Patterico's Pontifications

10/22/2007

The AP and Iraq’s “Overstated Casualties”

Filed under: Media Bias,War — DRJ @ 2:22 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

On August 26, 2007, about 2 weeks before General Petraeus’ Congressional testimony on the surge, the AP’s Steven R. Hurst reported that there had been “at a minimum” double the number of Iraqi deaths from sectarian violence as there had been a year before. This report was apparently based on AP tracking from government, police, and other sources:

“This year’s U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.
***
The AP tracking includes Iraqi civilians, government officials, police and security forces killed in attacks such as gunfights and bombings, which are frequently blamed on Sunni suicide strikes. It also includes execution-style killings largely the work of Shiite death squads.

The figures are considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual numbers are likely higher, as many killings go unreported or uncounted. Insurgent deaths are not a part of the Iraqi count.”

Yet on October 21, 2007, in reporting airstrikes during US and Iraqi military actions in Sadr City that may have killed 49 insurgents, Hurst noted a previously unmentioned tendency by police, government and hospital sources to overstate casualties:

The U.S. military said its forces killed an estimated 49 militants during a dawn raid to capture an Iranian-linked militia chief in Baghdad’s Sadr City enclave, one of the highest tolls for a single operation since President Bush declared an end to active combat in 2003.

Iraqi police and hospital officials, who often overstate casualties, reported only 15 deaths including three children. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said all the dead were civilians.”

Some readers may recall that this is the same Steven R. Hurst who wrote about Capt. Jamil Hussein, a source for numerous AP reports of Iraqi deaths and atrocities. For instance, this AP/Hurst report dated January 4, 2007, proclaimed Iraqi officials had acknowledged Hussein did exist and that he had been threatened with arrest for speaking to the media.

Now that the US and Iraqi military and police actions may be working, it seems the AP’s new accepted wisdom is that casualties are often overstated. Where was this accepted wisdom the past 4 years?

Or maybe it’s because the elusive Capt. Jamil Hussein is no longer in charge of the AP’s Iraqi casualty figures.

— DRJ

56 Responses to “The AP and Iraq’s “Overstated Casualties””

  1. Well, if one American death was worth what we’ve gotten out if Iraqi Freedom, you’ve got a scoop.

    King Pandeen (87ec7f)

  2. The first figures claim to be based on the AP’s own reporting. From the information stated, there’s no reason to believe that they are taken from the uncorrected (overstated) numbers of Iraqi police and hospital officers. There’s also an attempt, on your part, to conflate Iraqi overstatements about known incidents with the likelihood that many Iraqi deaths are dying unnoticed.

    Another valiant but failed attempt to find the gotcha that the Iraq Quagmire isn’t a Quagmire.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  3. Andrew,

    I’m nothing if not valiant but the AP numbers you refer to include the pre-2007, Jamil Hussein-based numbers, right?

    DRJ (35ac59)

  4. BAM!

    Did I mention you’re making me look bad?

    See Dubya (d4aa96)

  5. Many attacks on Iraqis go unreported.

    The ones that do get reported may overstate casualtes.

    Doesn’t seem that difficult.

    Imagine how hard it is to estitmate casualties accurately when one of our “precision” bombs destroys an apartment building.

    alphie (99bc18)

  6. Andrew J. Lazarus, why do you want it to be a quagmire so much? We were losing, and now the balance is tipping toward coaltion forces precipitously. Rejoice for your countries’ accomplishment however tenuous and all the people not killed these last months who would have been. Hope for the welfare of the many decent people in Iraq. Pray for Victory — the only likelihood of peace in this country.

    If you want a quagmire, you can always refocus your sights on Afghanistan or Pakistan or Darfur or somewhere else. There will always be a failure to draw your attention to. Such is the nature of the world.

    The President of the United States, however, always had his mind focussed on success. I wish him this for all our sake including on the home front, which, you’ll note, hasn’t suffered a major strike recently, in part because of defense, and in part because of offense and distracting and degrading al-Quaeda capabilities.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  7. DRJ – Do you know if the AP figures include the ficticious incidents that AP often reports on that are not corroborated elsewhere?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  8. Christoph: Spain hasn’t suffered a major strike since the change in government. If Bush gets the credit for that here, surely the Socialists who pulled out of the Coalition of Bush’s Friends as fast as they could get the credit there!

    Or it may be that it’s a mistake to judge the success of the Iraq mess by whether we’ve suffered another attack.

