.1 19.1 10.8 3.1
1983 23 17.4 9.8 2.7
1984 22.2 16.9 9.1 2.8
1985 22.2 16 9.1 2.8
1986 24.4 17.5 9.4 2.7
1987 25.2 16.2 8.8 2.7
1988 27.9 16.3 8.6 2.6
1989 31.6 16.4 8 2.3
1990 36.1 17.4 8.2 2.3
1991 42.7 18 7.5 2.1
1992 39.6 16.4 7.2 2.1
1993 42.8 15.6 7 2.2
1994 40.8 14.9 6.8 1.8
1995 37.8 13.9 6.4 1.8
1996 36.9 12.8 5.8 1.7
1997 34 12.3 5.2 1.7
1998 31.8 12 5.3 1.5
1999 28.5 10.9 4.7 1.5
2000 28.1 11.5 4.8 1.4
2001 28.4 12.1 4.8 1.3
2002 26.9 12.8 4.9 1.3
2003 26.7 12.7 5 1.4
2004 25.2 12.6 5 1.4
2005 26.5 13.5 5.1 1.4

The Times implies that the only reason for an Iraq vet to murder anyone is combat stress from being in Iraq.  Averaging the government data for 1002-2005 shows, however, that of every 100,000 people aged 18-24, 26.74 of them committed murder each year.  Of 100,000 people aged 25-34, 12.75 can be expected to commit murder each year.

Soldiering is a young person's affair; our military people in Iraq are of the prime age for committing murder back in the US.  Assuming that half our combat troops fall into the 18-24 group and the other half in the 25-34 group, we can expect 19.7 murders per 100,000 military people.

Thus, the 1,378,014 active duty military in 2005 could be expected to commit 270 murders or so per year regardless of having been in Iraq.  If the Times is correct about Iraq veterans committing 121 murders, the numbers are far lower than we'd expect.

Not only that, some of the incidents the Times describes as "murder" might have been legitimate acts of self-defense.  For the Times to imply that Iraq veterans commit murder only because they've been in Iraq is irresponsible journalism.  It appears, however, that any criticism of President Bush is fit to print whether it's true or not.

This is a self-correcting problem -- the Times is losing market share as readers discover their bias.  But so long as they're in business, they're doing the truth a serious disservice.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
Will is dead on taking the Times to task for their misuse of data. Headlines are sometimes the only part of an article read and can be definitely taken out of context. Obviously, the Times correspondents know little about statistics and the editors suffer likewise. However, Will's use of active duty deaths in comparing the administrations of Bush and Reagan is also wanting. If you compare the standard deviations of deaths between Reagan and Bush, you see a great difference. The Bush administration std. dev. is much higher because his first years are Clintonesque, then he commits our soldiers to action as police in Iraq. To get his "average % death rate", should Will have averaged his data for the Bush administration? Probably not. They represent distinctly different periods. Look at the last three years.... are they different from the first? You bet! Are they higher than the rates from the Reagan era? Incredibly!! Stat tests support this, but who needs stats to explain that!? We're at war! People will get hurt, especially if the politicians don't get out of the way and let the army do its job. Careful with your stats, Will. You get an "A" for your discussion of domestic murder rates and another "A" for catching the Times taking numbers out of context. However, your administration comparison seems to borrow a line from the Times........
January 15, 2008 5:08 PM
Ha! Mathematicians of the world unite! I get love when people start talking about the differences in standard deviation.

On a side note, it says wonders that the current numbers are as low as they are when we are in the middle of a war. Does the US even think that we are?
January 15, 2008 5:17 PM
In an article "The Wacko Vet Myth" on Jan 16, 2008, p A12, the Wall Street Journal took the New York Times to task for treating veterans as stereotypes. The sort of yellow journalism we see from the Times isn't new - according to the WSJ,

"As early as World War I, the American Legion passed a resolution urging reporters 'to subordinate whatever slight news value there may be in playing up the ex-service member angle in in stories of crimes or offense against the peace.' In 2006, the Veterans of Foreign Wars bemoaned the 'wacko vet myth.'"

The WSJ was particularly displeased that the Times admitted that they hadn't collected official homicide data as Scragged did but had relied on news reports. In other words, the WSJ said, "The Times is purporting to test a media stereotype by measuring its presence in the media. ... the Times hasn't necessarily proved that the stereotype is true, only that it is a stereotype."

Scragged got there first. Go for it!
January 17, 2008 1:31 PM
I would imagine, as many readers might, that the pointing out of the statistics for veterans is an another attempt to parallel the Iraq war with Vietnam and PTSD cases stemming from that war. While this isn't exactly new, it is a well known trumpet blown by Leftists.
While I consider myself just right of center, I see that there may be a few things learned from Vietnam that need to be applied to the Iraq war, but I can't quite see the parallels imagined by today's media. Is this just me? Maybe.
The point is, we are seeing a common leftist agenda in media today, and especially print media (newspapers, magazines, etc). While I consider "blogs" and on-line content 'print' as well, there is an independent feel to this medium that seems to be edited out of physical media today.
I guess, I say all of that to say, I agree. The Times does a disservice to itself every time they print this type of torment.
January 17, 2008 3:30 PM
So we should all go to Iraq, where we will be safe!
January 28, 2008 9:05 PM
We need to put Clinton back in office at this rate! Also notice the trends. The percentage is high in the 80's with Regan, starts dropping with Bush, hit's it's lowest with Clinton and when Bush Jr starts... well it took 14 years to cut that percentage in half and he jacked it back up to the previous levels in just three or four years. Definately blame it on the war.

I'm missing a connection between how the number of people to die in the army each year relates to the fact that they're commiting homicide in the country they're serving in. I bet that in the Vietnam wars that number was staggering but it never got published to my knowledge. There was no way to check.

I think the problem might not be with misconstruing the numbers but trying to make things relate properly in context. There are stress factors, related events and the fact that in the middle east they're doing much worse to their own people. Problem is their people aren't going to fight back. If a civilian kills another murderer is it that much of a crime? If a murderer kills a murderer?
February 10, 2008 1:07 PM
The averages for the Bush era are calculated incorrectly. (819+999+1228+1874+1942+1858)/6 = 1453 (and not 1150 as claimed). Similarly, (0.00643+0.0708+0.0863+0.1328+0.1409+0.1348)/6 = 0.0954 (and not 0.0825). If you present all these table at least get the calculations right. Btw, no time or interest to go through the rest, but you should...
March 30, 2008 3:52 AM
The NY Sun confirmed what scragged said about military casualties being LOWER under Bush. Being at war is safer than being at peace it would seem.

It's amazing that the media would admit that. The Sun must not be mainstream......
July 8, 2008 11:03 AM
"It's amazing that the media would admit that. The Sun must not be mainstream."

Don't worry. It isn't.
July 8, 2008 11:10 AM
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