Infographic on Drawing Down the Troops from Iraq



First, some background. As a newbie niche personal-finance blogger I’ve learned a lot (more) about the seamy financial side of the blogosphere. A whole cottage industry is swapping links and posts for SEO & money, and it’s going corporate. I’ve been surprised to learn how many bloggers have literally sold out to companies that run the blogger’s site for them and give them a cut of the advertising revenue. Everyone has an agenda, and it’s not always on their “About Me!” page. I don’t solicit money because this blog’s credibility rests on my financial independence. But I’m happy to work with a business that does a good job for veterans while giving us money to donate to veteran’s charities.

I avoid politics here because it’s not relevant to financial independence, and it just causes too much drama. (Hmm. Drama. More blog traffic. Hmm. Maybe I need to reconsider that policy.) Whenever I get a submission that names a political figure, no matter which side it’s on or how objective, I shy away from using it.

Back to the infographic: USC’s School of Social Work’s Virtual Academic Center has reached out to us military & personal-finance bloggers. They want to publicize veteran’s issues and programs. They provide the content, we bloggers post it, and everybody gets more hits. But while I might be happy to display this graphic on my blog, I’m not happy that they felt it necessary to quote the President by name instead of by billet– or indeed to quote him at all. This should be about veterans and their sacrifices and their benefits, not the national command authority.

If I’ve done the HTML correctly for your browser, the graphic should be at the bottom of this page. It’s also at this link.

The important info is at the bottom of the graphic:  veterans have more support for jobs and education than they’ve had in years. Whether you’re in the service or getting out of it, make the GI Bill work for you. Let the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor support your next career. And if you’re feeling stressed out by what you’ve been through and what you have yet to get through, then go chat with a counselor.  PTSD used to carry a stigma that kept us from seeking help, and I’m glad to see that today it’s quickly diagnosed and better understood by society.  After nearly a decade of retirement, I’m still surprised to see how many of my shipmates are still showing signs of PTSD. (Right, Doc K? I mean, besides us?)

What’s your reaction to this image? Does this graphic fairly represent the facts? Does the data grab your attention, or are your eyes drawn to the President’s quote?

The only part of this graphic that really applies to “The Military Guide” is the three programs at the bottom, but I don’t mind trying this new tactic to attract new readers. Infographics like this one might get people to start thinking about their personal finances, and that’s just a gateway to planning for your own financial independence.

When you see a graphic like this does it drive you away, or would you share it with your friends? Should I do more of these infographics and other guest posts, or should I stick to the financial topics (and sea stories!)?


Drawing Down Troops from Iraq Infographic - MSW@USC
Brought to you by USC: MSW Programs

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WHAT I DO: I help you reach financial independence. For free. I retired in 2002 after 20 years in the Navy's submarine force. I wrote "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement" to share the stories of over 50 other financially independent servicemembers, veterans, and families. All of my writing revenue is donated to military-friendly charities.

  1. I look it as a political piece of propaganda – it’s one snapshot that could be done over a larger time – how about comparing to Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea, Cold War, WWII, WWI, etc. Some of the facts are interesting, but again they are in isolation (i.e. lack context).

    Of course you can use it in your blog – but I like the fact that you ‘neutralize’ it with your preface. Yes, I’m of a military persuasion :-)

  2. Thanks, guys– e-mails and “contact me” are running evenly split too. It’s also interesting to note that the servicemembers & veterans are much more critical of the graphic.

  3. Doug,

    Keep your blog true to your independent view of financial independence. This buys you credibility in the long run.

    I wouldn’t share this infographic with friends.

    It’s hard to tell what the infographic point is from the lead in. It starts about bringing the war to a responsible end and the drawdown but no discussion about what a responsible endstate is (a really tough topic to cover). Then it shifts to the human cost of the war. Then on to support for our troops . It’s also difficult to see what the USC School of Social Work has contributed to the above infographic other than to point out what the government is doing to help.

    Jay W

  4. Hi Doug,
    The “infographic” was worth reading. My reaction is that IF you find something interesting and worthwhile — no matter where it’s from (and IF it is accurate) — please send it along.
    We trust you for information and independence!
    Very Happy New Year to you and MR&FI,

    Comment? Question? What's on your mind?