    I’m not particularly pleased that Iraq is a quagmire. It’s more that I’m like Cassandra, trying to point out the obvious to the remaining 24 percent, before you guys do something even stupider like invading Iran. As long as you pretend the policy has not failed (remind me again: was the plan for “success” really to re-empower Sunni warlords in Anbar Province?), we’re going to have to keep suffering the losses entailed.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  9. Andrew J. Lazarus, Spanish, Coalition, and especially American forces have distracted and degraded al-Quaeda’s ability to launch strikes anywhere including Spain. Possibly appeasement may forestall attacks momentarily, but radical Islam means to expand around the world and destroys, en masse, every single day (although more locally than extraterritoriality because we’ve degraded their capabilities and they’ve always butchered each other anyway). Against this awful ideology I want victory, not a slow loss of the nations of Europe, Israel, Asia, etc., to extremely dark forces which then acquire terribly weapons and accelerate the conflict.

    “…surely the Socialists who pulled out of the Coalition of Bush’s Friends as fast as they could get the credit there!”

    Credit there? Credit for defeat?

    No wonder our philosophies are incompatible and you see the negative in these military situations. The fight is tougher than expected, as many are, but I prefer to give credit to our forces for victory than quick withdrawal. I’m sure most serving members of the military see it that way as do serious and sensible students of military history.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  10. with the likelihood that many Iraqi deaths are dying unnoticed.

    The impossibility of proving a negative is such a childish fallacy.

    Another valiant but failed attempt to find the gotcha that the Iraq Quagmire isn’t a Quagmire.

    Which is why no one but the 11 Percenters have been calling it a quagmire for months now.

    Christoph: Spain hasn’t suffered a major strike since the change in government. If Bush gets the credit for that here, surely the Socialists who pulled out of the Coalition of Bush’s Friends as fast as they could get the credit there!

    Since the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, Spain has uncovered and disrupted one major Islamic terrorist attack planned inside Spain.

    So your logic is rather… unsupported. But the gleeful condescension your posts ooze with, that’s gold.

    Or it may be that it’s a mistake to judge the success of the Iraq mess by whether we’ve suffered another attack.

    Don’t be offended, but I wouldn’t use your standards for success or failure for any task.

    It’s more that I’m like Cassandra, trying to point out the obvious to the remaining 24 percent, before you guys do something even stupider like invading Iran.

    Oh yes, Cassandra, such a tragic, heroic figure you are!

    You’re just another defeatist who has found himself cut adrift by the success of the surge and knows he has nothing left to offer in argument but empty assertions.

    As long as you pretend the policy has not failed (remind me again: was the plan for “success” really to re-empower Sunni warlords in Anbar Province?), we’re going to have to keep suffering the losses entailed.

    So apparently the United States is wrong to have changed its strategy and goals based on the conditions on the ground.

    The current strategy is not “re-empowering” Sunni warlords in Anbar Province or anywhere else, it is offering the tribal sheikhs in Iraq the chance to be reintegrated into the political power structure of the country after they were kicked out of it by the invasion and formation of the new government or by their own choice to join the insurgency.

    How the roles have reversed from a year ago, when supporters of the war could only offer assertions and emotional rhetoric while opponents could offer hard facts. Now the only thing the defeatists have left is their bile.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  11. Daleyrocks,

    Sadly, I have no idea what the AP numbers are based on.

    Andrew,

    Spain still has problems with terrorism as evidenced by these reports for 2005 and 2006. As the 2006 report states, Spain remains “a target for international terrorist groups and an important transit point and logistical base for terrorist organizations operating in Western Europe.”

    DRJ (35ac59)

  12. I don’t understand your concern.

    Obviously, the meta-narrative must be right, so what’s the problem with claiming that things support it? Again, even if the “facts” are proven false, the sources ID’ed to be terrorists, or whatever, the meta-narrative being right trumps everything.

    Another example:

    1) If no terrorist attack takes place in CONUS, then it is obvious that the Bush Administration hoodwinked the nation into believing there was a threat. They should be thrown out of office, horse-whipped, etc. for their lies, while

    2) If a terrorist attack DOES happen in CONUS, then it is obvious that the Bush Administration is inept and they should all be thrown out of office, horse-whipped, etc.

    It’s all about the meta-narrative.

    jim2 (3751cc)

  13. Well, DRJ, the United States also has terrorist groups inside it, at least according to a number of indictments. My previous comment is a little unclear because of punctuation. To rephrase: do we support the policy of the Spanish government because there have been no further successful attacks in Spain?

