Oct 27 2009

Context And Perspective: Swine Flu & Afghanistan

The news media lives off exaggeration and hype. They continuously apply their ignorance on all things scientific to create searing headlines to generate business and money. They should understand that this irresponsible behavior of yelling ‘fire’ when there is barely any smoke is one of the many things that have turned Americans off to their shoddy products.

One of the things I think this blog brings to the daily drama queen balls playing out in the news media is some context and perspective. So let me start by comparing two of the big headlines causing a lot of useless hand wringing and panic.

Let’s begin with Afghanistan and the blaring headlines of impending doom. To date 825 American have died in that conflict, with the death toll rising in the past months to around 40-50 per month. that would equate to 600 deaths this year if it were to be sustained (and it will probably not be).

Each death is tragic, but this is not a war we are losing. We only lose wars when we lose our resolve to win them. This is not cause to yell ‘fire’.

Now let’s compare those numbers to the swine flu deaths in the US. To date 1,000 people have succumbed, many due to other complicating conditions which has weakened their ability to fend of the flu.

Is it really stunning that we have lost more people to the swine flu than in Afghanistan? Does this make the swine flu extremely deadly? Is this akin to being in a losing war?

No, it does not because the swine flu has yet to do as much damage as the normal annual flu does world wide in any given year:

So far about 1,000 people have died from swine flu-related complications in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Globally, the World Health Organization claims about 5,000 deaths were linked to the disease.


But on average, the CDC claims 36,000 deaths each year are linked to the seasonal flu.

Not even close to a ‘fire’.

So why all the hype and angst? Well, a cynical observer would note that neither Afghanistan nor the swine flu rise to the level of the human toll from the normal flu season. Is this just to sell news by yelling ‘fire’?

Well I am going to go uber-cynical here and note a few things that may have escaped casual observation.

  1. The President and his team are well aware of the schedule for distributing swine flu vaccines. Therefore, they know the bulk of the vaccines are not distributed to the general public for some weeks to come
  2. The President just issued a medical emergency regarding the swine flu, even though the data doesn’t show it yet rising to levels more serious than the seasonal flew
  3. The President’s team should damn well know that a declaration of a medical emergency would naturally cause a run by the public to get vaccinated, even though they also know the supplies have not been distributed yet to meet such demand.

One can only conclude from these actions, and this context, someone is trying to create an impression that there is an emergency which our health care system is incapable of addressing. Is it not interesting to consider how that impression might play out during this key phase of debate regarding health care reform?

Cynical? – Yes. Beyond what power hungry pols inhabiting DC and the Political Industrial Complex might try?

I’ll let you good folks decide that one.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Context And Perspective: Swine Flu & Afghanistan”

  1. stevevvs says:

    We are winning in Afghanistan?

    By what metrics?

    The “Plan” is to share power with the Taliban, how does that work for ya?



    It seems to me Mission Creep took over what we went there for.

  2. stevevvs says:

    AJ: Each death is tragic, but this is not a war we are losing. We only lose wars when we lose our resolve to win them.

    I’d argue, by ignoring what drives these people from day one, we never had the resolve to win. It’s not a War On “Terror” terror is a tactic. We never could name the enemy, instead we reached out to the enemy.

    We were attacked from within. The enemy was here then, and is still here now. 14v of the 19 hijackers were from the House of Saud, yet Saudi Arabia was never held responsible.

    Instead of stopping Middle Eastern Immigration, we increased it. Instead of really looking at Middle Eastern Men at Airports, we feel up Grandma’s and Children. Instead of prosecuting the Flying E Moms, we settle, and give them cash.

    Instead of shutting down the Wahabie Corridor, we hold Ramadon Dinners all over D.C.

    I’d argue that our Soldiers, Sailors and Marines never lost their resolve. Rather, our Politicians never really had it.

    The Bush Administration purchased thousand of books on Islam, yet read none. Simbolism over Substance.

  3. stevevvs says:

    Whoops! 14 of the 19, it should have read. Take care, I’m out of here. Enjoy your day folks.

