Saturday, September 09, 2006

From The Crock O' Shit Department

The premise. Reuters (09.01.06):
"Violent deaths among civilians in Iraq may have fallen by a quarter last month, statistics indicated on Friday, despite a bloody week in Baghdad that ended with 70 dead in a series of explosions late on Thursday. The partial data, provided by Iraq's Interior Ministry and based on figures from the Health Ministry, tend to confirm U.S. military confidence that a crackdown in the capital has slowed the bloodletting but also that dozens are still dying every day." Iraq deaths down despite new Baghdad carnage
The assertion is that "the drop in violent deaths to a major security crackdown launched on Aug. 7. About 8,000 U.S. troops and 3,000 Iraqi soldiers were sent to the capital to search homes and patrol the streets." On the other hand, there's been a bit of book-cooking afoot. McClatchy (09.08.06):
"U.S. officials, seeking a way to measure the results of a program aimed at decreasing violence in Baghdad, aren't counting scores of dead killed in car bombings and mortar attacks as victims of the country's sectarian violence. That has allowed U.S. officials to boast that the number of deaths from sectarian violence in Baghdad declined by more than 52 percent in August over July." U.S. count of Baghdad deaths excludes car bombs, mortar attacks
What they quit counting were "huge numbers of people whose deaths are certainly part of the ongoing conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Not included, for example, are scores of people who died in a highly coordinated bombing that leveled an entire apartment building in eastern Baghdad, a stronghold of rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr." And that's what made the numbers look "better", to the extent fewer people dying could be considered "better".


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