    It’s true that I have a great deal of bile, not the least because last year the war’s proponents were not offering emotional rhetoric. They were claiming, then as now, that things were looking up, the corner was being turned, etc. Google for “Friedman Unit” and you can see optimistic statements dating back to the beginning of the insurgency that proved false.

    Iraq Turns a Corner
    Human Events, Jun 19, 2006

    The fatuous rush to salute the latest false dawn is pathetic.

    The facts on the ground are that the war is now threatening to spread to Kurdistan (and Turkey) and political reconciliation is going nowhere. Yeah, maybe your friend in Nigeria will send you the $100 million that he promised, but could you wait a little longer before boasting about it?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  14. Andrew,

    I’m not boasting. I’m irritated that the AP embraces large casualty numbers when it wants to show things are going badly for Iraqis, but questions the numbers when it seems the US/Iraqi surge might be a success. Just as you don’t want false hope that we’ve turned the corner, I don’t want false numbers to hide the fact that we might be doing just that.

    DRJ (35ac59)

  15. I see Crazy Andy and Alpho are still going their Goebbel’s skit. Remarkable analysis from people who have never served in the military, never been there, and have no particular insights based on education or experience. So we should value it on that basis.

    Andy’s brillant analysis ignores the Kurdish-Turk conflict goes back over 20 years and at one time also involved Iran (where was the indication that this too is another Roveian plot?).

    The fatuous rush to declare defeat is just another indicator that of the two extremist suicide cults that cnfront America, Islamo facism is by far the lesser threat compared to the idiotarian trolls that wish to see the destruction of a free market economy and American society.

    But rationalizing evil is so much easier for people like Crazy Andy and Alpho. One wonders why they support those wgho torture and maim the innocent; relentless kill whose who disagree; whose idea of freedom is to kill your opponents. Oops, its because this is what they would do if they could.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  16. DRJ,

    I think the fact that we’re still droppng bombs on Baghdad in the fifth year of the occupation says more about the success or failure of the mission than any body count.

    alphie (99bc18)

  17. Alphie,

    We were still dropping bombs in Iraq years after Desert Storm but so what? The point of this post is how the media reports events. If the AP wants to condemn the US military for dropping bombs, so be it – as long as it accurately reports how/when/where/etc. bombs they dropped. But “making it up as you go along to fit the narrative” should not be happening with professional journalists, no matter how many journalists say it’s okay to do that.

    DRJ (35ac59)

  18. To rephrase: do we support the policy of the Spanish government because there have been no further successful attacks in Spain?

    If Spain’s goal was to bring an end to Islamic terrorists trying to carry out terrorist attacks in Spain by withdrawing from Iraq and ostensibly removing the alleged motivation for the attacks, that policy has clearly failed. Very good for them that there hasn’t been another successful attack. Their domestic security policies have improved at disrupting terrorist plots, not their foreign policy which was supposed to do that by making Islamic terrorists not want to start the plots in the first place.

    It’s true that I have a great deal of bile, not the least because last year the war’s proponents were not offering emotional rhetoric. They were claiming, then as now, that things were looking up, the corner was being turned, etc. Google for “Friedman Unit” and you can see optimistic statements dating back to the beginning of the insurgency that proved false.

    You can’t seriously be attempting to use such an idiotic argument.

    That Human Events article mentioned the death of al-Zarqawi and a list of accomplishments that, while impressive, didn’t have anything to do with a reduction in violence.

    Today I can point to undeniable facts: US casualties down, Coalition casualties down, Iraqi civilian casualties down, terrorists arrested up, terrorists killed up, weapons-caches discovered and destroyed up, the number of tips coming in from Iraqi citizens way way way up, etc.

    Instead of responding to this argument, you respond to an argument made a year ago. Logic isn’t one of your strong points, is it?

    Stop wasting our time if you’re going to be so amazingly stupid.

    The fatuous rush to salute the latest false dawn is pathetic.

    As I just irrefutably demonstrated, the only pathetic things here are you and your “arguments.”

    The facts on the ground are that the war is now threatening to spread to Kurdistan (and Turkey)

    Which has no relevance to the consequential security challenges facing the country. Turkey embarking on a limited invasion of the far Western reaches of Iraqi Kurdistan is not going to have an effect on security in Baghdad, Baqubah, Najaf, or anywhere else.

    The PKK has also announced a unilateral unconditional cease-fire and the Iraqi government is working furiously to keep Turkish military action either off the table or little more than a symbolic gesture.

    But regardless, even if Turkey invaded Iraqi Kurdistan with everything she could throw, it wouldn’t have any impact on the rest of the country save maybe to unite the Iraqi people against the invaders.

    and political reconciliation is going nowhere.

