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Troops in Iraq getting fatter - or are they?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Little-Acorn, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    It's always a hoot to see leftists bending over backwards and twist themselves into pretzel shapes, trying to find "reasons" to denigrate the military.

    The effort goes on unabated:

    -------------------------------------------

    http://opinionjournal.com

    from "Best of the Web Today"

    Heavy Infantry

    Is the Iraq war fattening? That's USA Today's ludicrous claim.

    By JAMES TARANTO

    We've gotten used to journalists acting as lazy propagandists against the Iraq war effort, but yesterday's piece by USA Today's Gregg Zoroya takes the cake, stuffs its face with it, and goes back for seconds. "Pentagon Reports U.S. Troop Obesity Doubles Since 2003," reads the headline. For years the Angry Left has insisted that the liberation of Iraq was illegal and immoral, but Zoroya may be the first to claim it is fattening:

    The number of troops diagnosed as overweight or obese has more than doubled since the start of the Iraq war, yet another example of stress and strains of continuing combat deployments, according to a recent Pentagon study.

    Zoroya seems not to have noticed how astonishingly counterintuitive this assertion is. Obesity is in large part a product of inactivity. Being deployed in a war zone entails many hazards, but becoming a couch potato is not ordinarily one of them. If servicemen really are packing on the pounds while deployed in Iraq, it doesn't mean they're too stressed out, but that they don't have enough to do over there.

    As it turns out, however, Zoroya's story is remarkably thin. Just for starters, the headline is wrong in declaring that obesity has doubled. Here's what the piece actually says:

    From 1998 to 2002, the number of servicemembers diagnosed as overweight remained steady at about one or two out of 100. But those numbers increased after 2003, according to the study, and today nearly one in 20 are diagnosed as clinically overweight.

    Zoroya's lead paragraph conflates "overweight" and "obese," and the headline writer settled on the latter, which is both more sensational and a shorter word. But all the study finds is that the percentage of overweight servicemen has increased, to 5% from 1% or 2%. The military has physical-fitness requirements, so that the likelihood of a soldier being obese is quite slim.

    By contrast, Zoroya writes, "one in five Americans between ages 18 to 34 is obese, the study says." In other words, by the study's numbers, a young American adult not in the service is four times as likely to be obese as a military man is to be overweight.

    We couldn't locate a copy of the study online. The Web page of the Army's Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, which published it, has not been updated in a year. We've emailed the editors to ask for a copy. In the meantime, though, Zoroya's story raises more questions than it answers. Michael Kilpatrick, a physician with the Military Health System, explains the report's methodology:

    There may be even more overweight troops than the report shows, Kilpatrick said, because the study includes only servicemembers diagnosed as overweight during a visit with a doctor. The actual percentage of troops who are found to be overweight during fitness trials could be higher, he said.

    Then again, it could be lower. And could there be a selection bias at work here? Two obvious questions occur to us:

    First, are the numbers adjusted for age? If not, it may be that the expanding number of overweight soldiers is a function of the average soldier's being older, as a result of higher re-enlistment and the deployment of reserve and National Guard units into active duty.

    Second, are servicemen--and especially older servicemen--more likely to be examined by military physicians during wartime than peacetime?

    The most amusing flaw in this story, though, is that Zoroya quotes the study as saying the exact opposite of what the reporter claims it says:

    "Stress and return from deployment were the most frequently cited reasons" for gaining weight, the study said.

    Not deployment--return from deployment. This makes perfect sense: On coming home after months in a war zone to the land of McDonald's, home cooking and adult beverages, who wouldn't indulge enough to put on some pounds?

    Turns out the imminent threat to our servicemen's waistlines is not the Iraq war, but President Obama's promise to end it.
     
  2. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    Its always funny watching Republicans try to find ways to kill our troops..


    Since you want to make dumb ass statements , I figure I will just make a equally dumb one.

    The whole liberals hate our troops crap, is just one more straw man for you. Ignorance is not a conservative value last I checked, but sometimes it seems that way...sadly.
     
  3. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    Mine was dumb in that, while being true, it was repetitively obvious.

    Yours was dumb in that it was not only wrong, it was a deliberate lie.

    You win.

    Actually it's your strawman, since I never said it.

    Another of the many differences between conservatives and liberals.

    :D
     
  4. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    realy so it was not you who said "It's always a hoot to see leftists bending over backwards and twist themselves into pretzel shapes, trying to find "reasons" to denigrate the military."?
     
  5. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    Thanx for changing the subject back to what I actually said.

    Now let's see how long you can stay on it.

    Carry on.
     
  6. Mr. Shaman

    Mr. Shaman New Member

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    ....So says The Murdoch Street Journal.

    :rolleyes:
     
  7. Mr. Shaman

    Mr. Shaman New Member

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    See: WMD

    :rolleyes:
     
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