Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 25, 2007
POLITICS: Webb's Fiction

Jonah Goldberg notes that while Jim Webb was citing a single, flimsy poll to suggest military disagreement with the Iraq War generally, among the details he left out was this, from the same poll: "Almost half of those responding think we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now."

UPDATE: Greyhawk has more detailed analysis. I don't doubt that there are liberal, antiwar Democrats in the military just like anywhere else, but it's silly to suggest that anything like a majority of the military is where Webb is on the war. The problem with the Democrats' worship of identity politics (e.g., the "chickenhawk" meme) is that it requires them to believe that the people fighting the war agree with them.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:18 PM | Politics 2007 | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

"Almost half of those responding think we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now."

That means that more than half think we need fewer or no troops there.

Plus, a politician using only poll numbers they like? Is that a first? Or the first time today.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at January 26, 2007 9:20 AM

We can't trust Jim Webb, but we can trust Jonah Goldberg.

Glad I got that straight! LOL.

Posted by: Mike at January 26, 2007 10:19 AM

Daryl needs to take a course in logic. He totally discounts the possibility that some might think we don't need more troops or less troops.

Posted by: Finrod at January 26, 2007 12:31 PM

No Finrod, not logic. Look at the wording. When you say "Almost half," that means there is another subset (or more than one subset) that means "More than half." Uh, like the number of votes Al Gore got (sorry, couldn't resist).

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at January 26, 2007 1:46 PM

Daryl, in any poll there are always people who respond "I don't know" or don't respond to a question. If you go read the original article, it says "On many questions in the poll, some respondents said they didnít have an opinion or declined to answer. That number was typically in the 10 percent range. But on questions about the president and on war strategy, that number reached 20 percent and higher." Given that, having "almost" half agree on something is definitely a statement.

Sounds like it's not logic, but statistics that you need coursework in.

Posted by: Wacky Hermit at January 26, 2007 2:34 PM

I wasn't discussing statistics, but the use of the words "Almost half" as though to signify a large majority. So in that context, almost half can also mean "less than half," or "only a minority." I'm not a statistician, and don't want to be.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at January 26, 2007 2:45 PM

Daryl, your statement was that if almost half think we need more troops, then 'more than half', or everyone else, thinks we need less or no troops.

That means you're presuming that everyone answered and that their answers were one of: need more troops, need less troops, need all troops out.

That, my friend, is total bunk. Not only are you ignoring the ones that did not answer, you're presuming that everyone that answered disagrees with the President about troop levels. Granted, everyone in your little echo chamber may think that way, so that may lead to your limited thinking. But this isn't your echo chamber and some of us do not criticize every decision the President makes. Your presumptions belie your very limited world view.

Posted by: Finrod at January 26, 2007 2:48 PM

But, Finrod, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin if "nearly half" don't dance at all?

Meanwhile, a few more American soldiers just died while you & Wacky Hermit harangued Daryl for daring to suggest what every honest American knows: the majority of us want the troops out of Iraq. But go on playing you silly little logic/statistics games.

Or better yet, why not head down to your local recruiter and join up?

Posted by: Mike at January 26, 2007 4:04 PM

Mike,I appreciate the defense, but I guess I should write more clearly. I could care less about the stats, or what we should or shouldn't do (for this discussion). My only point was I felt it was disingenouous to say "Nearly half" making it sound like a resounding majority.

For all I know, 49.9% said send more, 25% said bring them home, and 25.1% said bring them donuts. It's not my point.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at January 26, 2007 6:03 PM

If you want to fight go join the army! Since the November election I have read four books by James Webb. I finished reading "The Emperor's General" a few hours after the SOTU speech. James Webb's rebuttal was the speech of the night Tuesday. Why isn't Webb our president? The Senator's books are full of sexual scenarios that make Bill Clinton look like a virgin.

Posted by: yetijuice at January 26, 2007 6:10 PM

I don't know tons about Jim Webb but I do know I saw a speech by W that was mostly utter crap and could not have been less inspiring or passionless and I saw (OK, heard) a terrific speech by Jim Webb that I would say spoke to the hearts, minds and values of far more people than Bush's target audience.

And Finrod, clearly the gist of most of this thread was that Crank put something up there that made it seem like "almost half" is a majority when in fact 25.1 is technically closer to half than zero.

Posted by: jim at January 26, 2007 7:08 PM

Let's face it, the real point is that this president has lost so much credibility and support that whatever he wants to do now is too little too late. The republicans are right, that defeat will be pretty catastrophic, but unfortunately, a loss is what we are going to have, thanks to the Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld team. The only sane thing to do now is retire to (redeploy if you like) and protect the Kurd area and let the Sunnis and Shia have at it and rebuild our armed forces for the upcoming show down with Iran. Hopefully by that time we'll have a president that doesn't need to lie, exaggerate, coerce and intimidate to make his case to the american people and who understands that running a war is not the same as running Wallmart.

Posted by: Rene at January 27, 2007 3:19 AM

Bush has shown many the time in the past that he would not be capable of running a Walmart.

Posted by: jim at January 27, 2007 2:15 PM

Bush runs the country for Walmart. Not like Walmart.

Posted by: Mike at January 27, 2007 3:33 PM
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