    This is simply unsupported by the facts. The majority of the Sunni tribes and insurgent groups switching sides over the past year is remarkable political reconciliation in and of itself, as is the Maliki government’s acceptance, albeit reluctantly, of the official sanctioning of the local neighborhood watch groups and Anbar Awakening type organizations as being semi-official members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

    Shifting the goalposts is another childish logical fallacy. First it was the US was caught in the middle of an unending cycle of violence, a sectarian civil war that we could not stop and it was not our business to stop. Ignoring the moral travesty that that argument it is, now that it has been made irrefutably clear that we can stop it, you demand “political reconciliation” as the new standard for success, with the war irrevocably lost if “political reconciliation” (by your standards) is not achieved.

    Yeah, maybe your friend in Nigeria will send you the $100 million that he promised, but could you wait a little longer before boasting about it?

    I can boast about having the facts on my side while all you have are hilariously idiotic fallacies and your own childish emotionally-driven thought processes all day, and I will.

    You’re defeatist. I don’t question your patriotism, though. There’s no question. You have none. Your country is at war, it is undeniably winning that war, and you are arguing for defeat by any dishonest, underhanded way you can think of. You’re a Copperhead, plain and simple, and you will meet the same fate as the original ones did a hundred forty years ago.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  19. I think the fact that we’re still droppng bombs on Baghdad in the fifth year of the occupation says more about the success or failure of the mission than any body count.

    Idiot Demagogue, your logic is, as usual, nonexistent. Your standard for success or failure is so unreasonable that I find it completely unbelievable that you really believe what you are saying. Munitions are expended in a war until one side gives up or is annihilated. It is beyond the realm of intelligent thought to conclude a war won or lost based on whether fighting is still ongoing.

    Using your logic, I could say that any side in any war was “losing” or had “lost” the war up until the instant fighting stopped, regardless of whether one side was meeting its objectives or not, you know, the usual standard by which success or failure is judged in any endeavor?

    chaos (9c54c6)

  20. DRJ,

    If the U.S. military cant supply accurate casualty figures, what makes you think the AP can?

    The AP’s annual budget wouldn”t run the war for a single day.

    Chaos,

    Dropping bombs into civllian areas is a direct contradiction of Patraeus’ own counter-insurgency strategy.

    An admission of failure on his part, not the AP’s.

    alphie (99bc18)

  21. I don’t think the AP can supply accurate numbers and I wish it would stop guessing.

    DRJ (35ac59)

  22. Chaos just finished pointed out that both you and AJL are focusing on the fluid nature of the tactical situation while ignoring how those dynamics affect the strategic one. It indicates that you haven’t a clue how to judge the success or failure of a military campaign. It isn’t necessary to reinforce the impression.

    Just Passing Through (ff997a)

  23. The AP isn’t “guessing” DRJ.

    They’re reporting the numbers Iraqi and U.S. officials tell them.

    alphie (99bc18)

  24. The AP isn’t “guessing” DRJ.

    They’re reporting the numbers Iraqi and U.S. officials tell them.

    Staunch Brayer, read for the first time DRJ’s the conclusion of DRJ’s post:

    Now that the US and Iraqi military and police actions may be working, it seems the AP’s new accepted wisdom is that casualties are often overstated. Where was this accepted wisdom the past 4 years?

    Or maybe it’s because the elusive Capt. Jamil Hussein is no longer in charge of the AP’s Iraqi casualty figures.

    Paul (146bba)

  25. Chaos,

    Dropping bombs into civllian areas is a direct contradiction of Patraeus’ own counter-insurgency strategy.

    An admission of failure on his part, not the AP’s.

    The stupidity never ceases.

    Dropping bombs on “civilian areas” is not a contradiction of the strategy and tactics laid out in the COIN manual. Nowhere does the manual say that any bombing of a “civilian area,” regardless of circumstances, is counterproductive.

    What it says is that a proper counterinsurgency strategy is one where the counterinsurgency force lives among the locals, providing a 24/7 security presence. It says that bombing and other heavy uses of force can be counterproductive if overused or used in the wrong situation.

    Your comments are flabbergasting for how dumb they are. General Petraeus helped to write the COIN manual, which, according to you, says that bombing civilian areas is, 100% of the time, counterproductive. Yet, during the eight and a half months that General Petraeus has been in command of MNF-Iraq, he has not ordered an end to all aerial bombardments.

