Does Aquaman Know About This?


Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has tirelessly promoted his discovery that Iraq is less dangerous than downtown Washington, DC. There are plenty of holes in his logic—like using the entire nation of Iraq for comparison, when the Kurdish and Shi'ite areas are mostly calm—but in an appearance on Fox's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," I think King finally sold me.

I think we should always put it in perspective. And—and if I could add, the risk to our soldiers is significant. But they faced far more risk in other wars. … For example, what profession, fishermen—five years as a fisherman is about equivalent to one year in Iraq in uniform, to put that in perspective, Neil.

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  1. Why are you always on about Aquaman, Hit & Run?

  2. I’ve been a fisherman (I used to work on my uncle’s shrimp boat), and I never had to risk people shooting at me or purposefully trying to kill me with IEDs.

  3. And if storms were coming we could generally stay in port or get out of their way.

  4. Hak, there’s always fishing in Alaska, which is notoriously dangerous. I had a friend in high school who did that in the summers. He made tremendous money, but I always figured his parents were out to get him. Not that such risks are generally common in fishing, I’ll grant. Though I did have a shark circle me several times (doubtlessly evaluating me as a meal option) while I was diving for scallops–does that count?

    The best thing about shrimp boats is following them around while they’re cleaning their nets–it’s a chumming paradise!

  5. Pro Libertate,

    Finally, someone not bitching about the bycatch. 🙂

    Yeah, those Gloucestermen, Alaska king crab, etc. guys have dangerous jobs (just visit that Gloucester memorial sometime), but I think the idea of comparing the job of a fisherman (where the risks aren’t generally ones where someone intends on killing you) with that of a soldier in Iraq is just ludicrous.

  6. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis, this shrimp boat talk–other than making me hungry–is reminding me of the net ban implemented in Florida back in the 90s. I can’t remember all of the details, but I do recall something about some of the nets being large enough to hold Tampa Stadium. Lots of hatin’ on the shrimpers back then, but how can you hate people that will give you pounds of shrimp at the docks for a six-pack?

    As for the risks associated with fishing, well, there’s always Moby Dick. He tasks me.

  7. Good job debunking misuse of statistics, David. Now why don’t you straighten out Jesse in his rotated-90-degrees, horizontally-inflated graph thread down below?

  8. First, if you’re trying to say that being a soldier in Iraq is 5 times as dangerous as being a fisherman, I would ask, what the fuck’s your point? Is that supposed to convince me that Iraq isn’t dangerous? No dice.

    Second, when he says “fisherman” what is he referring to? There are many different kinds of fisherman, in different places in the world, doing different jobs.

  9. Pro Libertate,

    I never worked in Florida, and I’ve never used anything larger than a fifty-foot single (though I have double-rigged twenty-five foot nets). Remember the introduction of TEDs?

  10. crimethink, no straightening out of Jesse until my question about the recent Aquaman fetish is answered. I find this obsession to be little fishy, to be honest.

  11. Ah, yes, I do remember that. Darn sea turtle lobby 🙂

    I was just over at Honeymoon Island/Caladesi (which I highly recommend to any tourists who come to Tampa), which has a bunch of sea turtle nests. I’ve seen maybe one in the wild–I’ll have to have a look when they’re laying their eggs next time.

    Speaking of Tampa, is anyone attending the Cato University event at St. Pete Beach in July? I’d love to go, but it’s a bit pricey.

  12. Why are you always on about Aquaman, Hit & Run?

    The mark of a real libertarian is the ability to speak to fish.

  13. When he says “fisherman” what is he referring to?

    People who fish for sharks.

    Sharks with fricken laser beams on their heads.

    “1 year as a soldier in Iraq? what? it’s like 4 years laying rail as a chinese laborer in the 19th century. At most. I mean, people need to keep things in perspective here. It’s only like 16 months working blindfolded in a slaughterhouse. Sure it’s tough work, but not much different than fishing…i mean, fish can explode sometimes. But it’s no vietnam!… Vietnam was hot! Well, ok, but it was certainly much more humid. And humidity has a lot to do with it.”