  4. kathie says:

    It seems that the president creates a crisis around everything.

  5. […] matched set on the swine flu:  AJ Strata about manipulation to denigrate American health care and Power Line on the real failure. Share With […]

  6. AJStrata says:


    Probably because he is a rolling crisis.

  7. KauaiBoy says:

    Cynical would be that bobo is creating a pandemic which he will then cure so he can win the Nobel prize in medicine.

    Cynical would be the swine flu vaccine is actually a live virus that will cause you to behave like a communist pig. My guess is they have isolated and mutated the virus that caused BDS rather than develop a cure for BDS.

    As to Afghanistan, it is an international police action and a great place for our troops to get trained up. Unlike the Brits and Russians, our troops have a reason to be over there and can justify their actions as protecting their country from the criminals who successfully attacked it. The Brits and Russians never had that motivation or resolve. Nor did Alexander the Great if you want to go back that far.

  8. kathie says:

    The one area that the President doesn’t approach as a crisis is Afghanistan. That thinking is “thoughtful, non-pressured, deliberate”. He said he would not send soldiers into harms way without everything they need and a plan. I guess the soldiers that are there he believes that Bush sent most of them so he doesn’t have to worry about those guys, 22 have been killed in the last 2 days. He complains about Bush who had no strategy, yet he lets months pass with no strategy. He puts McCrystal in place and then pulls the rug out from under him. Did Bush suggest McCrystal? Did Obama know the difference between counter terror/insurgency strategy? Or did Bush recommend McCryatal for a new strategy, that now Obama is afraid to implement? Yet he has been thinking about this war for 2 years. No crisis here man!

    Is anyone going to stand up and say Bush did not twiddle his fingers for 8 years? How do the morons think that Karzai and a constitution got there? Does anybody ask why was fairly quiet in Afghanistan while war in Iraq was raging. Does anybody ask what in the hell were the non-fighting members of NATO doing for the last 8 years? After all we have had a coalition of countries in Afghanistan from the beginning. The non-fighting members were suppose to train military and police and build roads, schools etc.
    What reporter will ask why Obama and his guys lied about what Bush left them, the review that Bush did, before he left office. Why the lie. They did it do easily!!!!!!!!

  9. KauaiBoy says:

    The decision to delay making a decision is his decision. Which is the same as not listening to his generals. Wait until it is too late or things have gotten much worse is his approach so the decision to throw good money after bad doesn’t need to be made. This coward is more afraid of the low life liberals back home than about head chopping neanderthals. Well at least the first year of this experiment is almost over.

  10. kathie says:

    Gunfire heard in central Kabul, large plume of smoke rises over the city.
    10/27/2009 7:33:11 PM PDT · by Jet Jaguar
    AP via Breitbart ^ | October 27, 2009 | N/A
    Title only. Breaking

    So John Kerry might think he did a good thing getting Karzai to call for another election, but it is going to get alot of people killed. Voting one time was hard enough for many, lots of people lost fingers for voting. This time they will loose their life.

    And now John Kerry is the new top dog in fighting wars. Now what could go wrong? That was a rhetorical question, Kerry has been wrong on every conflict, every step of the way. What a mess!

  11. crosspatch says:

    Completely off topic:

    I have a very dear friend of many years whose son was severely injured. He was riding a skateboard, had no helmet on, wiped out and his head hit the curb of the street. He has been in a coma for over two weeks now, is in intensive care at Stanford University hospital. I don’t care what your spiritual values are, he could use them all. Send a prayer, vibes, chant, or just do whatever it is you do. He is 19 has had a good bit of his frontal lobes mashed up and currently has an infection in his brain and we won’t know if he is even going to make it for a couple more days. His name is Damian and he is a really great kid. My friend home-schooled him since first grade (she actually got her state teaching credentials in order to home school her kids).

    And if you see a kid out there without a helmet, yell at ’em.

  12. AJStrata says:

    CP, Count me in as praying for young Damian (one year younger than our son).