    This leaves us with two conclusions, Idiot Demagogue: General Petraeus is an idiot, or you’re a lying idiot. Guess which one I’m gonna choose?

    chaos (9c54c6)

  26. Staunch Brayer, you got p3wnd. Again.

    Paul (146bba)

  27. chaos,

    Seeing as the target of the raid was not caught and the Iraqi press is filled with pictures of dead Iraqi toddlers being pulled from the rubble left by our attack…I think it’s safe to say this one goes in the failure column.

    alphie (99bc18)

  28. If Iraqi casualty figures are greater than those being reported, why is the cemetary industry in Iraq undergoing a financial crisis?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  29. the Iraqi press is filled with pictures of dead Iraqi toddlers being pulled from the rubble left by our attack

    Got a link to that, Staunch Brayer? Or is that another example of “Overstated Casualties?”

    Paul (146bba)

  30. You want to see the pictures, Paul?

    http://tinyurl.com/2t8ytc

    alphie (99bc18)

  31. Poor Alpho imagine who’d he characterize the bombing of Berlin in 1945-guess that demonstrated the lack of progress too Alpho. Poor dead kiddies, imagine what the French must have thought of the USAF which managed to kill over 50,000 French civilians in its bombing raids.

    Some people will do anything to protray the US in the worst possible light. Can anyone remember Alpho protest the gassing of 5,000 Kurds? How about the massacre of 2,000,000 plus Cambodians? The elimination of over 500, 000 Vietnamese by the NVA?

    Alpho just enjoys defending the forces of evil in the world. Especially when he gets to lie about it.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  32. Thomas,

    I think you’re drifting into Carol Herman erriotry now.

    Pull out!

    alphie (99bc18)

  33. alphie,

    You want to see the pictures, Paul?

    Do you realize that you are linking to the same story that DRJ linkss to in her post? Do you realize that it’s by the same writer whose methods of reporting that DRJ takes acception to. Why would you link to the same story to bolster your argument? How does that make sense? Did you read the post the thread is addressing?

    Just Passing Through (ff997a)

  34. You want to see the pictures, Paul?

    Pure comedy gold, Staunch Brayer.

    The link you gave has the same story that DRJ took apart in the original post of this thread.

    Or didn’t you notice that?

    This must be first time a link to support your argument is refuted before you posted it!

    Oh yeah, you have to read to the end of the story to see this sentence, submitted without comment:

    Al-Maliki’s government said those killings were a “sorrowful matter,” but emphasized that civilian deaths are unavoidable in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq.

    Paul (146bba)

  35. I’ll say it again: I hope Patterico never bans you, because your writing is its own punishment, Staunch Brayer.

    Paul (146bba)

  36. errata:

    ‘links’

    ‘..exception to..”

    Just Passing Through (ff997a)

  37. from Alpo’s link

    The reinforcements were ordered into Iraq earlier this year by Bush and have inflicted a heavy toll on militants on both sides of Iraq’s sectarian divide. American commanders credit the troop buildup for a sharp drop in the number of attacks and deaths of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians, particularly in the past two months.

    Hazy (c36902)

  38. My,

    Doesn’t look like the AP is anti-war after all does it?

    If fact, looks like a rather fair and balanced report.

    alphie (99bc18)

  39. Andrew’s reference to himself as a Greek goddess is a real hoot. I have seen no evidence of his prophetic abilities on this blog, qualities for which Cassandra was known. The only conclusion I can then to come is that Andrew, in likening himself to a Greek goddess, must be gender confused. Hopefully his wife’s great health care plan can provide assistance in resolving that issue.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  40. If fact, looks like a rather fair and balanced report.

    That’s the best you’ve got?

    After the severe beating you took on this thread?

    Obviously, you are too obtuse to be embarrassed, Staunch Brayer.

    Paul (146bba)

  41. alphie…

    Seeing as the target of the raid was not caught and the Iraqi press is filled with pictures of dead Iraqi toddlers being pulled from the rubble left by our attack…I think it’s safe to say this one goes in the failure column.

    by the way…the picture doesn’t show children being pulled from the rubble, does it?

    I actually went looking to see children pulled from the rubble….

    Where is it??? And, this wasn’t Iraqi press, was it??? This is an AP photo, in the AP article, written by someone who is not Iraqi…

    Make up your mind…either this is the Iraqi press, or it isn’t….

    Darn…I’m digressing, aren’t I???

    reff (99666d)

  42. In year four of our nine-month war in Iraq it is explained to me that I am concentrating on the tactics instead of the strategy, so my analysis is all wrong. This would be funny if it weren’t for all the dead people.

