Thursday, December 08, 2005

Reality-based vs. Dangerous delusion-based

I read through both Bubble Boy's and Murtha's comments yesterday. I was much more interested in Murtha's comments, since I have certainly heard Bubble Boy's happy nonsense before.

The thing that struck me in reading Murtha's words was that he was basing all of his recommendations on facts, on reports that he trusted, tangible numbers, verifiable reports.

Such a difference from the horseshit that gets thrown around these days on television, the radio, and the internets.

But let me demonstrate. I went through each speech and pulled out the text in which each speaker used statistics and numbers. Take a look and decide who is more credible.

President Bush Delivers Remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations on the War on Terrorism

...

The city of Najaf is located about 90 miles south of Baghdad.

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In 1991, thousands of Najaf residents were killed during a brutal crackdown by the dictator.

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By late last year, terrorists and Saddamists had gained control of much of Mosul, and they launched a series of car bombings and ambushes, including an attack on a coalition mess tent that killed 14 American servicemembers.

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Turnout for the October referendum was over 50 percent in the province where Mosul is located. That's more than triple the turnout in the January election.

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In the space of two and a half years, we have helped Iraqis conduct nearly 3,000 renovation projects at schools, train more than 30,000 teachers, distribute more than 8 million textbooks, rebuild irrigation infrastructure to help more than 400,000 rural Iraqis and improve drinking water for more than 3 million people.

Our coalition has helped Iraqis introduce a new currency, re-open their stock exchange, extend $21 million in microcredit and small business loans to Iraqi entrepreneurs.

As a result of these efforts and Iraq's newfound freedom, more than 30,000 new Iraqi businesses have registered since liberation. And according to a recent survey, more than three quarters of Iraqi business-owners anticipate growth in the national economy over the next two years.

[Bush did not take questions.]

Rep. Murtha Holds a News Conference to Respond to President Bush's Speech

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Forty thousand troops didn't have body armor.

...

Now, you remember, I wrote to the president in September 4th of 2003. I got a letter back in April 6th, 2004. The president didn't write back. I received a response from a deputy undersecretary -- paints a totally rosy, unrealistic picture, saying 200,000 Iraqis -- now, hear what I'm saying -- 200,000 Iraqis under arms, reconstruction projects and 70 percent of Iraqis feel -- or 2,200 reconstruction projects -- 70 percent of Iraqis feel life is good.

The irony is that this was the month with the most U.S. deaths; 137 were killed. But that's what they wrote to me.

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Now, water production: We put $2.1 billion into water production. They're short of water all over the country. And they have only spent $581 billion -- or $581 million.

...

[Apparently Murtha had a chart. Charts is based on numbers, so he gets credit here.]
This is electricity overview. This is the demand. The yellow line is the demand. The red line is the prewar level. And you can see that occasionally you got up to prewar level. That's the way I measure progress.

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Incidents have increased fivefold in the period of time that -- well, a year ago. A year ago there were five times less than today.

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Right now, GAO says in a report of November -- November? -- November -- we have 112,000 shortages in critical MOSs
[military specialists]. Now, what are those shortages?

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They missed their goal in recruiting by 6,600 this last time.

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[Military recruiters] have lowered the standards. They're accepting 20 percent last year in category four. Now, this is a highly technical service we're dealing with, And yet they lowered the standards to category four, which they said when we had the volunteer army, that would eliminate all the category four.

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For instance, in Fallujah, which happened about the same time -- the first Fallujah happened about the same time as Abu Ghraib -- we put 150,000 people outside their homes in Fallujah.

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Now, let's talk about terrorism versus insurgency in Iraq itself. We think that foreign fighters are about 7 percent -- might be a little bit more, a little bit less.

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But the key elements, as I see it -- you heard him say that 70 percent of the Iraqis were satisfied, in that paper they sent me. Now, you'll see a document that's in this package here that told me six months before -- well, in the victory document he says we have 212,000 people trained now, Iraqi security people. Last year, we had 96,000.

Yet, they wrote to me six months before the last year's statement that said they had 200,000.

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Eighty percent of the people, according to a British poll reported by the Washington Times, says we want the United States out; 77 percent of the people in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt say there's a better chance of democracy if the United States is not there because we're considered occupiers; 45 percent of the people in Iraq think that it's justified to kill Americans.

...

[Answering questions]
Twenty years it's going to take to settle this thing. The American people is not going to put up with it; can't afford it. We have spent $277 billion. That's what's been appropriated for this operation. We have $50 billion sitting on the table right now in our supplemental, or bridge fund we call it, in the Appropriations Committee. They're going to ask for another $100 billion next year.

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And yet the National Guard commander called me and said we need a billion dollars in the budget to take care of activities like Katrina.

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We have a $50 billion backlog of equipment that has to be recapitalized and rehabilitated.

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I think our credibility went up from 90 percent against us in foreign countries to 82 percent against us.

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Most of our bases are in Kuwait and outside of -- it took us over a year to get them out of Desert I, but Desert I had 500,000 troops. And, you know, our ammunition -- it took over a year to get the ammunition out.

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Where I get all my figures: the military.

Let me tell you -- they didn't ask for this $50 billion. We put it in. We talked to them about where it ought to be.

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$8 billion in requests for equipment they need today. Our equipment is absolutely run out. We're running our Bradleys a thousand miles a month, where it used to be a thousand miles a year.

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They didn't ask for the 30,000 troops, as you know. We authorized it. They couldn't meet that quota. They couldn't meet -- they're 10,000 short of the extra people, 6,000 of what we have. National Guard and Reserve are between 80 percent and 84 percent of their goal in recruiting.

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