Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Micronesian Paradise - for U.S. Military Recruiters

Time Magazine article "A Micronesian Paradise - for U.S. Military Recruiters" (December 31st, 2009) is noisome in its abuse of statistics to insinuate fleecing by the U.S. military of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), associated states of the U.S. It notes higher participation rates per individual on Yap, an FSM member. It continues by noting higher military deaths per individual on Yap.
In 2008, the country had more Army recruits per capita than any U.S. state. It also has more casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, per capita. The islands have lost nine soldiers in the wars out of a population of 107,000 — a rate five times the U.S. national average. (Only American Samoa has lost more soldiers, per capita, among U.S. territories.)
We would expect these statistics if FSM soldiers were equally likely to be killed in combat as any other state's soldier. Time Magazine is only showing that exactly what one would expect should happen if all soldiers are treated fairly is indeed occurring, as dictated by the below definitions of Yap recruits per capita, and Yap military deaths per capita.  We can see military deaths per capita is dependent on Yap recruits per capita and a constant (if the military treats recruits fairly).

The proper statistic to compare if we are concerned about fairness is military deaths per Yap recruit compared to military deaths per other country recruit, which Time does not comment on.

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