    There isn’t any serious dispute that we have been promised all sorts of progress and turned corners. The American people soured on this war not because it was long, or difficult, or expensive, or even because of the loss of life. They soured on it because anyone paying attention could see that whatever strategy we were pursuing resulted in totally ephemeral progress and this Administration could not be trusted to bring it to any sort of “successful” conclusion, even as the definition of success was repeatedly weakened.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (17dd6e)

  43. Nice of you to speak for the American people Andrew. It must be that Goddess in you.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  44. Seeing as the target of the raid was not caught and the Iraqi press is filled with pictures of dead Iraqi toddlers being pulled from the rubble left by our attack…I think it’s safe to say this one goes in the failure column.

    Now we’ve gone from the entire war being a failure to a single raid in Sadr City being a failure! That’s quite a shift.

    Anyway, again, your standards of success aren’t reasonable.

    Unsubstantiated reports of civilian casualties, the target of the raid wasn’t killed or captured, but according to the military 49 of the enemy were killed, no US forces killed or wounded. The Iraqi government says in response that civilian deaths are tragic but unavoidable thanks to the nature of the enemy. That sounds like a militarily and politically successful operation to me. The residents of Sadr City are the reason the Mahdi Army and the Mahdi splinter groups can operate. They allow them to. They give them shelter and recruits and supplies. It isn’t some situation like the Sunni-dominated areas where al-Qaeda came in as a military ally of the Sunni tribes then tried to take over. Other Shiite areas are seeing the beginnings of something similar to the Anbar Awakening, but not Sadr City. All precautions should be taken to limit civilian casualties everywhere in Iraq, but if some “civilians” get whacked in Sadr City because we’re in a shootout with some JAM thugs that they love, I’m not going to worry about it.

    In year four of our nine-month war in Iraq it is explained to me that I am concentrating on the tactics instead of the strategy, so my analysis is all wrong. This would be funny if it weren’t for all the dead people.

    I don’t know about other people, but I’m not talking about tactics and strategy to you. I’m talking about you deliberately ignoring evidence that contradicts your opinion and responding to arguments made by someone, not me, a year ago, as a response to what I’m saying.

    There isn’t any serious dispute that we have been promised all sorts of progress and turned corners. The American people soured on this war not because it was long, or difficult, or expensive, or even because of the loss of life. They soured on it because anyone paying attention could see that whatever strategy we were pursuing resulted in totally ephemeral progress and this Administration could not be trusted to bring it to any sort of “successful” conclusion, even as the definition of success was repeatedly weakened.

    The definition of success was weakened according to your opinion, which I’ve repeatedly shown to be worth significantly less than a handful of gravel. This is another typical moonbat lie parading around as the conventional wisdom. The Bush Administration never pushed the assertion that Iraq was decisively turning the corner as hard as the right-wing commentariat. Bush repeatedly said that it would be hard, and it would be bloody. He did say a lot of lofty things about the Iraqi elections or the trial of Saddam and things like that, and those were amazing accomplishments for the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein is one of the few dictators in history deposed and then tried by his own people for his crimes against them. They aren’t diminished by the violence. They are even more remarkable because they successfully took place despite the violence.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSCOL24813120071022?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true

    http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/RMOI-787MNA?OpenDocument

    Since the surge truly started in late June with the offensives in areas surrounding Baghdad violence has gone down 70%. From January to September 7,100 civilians have died in Iraq; from January 2006 – 2007 the number was 27,000. Never before in this war has there been seen such a sustained, sharp drop in violence.

    Never before has there been such a sharp, consistent, sustained drop in violence. Previous US offensive operations suppressed violence in a limited geographic area for a few weeks at best. The violence trend is still down, and there’s no sign that it is going to change direction any time soon. Al-Qaeda managed one spectacular attack in the north, against the Yazidis. Since then, nothing.

    Reading accounts of past operations, one clearly gets the sense that it was the United States and the other Coalition forces that were doing everything on their own. That was untenable. Now you read the dispatches of Michael Yon or milbloggers in Iraq and you read of genuine Iraqi-American cooperation, again and again. Because the Americans and the Iraqis both know that they can use the other to get what they want. The Iraqis just want the violence to end, both on that simple level and also so the Americans can scale back from the major-effort, occupation-style military presence they have there now. The Americans want the violence to end so they can withdraw a significant number of troops and proclaim to the world that they poked the Islamist tiger in the eye and then beat him down in his own backyard. Which is what we did. We invaded the very heart of the Arab-Muslim world and invited the jihadis to come and take us on in a slugging match. It took too long and was too hard because of our own mistakes, but we have won that slugging match. It’s over. Al-Qaeda in Iraq got knocked the fuck out and there’s nothing any amount of defeatist bitching can do about it.

