San Diego Soliloquies

Monday, April 19, 2004

Just Another Traffic Accident

So here's a cute little meme scuttling around right-wing heads like a cockroach chased by a flashlight's beam:

    "The casualties we've had (in Iraq) are much more like the casualties for training during peacetime than during war," [Michael - ed] Barone said.

Let me get this straight. The casualties we are suffering right now are "like the casualties for training". Well, Mike, let's take a look at that. The United States Military, Mike, is actually quite concerned about safety, Mike. Here's an example: The 82nd Airborne shutting down operations for all of June 13, 2002 in order to focus on safety training.

Why, Mike? Let them explain:

    During FY01, the Division experienced 525 reportable airborne operations accidents and one (MIRPS) fatal accident. 421 of the reportable accidents were parachute landing fall-related injuries. Also, there were 21 static line injuries, 34 DZ hazard, 11 entanglement, and 6 tree-landing related injuries. Issues that need special attention: PLFs, continue to account for more than 80% of all airborne operations injuries. Static line injuries appear to be on the increase.

Among my military and ex-military freinds there are quite a few trainers. In the military, if you get really good at your job you are picked out to teach others how to do it. Not unusual, most companies do the same. Except that most companies are not training you in ways to stay alive, are not training you in settings where mistakes get you hurt or dead, where grades are not on the curve but binary, you live and get to go home with a whole breathing body. These people I know tend to be extraordinary teachers, because they get reviewed every day. Just count the noses that go into the barracks at night on two feet, then subtract from the number of noses that left the barracks on two feet that morning. Total should be zero. When it's not, the military becomes quite concerned. The trainer responsible can be court-martialed, sometimes kicked out, and sometimes even sent to prison.

So here's a handy guide to tell your fellow citizens apart. If someone tells you that our losses are minimal, no more than training accidents, you now know you are not dealing with a human, but with a disease. This is a creature without thought, compassion or reason. I can't believe someone as stupid as Michael Barone gets a paycheck much less a pundit's gig. Oh wait a minute, he works for Fox News Channel. Never mind.

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