Sarah Palin allegedly gave misleading statistics about military deployment in recent speech

Former vice presidential candidate mixes enlistments and deployments in same statement to confusing effect

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The Independent US

In her address to the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, Sarah Palin pointedly spoke on the stresses faced by military families facing deployments to overseas wars and those faced by veterans returning from war.

Mrs Palin is familiar with those stresses, as she is a military mom. But in her speech, she gave a statistic about deployments and enlistments that appeared to show an large increase in military commitment but is somewhat misleading, the Washington Post reported. Read her quote below.

“The strain on military and their families, it is enormous,” she said at CPAC.  “During World War II the average deployment in the combat theatre, it was six months. Korean War, nine months. Vietnam, 13 months. For Iraq and Afghanistan, an initial enlistment was 45 months.”

Here, Mrs Palin is comparing the deployment periods – the amount of time troops are in an operations theatre – of past wars to the enlistment periods – the total amount of time a soldier is committed to the military – of recent wars.

The Post reported that the enlistment period of WWII was the duration of the war plus six months, much longer than the deployment period of six months quoted by Mrs Palin.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq did have deployments longer than those of previous wars, as some people were deployed as long as 24 months, with most falling into a deployment range of 12 to 18 months, the Post reported.

Deployments undoubtedly take a toll on members of the military and their families, this story is not attempting to downplay any hardships caused by military service. But by comparing deployments of past wars to enlistments in more recent conflicts, Mrs Palin is looking two different things.

Mrs Palin and her representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment on this story.


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