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## Friday, September 03, 2004

### Chronological index of BeldarBlog posts re SwiftVets versus Kerry

For my own use, I've compiled, and will try to keep updated, an index listing my many posts about the SwiftVets versus Kerry controversy and, somewhat more broadly, all of my posts regarding Sen. Kerry's military record and antiwar activism.

These posts are all accessible in full-text, reverse chronological order through the "SwiftVets" archive link in my sidebar, but I hope that this index will help me — and perhaps others — more quickly navigate through them; with 73 posts to date, the SwiftVets archive has just become unwieldy on its own. I've also added a link to this index in the top-right portion of my sidebar.

Posted by Beldar at 04:30 PM in Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets, Weblogs | Permalink

## TrackBacks

Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Chronological index of BeldarBlog posts re SwiftVets versus Kerry and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» BELDARBLOG from PRESTOPUNDIT -- "It's a team sport, baby!"

Tracked on Oct 6, 2004 3:03:34 PM

» Swift Boat Veterans For Truth: Update from No Illusions

Tracked on Oct 8, 2004 2:36:08 AM

## Comments

(1) Cap'n DOC made the following comment | Sep 3, 2004 4:46:24 PM | Permalink

THE main reason I came here in the first place!

I think I'll hang for a tad bit. Kudos to you Beldar, for using your career skillset to lend some structure to this controversy.

(2) Partisan made the following comment | Sep 3, 2004 5:04:38 PM | Permalink

Will you be turning off the ability to add comments on old threads?

(3) jooly made the following comment | Sep 3, 2004 6:28:17 PM | Permalink

Beldar:

Last night after the convention, I saw Brinkley and McAucliffe interviewed together. I can't remember much of what was said but he certainly comes across as a paid party hack. Later, I couldn't sleep and got up and turned on the tv and saw Brinkley on Imus. He said everything the SBVT said was a lie. Everything. Again, I can't remember the details but it appears that Brinkley and Kerry's handlers are not going to concede any point when it comes to the SBVT and they plan to come out swinging. I would assume Brinkley will now be making a lot of appearances.

(4) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 3, 2004 9:18:34 PM | Permalink

Partisan, if the comment spambots don't persuade me otherwise, I intend to leave open the comments on all my SwiftVets vs. Kerry posts for as long as possible, perhaps through the election.

(5) Partisan made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 4:39:11 PM | Permalink

Just wanted to make sure it was intentional :-) Thanks for all the hard work. Blogs are making history this election and you can be proud of your contributions.

(6) DGB made the following comment | Sep 14, 2004 8:49:31 PM | Permalink

Purple Hearts and Probabilities

John Kerry received three Purple Hearts in the span of four months in Vietnam and on this basis asked to be sent home early. Although these events occurred 35 years ago, one can still confidently calculate probabilities of injury based on available records of Kerry’s injuries. Naval records show that none of Kerry’s wounds caused lost time, required hospitalization or stitches or other medical treatment beyond the equivalent of Band-Aids. To be nicked even once under close range enemy action is extremely unlikely. But three times? The results shown below completely undermine Kerry’s credibility.

None of Kerry’s injuries appear to have come from hostile fire aimed directly at Kerry. According to Kerry, one mission was in total darkness. One injury involved a grenade likely aimed at the boat rather than directly at Kerry. One injury involved a mine with no preference for Kerry. Unfortunately for Kerry’s credibility the probability of being nicked can be reliably estimated even at this late date from readily available information on the location and extent of his wounds and the dimensions of the boats he was on when injured.

Because Kerry was not being aimed at directly, the probability of Kerry being nicked can be arrived at by (a) estimating the ratio of the cross sectional area of Kerry’s body where he could have received a nick to the estimated cross sectional area presented to enemy action by Kerry’s skimmer or Swift Boat, (b) observing that the probability of EITHER a nick OR boat damage by a projectile is proportional to the respective cross sectional areas and (c) observing that the sum of the probability of a nick plus the probability of boat damage is unity for any hit. Using these three relationships, i.e. (a. The ratio of areas), (b. Pertinent probabilities are proportional to areas) and (c. Probabilities of mutually exclusive events add) the probability of being nicked can be reliably calculated. See the section below, Calculation of Probabilities.

From the fact that none of Kerry’s injuries required hospitalization, stitches or lost time one may reasonably conclude all were minor injuries. Assume a typical wound was 1/16 in. deep (one medic called the wound he was treating a “rose thorn prick”). Assume Kerry, while crouched down, presented a cross sectional area to hostile fire of approximately 3 sq. ft. Assume that the perimeter of this cross sectional area where he would merely be nicked was 8 ft. long and 1/16 in. wide. Thus Kerry presented a cross sectional area to enemy action for nicking of approximately the area of 6 postage stamps. Compare this to approximately 60 sq. ft. for the skimmer and 300 sq. ft for a Swift Boat.