    The end result, as violence continues to ebb, will be a gradual drawdown of US troops, with all sides getting to say, with justification, that they won. Iraq will be dependent on the US for a long time even if that doesn’t mean 100,000+ US soldiers in the country.

    Well, everyone will get to say they won and be right except for al-Qaeda, JAM, a significant chunk of world opinion, and our present-day Copperheads. Iraq will be the major issue of 2008… and it will not be a good one for the Democrats. Even though it doesn’t matter. Whoever becomes president, since the choice is Hillary or a GOP candidate, will be in a position to win decisive, lasting victories in Iraq, Afghanistan, and make significant progress towards final victory in Pakistan as well.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  45. Desperate much?

    Anti-war Iraq Body Count now feels it necessary to mention:

    US forces have killed 67 Iraqi civilians (including 19 children) so far in October.

    I wonder how many times Iraq Body Count has said:

    Terrorists have killed X Iraqi civilians (including X children) so far in [month]

    Probably never. But they, today, feel it necessary to make specific mention of how many civilians the US has allegedly killed so far this month.

    Little signs like these. The defeatists are seeing the sand shift under their feet and they’re getting scared.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  46. There have been sharper drops in violence in Iraq before the “surge” chaos.

    Jan-Feb of 2005 was one such period.

    I’d agree the last few months have seen a downturn in violence, but the level is still very high, around 4000 attacks a months according to Patraeus.

    alphie (99bc18)

  47. There have been sharper drops in violence in Iraq before the “surge” chaos.

    No it hasn’t. You’re just throwing out contradicting assertions. I have the numbers.

    Jan-Feb of 2005 was one such period.

    No it wasn’t. Number of attacks and casualties in February 2005 increased slightly compared to January 2005.

    You just pulled that “Jan-Feb of 2005″ out of your ass, didn’t you?

    I’d agree the last few months have seen a downturn in violence, but the level is still very high, around 4000 attacks a months according to Patraeus.

    http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/Signed-Version-070912.pdf

    Data without context is useless. Providing data without context, coming from you, is a deliberate attempt to mislead.

    On Page 19 of the report, there is a graph showing attacks per month. One can clearly see that since the beginning of the offensives in June, attacks have fallen sharply. The graph does not include September, a month in which violence dropped by more than 50% compared to August, and does not include October either, although if things continue October will show a similar drop.

    This argument is, effectively, over. I have exposed literally every point Alphie and Andrew have tried to make as factually inaccurate or the result of completely invalid lines of reasoning and heavy employment of logical fallacies. Give it up thanks.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  48. Aaah, the old “Mission Accomplished” flag?

    Again, that’s twice in one thread.

    According to the Pentagon, attack in Iraq fell from 3000 in January, 2005 to about 2000 in February, then dropped a bit more in March before the numbers began a steady climb up to about 5500 attacks a month this past summer.

    I’m not trying to “mislead” people by claiming to have psychic abilities.

    If the number of attacks in Iraq do continue to fall until they reach zero (or close to it), that would indeed be a victory.

    True statement.

    Americans would find the number of attacks going on in Iraq now intolerable.

    If the number of attacks in Iraq begin to increase, failure?

    alphie (99bc18)

  49. Chaos, the very graph you are so proud of shows exactly what Alphie claimed: a temporary drop in attacks in Jan 2005. There’s a similar dip in November 2006. Now, the graph also shows what you claim: that the Q3 2007 figures show a reduction—down to the levels of early 2006. I’d describe that as an accomplishment worthy of a pretty small celebration, especially until we see if there’s a bounceback similar to the previous dips..

    As far as I can tell, our plan is to support each of the various factions in Iraq just enough that they will not attack each other. Sounds tricky.

    One of your pieces of “evidence” is a statement about the Iraq Body Count website that is wholly conjectural! Are you serious?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (17dd6e)

  50. Hush now, we can’t blame alphie for mourning his beloved insurgency. Let him vent, then the healing comes.

    Techie (c003f1)

  51. According to the Pentagon, attack in Iraq fell from 3000 in January, 2005 to about 2000 in February, then dropped a bit more in March before the numbers began a steady climb up to about 5500 attacks a month this past summer.

    More deliberate misleading. Attacks in January by the graph look to be about 2800 compared to about 1800 in February. That isn’t a larger than 70% drop, sorry, and as we can see from the casualties graph, daily casualties actually increased.

