Barack Obama, to his shame, tried to make political hay out of the news that the suicide rate among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan has increased, by sending an arrogant missive to Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense. That prompted a devastating response from Thomas Sowell. Sowell pointed out, among other things, that the suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan vets is still below the rate for civilians of the same age. In this respect, the story is a fraud in the same way as the New York Times’ effort to portray veterans as homicidal maniacs, which we debunked here.
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.
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