  14. Pro Libertate,

    I never participated in any of the protests against the TEDs, but I had a lot of relatives who did.

  15. It’s easy to support environmental or other causes when your livelihood isn’t threatened, I always say. Not that that makes the people opposing such laws or measures right, but it’s hard not to be sympathetic.

  16. My understanding of how King gets the “less dangerous than DC” factoid is that the civilian deaths due to violence number he uses is extremely low, about 10x lower than the Lancet study.

  17. I’ve always heard drunken redneck dynamite fishing can be pretty dangerous….

  18. Pro Liberate,

    It’s easy to support environmental or other causes when your livelihood isn’t threatened, I always say. Not that that makes the people opposing such laws or measures right, but it’s hard not to be sympathetic.

    Well the claim of many shrimpers is that the decrease in turtle population is largely due to “habitat loss,” and not to kills in nets. But since homeowners, homebuilding companies, etc. have more clout than shrimpers, the shrimpers get the shaft as the fallguy. At least that is the claim.

  19. It’s not the heat – it’s the humidity.

  20. I’ve heard some pols and pundits maintain that the risk of a civilian dying by violence in some of our big cities is greater than that faced by the residents of Baghdad, but I have no idea how the statistics are tortured to get that result.

    As for H&R’s Aquafascination, Orin has thrown down with The Fisherman several times. See:

    I always preferred DC to Marvel, but one has to admit that Aquaman is/was a poor man’s Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner.


  21. Kevin,

    To be fair, I did defend Aquaman’s powers (especially his super-strength and super-speed) recently as good powers to have in a world like ours, without superheroes and supervillains. However, I don’t share Reason’s unclean obsession with the oceanic hero. I’d rather be Superman or the Green Lantern, myself.

    The Sub-Mariner came first, so Aquaman is Sprite to his 7-Up.

  22. These comparisons always equate deaths from terrorism and military attacks in Iraq to all criminal deaths in an American city. Which either means that there isn’t any crime in Iraq, or that the people making the argument are full of bull.

    Also, whenever an anti-warrior points out that more Americans are killed by allergic reactions, car crashes, and violent crime than by terrorism, the Steve Kings of the world take about half a second to bellow their denuciations that anyone would compare commonplace domestic problems to the massive existential evil that is terrorism.

  23. I propose that Hit & Run folks should all start using Aquaman’s telepathy sound from the cartoons as your ringtone.

    That way, when your cellphone rings at some event, everyone will know Hit & Run is in the house.

  24. joe,
    While I agree that these apples and oranges comparisons are bogus, ludicrous and intellectually dishonest, well, there’s this: “whenever an anti-warrior”…

    Yep. That’s where you lost me. “Anti-warrior”??? WTFO?!? That may be the most annoying thing I’ve read all day.

    Dude. Really. Please tell me you didn’t come up with that on your own. It’s about as silly a term as comparing sports to war and players as warriors. The same for the Greenpeace “Rainbow Warriors.” Those guys are NOT warriors. More guts than brains, perhaps…

    There’s no such thing as an “anti-warrior.” There are people who are “anti-war” but most of them are sadly plenty happy with shedding blood as long as it’s being ordered by someone who claims to be on their side of the political spectrum.

    Sorry. That just got my goat for some reason!

  25. I wouldn’t normally agree, but ever since Imam Namor started supplying the Swordfish Worker’s Party with IEDs things have gotten pretty bad down in the Gulf.

  26. OK, rob, “WOT dove.” Happy?

  27. Hmmm… OK, I think maybe what you’ve identified is a political species that hasn’t been effectively labeled.

    “Anti-war” would work for me, but the problem is that those who consider themselves to be “anti-war” shifts based on which party is in office.

    Folks who were anti-Kosovo War aren’t the same as those who are anti-GWOT. Quite the opposite, for the most part…

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