Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Thursday, January 22, 2004  

I wasn't the only one to notice those funny numbers in the State of the Union speech. Today's Boston Globe examines the same questions. On the issue of jobs, apparently the 1,000 are a net gain (though how such a thing could be measured down to the job remains mysterious).

Nevertheless, the economy produced an anemic 1,000 jobs in December. And while unemployment dropped from 5.9 percent to 5.7 percent last month, economists say the slight decrease is due to the fact that long-term unemployed people have stopped looking for work.

Things are dicier on the 35 troop-contributing countries (my count yesterday was a nation shy).

Yet the total of 35 force-contributing countries can be deceiving. While the United States has roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq, there are about 25,000 troops from other countries. The United Kingdom has contributed roughly 11,000 troops, making them easily the second-largest source of military forces. While a few other countries -- Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Ukraine, for example -- have made contributions that number more than 1,000 troops, most have made only token contributions, according to a compilation by, a defense-oriented think tank in Virginia. Norway, for example, has contributed 104 engineers. Macedonia has contributed approximately 28 people.

Wait a second. Engineers? People? Let's review the tape of Bush's claim: "This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq." Let's see, troops=people. Well, it's not as big a lie as last year's Niger claim. I guess that's improvement.

The Globe doesn't touch on the tax cuts for the poor, but does mention a few other items. I guess we'll file 'em all in the Dubious Claims Department.

posted by Jeff | 9:28 AM |
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