Thursday, September 13, 2007

Iraq: More lies, damned lies and statistics

NPR : Statistics the Weapon of Choice in Surge Debate: (Excerpt)

"People are making claims and assertions that don't stack up when they are viewed in the context of the last four years," MacGregor says.

Here's an example: The Pentagon says sectarian deaths in Iraq were sharply down in August. But the military's definition of what constitutes a sectarian murder is narrow."

Last month's massive bombing in northern Iraq that killed more than 500 ethnic Yezidis made August 2007 the second-deadliest for Iraqi civilians. Yet the Pentagon doesn't consider large bombings like that one an example of sectarian violence. The result is that it can show that sectarian murders are down.

"What we have right now is an illusion created by the White House, created unfortunately with the help of many people in the media," MacGregor says. "And the result is, people pick up on what is said [and] it becomes conventional wisdom."

......

And then there's the issue of Anbar province. Both the White House and the Pentagon have attributed the changes in Anbar to the surge strategy. But several military advisers who worked in Iraq until late last year have said that is simply not true. MacGregor says that the increasing cooperation between U.S. forces and Sunni tribes in Anbar started more than 18 months ago, long before the "surge."

"And they were done on the initiative of the Marines and the Navy who looked at Anbar and said, "There's gotta be a better way to do business here," he says.

Read it all...
Not sure? Check this out from the Washington Post.

1 Comments:

At 9/16/07, 9:09 PM, Blogger Gail Jonas said...

I understand that the stats used to prove violence was down excluded:
1. bullets that entered the front of the head
2. Shiites vs. Shiites and Sunnis vs. Sunnis
3. Deaths resulting from car bombs.

My research confirms your conclusions re the level of violence and also that Anbar should not be touted as a model for the rest of Iraq. I read today that a large majority of the Anbarites don't want us there.

 

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