Men die unnecessarily in military training. Why? Because the military is a bureaucracy and bureaucracies make otherwise normal people behave as if they were stupid or uncaring. More people die in the military bureaucracy than in other types of bureaucracies because the military has a macho self-image and their efforts to live up to that image often mean taking imprudent chances or being biased in favor of dealing with all difficulty or danger with toughness. In many cases, no amount of toughness could have saved the military personnel in question from injury or death.
I hope that by calling attention to these stupid injuries and deaths that I will help get the military to clean up its act. But I will not hold my breath. This crap has been going on for centuries in the military. Second best result would be to save the lives of prospective military personnel who will read this and decide these clowns are too incompetent for me to trust them with my life.
The email that circulated in March, 2008 about the number of active-duty military deaths in the last five administrations
Below is a table from a report that has been partially circulated through emails. The email version shows the totals, but not the causes of death and thereby suggests that George W. Bush had fewer military deaths per year than his four predecessors in spite of the Iraq and Afghan wars. True, but I immediately wanted to know the causes of the deaths in the non-war years. Accident is the main cause of active-duty serviceperson deaths except during the Iraq/Afghan years. The fact that there have long been too many deaths by accident in the U.S. military is the point of this article and of the two articles to which there are links above.
I read the entire report and found the table below which breaks the deaths down by cause. One interesting thing that I found was that only about 2,500 have died as a result of hostile action in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the 4,000-dead Iraq-only figure the Left loves to talk about.
Also, the main reason for the relatively high numbers of non-hostile-action deaths in the Reagan years is the relatively large size of the U.S. military back then—about 2,000,000 active duty personnel. Since the end of the Reagan Administration, the number on active duty in the U.S. military has declined gradually to the current level of approximately 1.4 million. The deaths caused by accident as well as homicide, illness, suicide have generally been proportional to the number of people in the military. A similar chart could probably be made for the U.S. Postal Service with similar numbers of deaths per thousand employees. The only meaningful columns are those for “Hostile Action” and “Terrorist Attack” (which I would have thought was a hostile attack).
By the way, in spite of urging readers to check the FAS.org Web site to confirm the numbers, the email has incorrect figures for 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006.
Table 5. U.S. Active Duty Military Deaths, 1980 Through 2006,
Part II, Cause of Death
Source: Defense Manpower Data Center, Statistical Information Analysis Division,
[http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/Death_Rates.pdf], accessed on June 27, 2007.
Note: As of February 28, 2007 (reflects preliminary counts for 2006 and revised figures for 2004 and 2005).