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March 14, 2008


To repost my own comment at cleek's place:

If I were slightly younger and not employed here…

Dude, you’re the fncking deciderator Commander-in-Chief boy-god-king. If you want to jump in a Humvee with an M-16 and do a little Taliban hunting, you can. In fact I encourage you to do so. Really. You can earmark my taxes for it to defray the cost. And if you need a little extra I’m sure I can take up a collection.

It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic…

Romantic, yes. That’s what I was thinking watching, say, the opening battle scene in Saving Private Ryan. “Look! Romance!”

In nine months he'll be out of a job. He could volunteer then and go do relief work in Afghanistan.

He's in good physical shape, they could find something useful for him to do.

I still remember his comparing his brush-clearing accident to a combat injury while at a military hospital. I'm sure the amputees listening found that a real knee slapper.

to repost my own comment from my place:

What a tool.

I miss Andrew Olmsted.

Good news from Scott Horton, closing with the line “a very bad day for President Bush. We need more like them.”
Congress held on the telecom bill.

Apparently this is what Bush plans once he leaves the White House.

From my own personal experience, at the age of 19, the romance dies the first time you get in a firefight. Of course, it could be that I'm just not that darn romantic to begin with.

The Scott Horton piece. Sorry about the slip.

The next president should appoint Boy Blunder tp the US consolate in Baghdad and see if the coward would go.

What's striking is the NONE of the Bush or Cheney men have had the balls to serve in Mr. Bush's wars. At least Prince Harry did his bit for England.
Come to think of it, why restrict to balls- bearers. These are modern times, and the Bush girls are of age. Lets see how proud they are of their country and their President.

John T: every day.

I usually do'nt comment, I lurk. But this post got to me. I enlisted in the USMC in 1965, upon graduation from high school. In 1966 I went to Viet Nam and killed a whole bunch of people for no good reason ,as it turned out. For GW Bush to say how romantic it would be to particpate in killing a whole bunch of other people (for some reason) is disgusting. He never put it on the line, or his advisors, and was a coward when he could have done so.

Andrew Olmsted was a hero.

Bush's hypocracy is almost too painful, and infuriating, to comment on. There is nothing "romantic" about getting your legs blown off or suffering traumatic brain injury from an IED. Yet is is precisely this kind of fantasy mindset that allows Bush to expose our soldiers to such horrors day after day, then discard them like broken toys when they can no longer function.

I ofter wonder what Bush Senior really thinks of his nutjob son. The father had his flaws, but the pair remind me of Marcus Aurelius and Commodous.

“You” is not you personally here hilzoy – “you” is anyone repeating this meme. You know I respect you immensely so don’t take this personally. Besides – I have to disagree with you from time to time or I will lose all credibility with the wingnuts. ;)

You all should know by now that I am sick of W and regret having voted for him. However…

If you think that flying the F-102A and pulling interceptor duty is the same thing as never having served then I say you are wrong wrong wrong.

The F-102A was never a great jet and it was being put out to pasture a decade before W ever saw one. It was deployed to Vietnam throughout most of our involvement there, and it played a critical role as an interceptor – it was built to intercept Soviet bombers. How long do you figure it took (back then) for a supersonic Soviet bomber to get from Cuba to the US mainland? Preventing that was the mission of the TANG. At the time Bush enlisted, the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group was in Vietnam pulling combat missions. Forget the 15 F-102s lost in Vietnam – the lifetime accident rate for F-102s was 13.7 per 100,000 flight hours. For comparison:

F-15: 2.47
F-16: 4.14
F-18: 4.9
F-117: 4.07

F-102: 13.7

There were 875 F-102A production models. 259 of them (30%) were lost due to accidents during training or intercept missions (not combat related) killing 70 pilots. Bush logged 278 flight hours in the F-102.

So – are you willing to do something on a regular basis that carries a 30% risk of death? If someone does that are they somehow avoiding service? At the peak of the Vietnam War (68-69), we were losing on average 1,500 per month out of a total force of 500,000 (ground forces). If you were a grunt at the height of the Vietnam War, you had a .3% chance of dying serving your country. If you were W, you had a 30% chance – 100 times greater.

And no I don’t care to discuss whether he completed his commitment or not. Bush logged 278 flight hours in the F-102 – period. Every time he went up he had almost a 1 in 3 chance of making a large splash in the Gulf of Mexico or creating a rather large divot somewhere in Texas. If unknown Lt. John Doe had done that would we mock him for it?

I gave up trying to get the links through but if anyone questions any of this I’ll try to post links one by one…

OCSteve, Bush specifically made reference to serving on the front lines. Regardless of how dangerous training in an F-102 was, it was nevertheless several thousand miles away from the front lines. Which is everyone's point.

OCS Steve,

The correct comparison is not a 30% chance of death for W, because 30% of the aircraft crashed over their history. The correct comparison would be those 70 deaths vs the entire group of F102 pilots. I would be very surprised to learn that that population had a 30% death rate from flying the F-102.

I am at work and lack enough google time now to locate the total number of F102 pilots.

Donald Clarke

P.S. I know some F102s were exported. Was that 30% figure against US F102s or the entire population? Foreign maintainance and training standards may be different. See the F104 and compare German and Norwegian loss rates.

plus, a plane failure does not guarantee death for the pilot. flying one of them for TANG was a risky job, sure. but it was a lot less risky than what people like McCain did.