    I am not going to get drawn into this inane dispute anyway, as anyone with a brain – something you lack – knows that the sample period you’re pushing is too small and too outdated to be relevant.

    I’m not trying to “mislead” people by claiming to have psychic abilities.

    Are you serious with this stupid crap?

    You are deliberately misleading people by cherry-picking which data you mention and presenting it without context and generally in a way leading them to a conclusion not supported by all the facts. You say that violence in Jan-Feb 2005 dropped more than during the surge – not only untrue as a matter of percentage of attacks, but not true as a matter of daily casualties and overall casualties. Casualties for Jan-Feb 2005 were almost identical. The percentage drop in attacks is not as large as during the surge. Your assertions are factually wrong, period.

    If the number of attacks in Iraq do continue to fall until they reach zero (or close to it), that would indeed be a victory.

    That’s a ridiculous standard. Zero? Is it also your opinion that nations should stop trying to prevent violent crime since the level of violent crime never drops to “zero (or close to it)”?

    The stupidity of these comments… it just never ends. The standard for success in Iraq should be zero attacks. That’s just retarded.

    Americans would find the number of attacks going on in Iraq now intolerable.

    If you were the one lying to them about it, I’m sure they would.

    If the number of attacks in Iraq begin to increase, failure?

    If the number of attacks in Iraq increase and that increase is sustained over a period of 3-6 months, then yes, that would be a failure.

    Chaos, the very graph you are so proud of shows exactly what Alphie claimed: a temporary drop in attacks in Jan 2005.

    No, liar. Idiot Demagogue claimed that the drop was larger than the current one.

    There’s a similar dip in November 2006.

    No one cares.

    Now, the graph also shows what you claim: that the Q3 2007 figures show a reduction—down to the levels of early 2006. I’d describe that as an accomplishment worthy of a pretty small celebration, especially until we see if there’s a bounceback similar to the previous dips..

    This is an atrocious, deliberately misleading argument. All the eyewitness accounts from Iraq are consistent and they destroy this “it’s only back to the levels of violence a few years ago” bullshit. Again, it is data without context, and it’s annoyingly stupid.

    Early 2006 is before the Samarra bombing that set off the JAM on a retaliation drive against al-Qaeda. That was a watershed moment for Iraq. As the dispatches from Iraq make clear, there has been a tactical and strategic shift since Petraeus took command that have created a momentum and conditions that did not exist in 2006. Comparisons of levels of violence in previous years and now aren’t valid. The US strategy was different, the JAM strategy was different, the Iraqi Security Forces existed in nothing but name, the cooperation of the Iraqi people was significantly lower.

    You are deliberately using data without context, and cherry-picking the data you choose to mention at that, to present a completely misleading and inaccurate picture of the situation in Iraq. People like you are whom Michael Yon is talking about in his latest dispatch excoriating coverage of Iraq.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  52. One of your pieces of “evidence” is a statement about the Iraq Body Count website that is wholly conjectural! Are you serious?

    That isn’t one of my pieces of evidence, that is my laughing at the desperation of an anti-war website to find some way, some how, to maintain the momentum on the Iraq issue. IBC never felt the need to post up “US soldiers killed X amount of Iraqi civilians (including X children) this month” before. Now they do. I wonder why?

    The stupidity of you two is a well that never runs dry, is it?

    chaos (9c54c6)

  53. Henny Penny would have been a better choice for Andrew to compare himself to than Cassandra IMO.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  54. Alpho:

    We all know those are words you’ll never utter at your NAMBLA meeting.

    Why do you labor so hard in the vineyards of terrorism Alpho? Do you really enjoy people being tortured so much? Do you relish the thought of terrorist killing the innocent? Are you turned on by the use of terror to gain your politicl ends?

    The answer is clearly yes.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  55. IBC never felt the need to post up “US soldiers killed X amount of Iraqi civilians (including X children) this month” before. Now they do.

    Are you a regular follower of their website able to make the claim that they have never made such a post before? Or are you merely going backwards from “They have to find to ways to be defeatest because we have turned the corner” to their never making such a post before?

    Incidentally, there is no such comment on their website as of this moment.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  56. Incidentally, there is no such comment on their website as of this moment.

    Liar. It is right there on the link I posted, under the entry for October 21st.

    Are you a regular follower of their website able to make the claim that they have never made such a post before?

    Yes. They’ve never done something like that before that I’ve seen.

    Try harder losers.

    chaos (9c54c6)


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