Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 2, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

MORE CASUALTY FIGURES.....The New York Times, which has its own source in the Iraq Interior Ministry, today reports civilian casualty figures that differ somewhat from the AP figures the LA Times printed yesterday:

American and Iraqi government officials here are extremely reluctant to provide regular, comprehensive figures for civilian deaths, making it difficult to compile accurate data. But figures provided to The New York Times by an Interior Ministry official who asked to remain anonymous indicated that 2,318 civilians died violently in the country in August, compared with 1,980 in July.

....But the figures provided by the Interior Ministry official show a drop in deaths within Baghdad, to 656 in August from 896 in July.

Without arguing over the exact numbers, this sounds about right to me: Casualties are probably down a bit in Baghdad but up in the rest of the country. This jibes with the widespread prediction that one of the main effects of the surge would be to temporarily drive the insurgency (or some part of it, anyway) to areas of the country with lower troop concentrations. Put troops in Baghdad and the insurgents melt away and fight elsewhere. Follow them to their new home and they'll undoubtedly melt away and return to Baghdad. Or so I'd guess, anyway.

In any case, treat this as yet more raw data. One note, though: I don't know how the July and August numbers compare to last year, since the Times didn't provide that information. This makes it impossible to do a seasonal comparison.

Kevin Drum 2:27 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (12)

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Deaths are down in Baghdad also because of progress in ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods, don't forget. The killers are running out of victims, most of whom are already dead or have left town.

Posted by: John de Hoog on September 2, 2007 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Petraeus' plan of whack-a-mole is a success!

Posted by: Disputo on September 2, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody asking Iraqi citizens?

Recent reporting by Dan Merica at opednews:

"...Beleaguered Iraqi citizens on the ground are saying something else. "The situation is worsening..."

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 2, 2007 at 6:01 AM | PERMALINK

at pov-mentarch1.blogspot.com--blogging by a professor/scientist/researcher offers this post--with paragraphs and links well worth your time.
I found this by deciding to search for "truthiness regarding the surge"


Step One - Keep reminding them of the threat posed by the Bogey Man;

Step Two - Spin your current disastrous wars into successes;

Step Three - Ignore, attack or ridicule all those who hold up the truth of the matter;

Step Four - Call for more wars;

Step Five - Ask for increases in intelligence and military means to fight the Enemy;

Step Six - Recycle through Steps One to Five.

"Operation Enduring Progaganda"--well said.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 2, 2007 at 7:01 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of figures are going around:

BAGHDAD, Sept 2 (KUNA) -- The Iraqi Interior Ministry Sunday denied reports yesterday regarding the death toll of terrorist bombings in August and termed these "highly exaggerated", putting the figure at 1,011 people.


Posted by: Strick on September 2, 2007 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

"ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods"

Yes, the Merry Maids Cleansing Brigades of Death have been very busy.

Glad to see Kevin's chart posted at Informed Comment his morning. Good work, Kevin.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

CWA--that guy forgot:

Step Seven: Profits!

Posted by: DrBB on September 2, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

A quick check of http://icasualties.org/oif/IraqiDeaths.aspx doesn't seem to show seasonal trends that are significant. I also don't see a significant drop in civilian deaths.

Posted by: Fr33d0m on September 2, 2007 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

If only we were fighting the "Baghdad War" and NOT the "Iraq War".....If only the NYT had credibility after the Judy Miller stories....If only Gen. David (a.k.a. Westmoreland) Patreaus wasn't co-opted by the Republican spin machine...If only the Democrats had a spine...

I wonder how Americans would respond to a monthly civilian death rate of 896 or 656 in their city or town? Do you think for one second that even 656 would be perceived citizens as a SUCCESS?

Posted by: JerseyMissouri on September 2, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, but isn't Elizabeth Bumiller going to correct that image of the NYT? Her "hard hitting" book on Condi is due - Possibly scathing comments about shoes.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

These figures are way low, Kevin. This study suggests over a million Iraqis have died since Bush’s unwarranted war of aggression, putting Bush in the elite among history’s mass murderers, such as Pol Pot, Stalin and other criminal heads of state.

With the “three day blitz” of Iran in the works, as noted here, Bush could end up killing upwards of two million innocent human beings or more. I hope he is doing a lot of praying….

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 2, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

These numbers are not accurate. They need to go through the Krauthammer equation:

1 Israeli death is equal to 30 US deaths.
1 US death is worth 100 Iraqi deaths.

Therefore, you can determine the real number by moving the decimal over by two places.

So at most, it was 23 total Iraqi deaths for August. What’s the big deal?

Posted by: Phil on September 2, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK



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