Thus the cross sectional area presented by the skimmer was approximately 1,500 times larger (60/0.04= 1500) than that of Kerry’s perimeter where he could have been nicked and for the Swift Boat, 7,500 times larger (300 / 0.04 =7500). This means it was approximately 7,000 times more likely that enemy fire would have damaged the Swift Boat rather than nicking Kerry. Because the boats received zero to minimal damage in the three Purple Heart incidents the chances of Kerry actually being injured are far smaller than the probabilities calculated here.

Now let’s look at the probability of this type of minor wound happening three different times to the same individual. To calculate the overall probability of three such independent events, probability theory dictates one must multiply together the probabilities of each occurrence. Thus the probability of Kerry suffering three Band-Aid type wounds is approximately one part in 1500 x 7,000 x 7,000 or one part in 7 times 10 to the 10th power or one part in 70 billion. Thus the chance that Kerry would have been slightly wounded three different times by a relatively few rounds of enemy fire is vanishingly small.

Kerry’s claims are all the more unbelievable due to the fact that the Swift Boats , which presented a target of over 7000 times larger than the minimal cross section offered by Kerry, are reported to have suffered only minor damage, if any, in the two incidents involving Swift Boats. Kerry and his boats were not subjected to a large number of hits. In fact hostile fire reportedly lasted only for a short time during each incident. That Kerry may have suffered accidental self inflicted wounds does not affect the probability analysis. The cross sections are the same for either type of projectile.

It is very difficult for me to believe that a naval officer would fake some of his wounds. However, what other conclusion can one draw from the available evidence? Are the descriptions of his injuries in error? Are the dimensions of the boats in dispute? Are the official navy records in error? Are we going to ignore probability theory and take Kerry’s word for what happened? Of course one can make different assumptions than I have made. Some may claim Kerry offered a cross sectional area of 3.5 sq. ft., not 3 as I have assumed or that the Swift Boat area was 250 sq. ft. not 300, and thus my probability estimates are way too small. Even if my area estimates are off by as much as 7 times (Kerry’s area = 3x7 = 21 sq. ft. or the Swift Boat area = 5x9= 45 sq. ft. or some combination of unlikely numbers), the probability of Kerry being nicked three separate times is still only one part in 10 billion.

All reasonable values for Kerry’s and the boats’ cross sectional dimensions lead to the same inescapable conclusion. Kerry’s claims of three superficial wounds due to enemy fire are simply unbelievable.

Calculation of Probabilities

Ratio of Areas

Let K = cross sectional area for grazing or nicking Kerry’s perimeter while he was crouched down

S = cross sectional area of the skimmer

T= cross sectional area of a Swift Boat

Perimeter of Kerry = 1’+3’+1’+3’ = 8ft.

K = 8 ft x 1/16 in x (1ft/12 in.) = 0.0417 sq. ft.

S = 15 ft. long x 4 ft. high = 60 sq. ft

T= 30 ft long x 10 ft high = 300 sq. ft.

K/S = 0.0417 / 60 = 0.0007 = ratio of areas, Kerry to skimmer

K/T =0.0417 / 300 = 0.000139 = ratio of areas, Kerry to Swift Boat

Ratio of Probabilities

The probability of an object being hit is proportional to the cross sectional area of the object to hostile fire

Let P = probability of Kerry being nicked and

P1 = probability of the skimmer being hit and

P2 = probability of the Swift Boat being hit

Thus P = q x K where q is a constant of proportionality and

P1 = q x S and

P2 = q x T

Thus P / P1 = (q x K) / (q x S) = K / S = 0.0417 / 60 = 0.0007

P / P2 = (q x K) / (q x T) = K / T = 0.0417 / 300 = 0.000139

Use the Rule that mutually exclusive probabilities add

P + P1 = 1 for a hit on EITHER Kerry OR on the skimmer

P + P2 = 1 for a hit on EITHER Kerry OR on the Swift Boat

The relationships P / P1 = 0.0007 and P + P1 = 1

can be solved for P as follows

Substituting P1 = P / 0.0007 = (1,429 x P) into P + P1 = 1 gives

P + (1,429 x P) = 1. Solving for P gives

P = 1 / 1,430 = 0.0007.

This is the probability that Kerry would be nicked IF EITHER the skimmer OR Kerry were hit by a round of enemy fire. This is equivalent to one part in approximately 1400.

The relationships P / P2 = 0.000139 and P + P2 = 1

can be solved for P as follows

Substituting P1 = P / 0.000139 = (7,194 x P) into P + P1 = 1 gives

P + (7,194 x P) = 1. Solving for P gives

P = 1 / 7,194 = 0.000139

This is the probability that Kerry would be nicked if EITHER the swift Boat OR Kerry were hit by a round of enemy fire. This is equivalent to one part in approximately 7,000.

DGB

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