If you think that flying the F-102A and pulling interceptor duty is the same thing as never having served then I say you are wrong wrong wrong.

Fair enough. He flew the plane.

An accident rate of 13.7 per 100,000 hours means one accident approximately every 7300 hours. Bush flew 278 hours. I make his risk at about .04%, which is, still, higher than that of the average serviceman in country during Vietnam.

Were there Russian nuclear bombers stationed in Cuba at the time? If so, did any Russian bomber based in Cuba ever attempt to cross US airspace? Could be so, I just don't know.

Nobody ever took a shot at GW Bush.

I appreciate your sticking up for the guys who actually put their butts on the line, but Bush really does strike me as a dick.

Thanks -

Phil: Oh I don’t disagree that it was a stupid remark, an offensive remark even - especially in light of the controversy over his service, and most especially as he is the CiC responsible for this war. No disagreement there.

Donald: 30% was the entire production run of 102s. And you are correct of course that 30% does not represent the death rate of pilots who flew it overall. (259 crashes – 70 deaths.)

Russell: Bush really does strike me as a dick

Me too.

OCSteve: I didn't mean he did nothing at all, and I certainly didn't mean to slight the planes. :) Just that Bush had the chance to do this romantic, exciting thing, and help make history, and all that, and oddly enough, he passed. And now that he's completely out of danger, he says he just wishes he could do it.

When I think of the people who are actually doing that non-romantic, exciting-in-all-the-wrong-ways work, putting their lives on the line, getting limbs blown off, coming back with PTSD, and then I think of Bush talking about how, gosh, he just wishes he could be there too -- it makes me feel sick.

Thats all. :)

Hilzoy: And now that he's completely out of danger, he says he just wishes he could do it.

Actually I can understand that sentiment very well. You don’t actually wish you had seen combat of course. But a part of you always wonders how you would have reacted. It occurs to me from time to time, especially today. What would I have done? Would I have acquitted myself OK? Or would I have p*ssed my pants and run away? I think that preparing for that moment and then never facing it leaves you wondering the rest of your life. But it’s the kind of thing that should remain in your head and not come spilling out at an inappropriate time… So yeah, what he said was dumb.


You're right about the planes Bush flew.

When Bush Senior kasplashed into the ocean in WWII, I'm pretty sure he didn't get hauled up on deck and say "Boys, now THAT was romance!"

I might have pi#$ed in my pants and run away, too, if I was brave enough to go into combat. I wonder, too.

Lots of war heros pissed in their pants and didn't run away. Pissing in your pants is the normal human response.

Not that old romantic feeling.

Which I know you know.

While I have some agreement with OCSteve about the F-102, it should be noted that the crash rate of those is aggregate, over the service life of the airplane. Like most aircraft, the F-102 crashed lots more frequently early in its service life than it did later, because there were bugs to be ironed out. I looked into this a few years back, and although the F-102 was much safer when Bush was flying them than, for instance, in the couple of years after the production line started up, they were still more dangerous to fly than any of our modern fighters.

That's my memory talking, though. Once upon a time there was detailed historical data to be had on the web.

There is a meaningful distinction between a conscript army and a volunteer one. I long ago concluded that I could not begrudge anyone for the actions they took during Vietnam not to be physically forced to the far corners of the Earth to fight in a failed and amoral war. That was true for Clinton, and it should be true even when the man in question is Mr. Bush.

Warmongering son of a bitch makes it hard, though, don't he?

"There were 875 F-102A production models. 259 of them (30%) were lost due to accidents during training or intercept missions (not combat related) killing 70 pilots."

"If you were W, you had a 30% chance – 100 times greater."

I was going to reply to this, but I see that Donald Clarke and russell have already pointed out that, in fact, this math is wildly wrong, by several orders of magnitude. (And also Slarti's point.)

.04% is four thousandths of a 30 percent chance of death.

But, aside from getting it wrong in that it's one thousand times less risky than you stated, your point is otherwise correct that Bush did risk his life in that interceptor (which I thought was really cool as a kid: what did I know about air-safety records when I was 8? It looked cool).

It's already pointed out that Steve's 30% chance of dying in a crash would only apply if W had decided to become an F-102, rather than an F-102 pilot. Fascinating how an (apparently) reasonably intelligent man can become mathematically inept when the numbers point the wrong way.

Had W decided to become a coal miner for a year instead, incidentally, his chance of death would have been 0.2%. (One death per million hours worked in 1970, according to the MSHA. Multiply that by a 2000-hour working year.)

So... it was almost as dangerous (given a peak death rate of 0.3% in 1968-9 in VN) for the characters in "The Deer Hunter" to stay in Pennsylvania and go down the pit as it was for them to enlist and go to Vietnam.

glblank: The next president should appoint Boy Blunder tp the US consolate in Baghdad and see if the coward would go.

Nice idea, but only if it was certain that he wouldn't. Too important a job to be given to anyone with a track record of miserable failure at everything he's attempted. OTOH, he could always be sent out for the romantic job of checking the roads for explosive devices: that only requires the ability to drive, and Bush can usually manage that: I think in the past seven years his road accident record is only one policeman injured, no deaths.

Does anybody know of a separate source for this, I have a wingnut I need to embarrass, and I know I'm going to get a "Reuters.. BAH!. You can't let these morons think there's light at the end of the BullshœT.

The only slot that Bush is capable of filling in a TOE is the bayonet dummy

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