08 April 2008

Let's Talk Causes ~ Numbers Do Not Speak For Themselves

This, apparently, is among the graphics that Petraeus displayed during his testimony today. (I've lifted it from the BBC News page.) His point is to show the "success" of the surge in terms of death rates of U.S. military troops. But what does the graphic show? It shows that casualties have indeed declined precipitously in the wake of the surge. OK. Does it explain in any non-tendentious way, why? No. Has the decline resulted because of the prior segregation of Sunni and Shi'a via processes of sectarian cleansing? Did it result from the cease-fire declared by Muqtada al-Sadr? Does it reflect our buying cooperation from the "Sons of Iraq" who might otherwise be fighting us?

Finally, two other questions. What does this graphic tell us about levels of violence, injury and death among Iraqi civilians or, for that matter, between combatant Iraqis who are fighting each other? What does this have to do with political progress in Iraq?

Answer ~ Nothing Crocker or Petraeus said today goes terribly far in answering these questions in a persuasive way.

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Blogger /thehangedman/ said...

The use of troop death statistics by Patraeas shows why these "fatality counters" and "cost of the war" counters on liberal websites are folly.

The crucual statistic was the death of the first soldier on the first day of war.

09 April, 2008 09:46  

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