AP Uses Mystery Numbers to Dispute Iraq Fatalities Are Declining
My Election Analysis has this on current trends in Iraq:
81, 76, 50, 49, 43, 25
What are these numbers? This weekÂs Powerball winners? A safe deposit combo? New numbers to torment those poor b*stards stranded on the island in Lost?
No, they’re the number of troops that have died in hostile actions in Iraq for each of the past six months. That last number represents the lowest level of troop deaths in a year, and second-lowest in two years.
But it must be that the insurgency is turning their assault on Iraqi military and police, who are increasingly taking up the slack, right?
215, 176, 193, 189, 158, 193 (and the three months before that were 304, 282, 233)
Okay, okay, so insurgents arenÂt engaging us; they’re turning increasingly to car bombs then, right?
70, 70, 70, 68, 30, 30
Civilians then. They’re just garroting poor civilians.
527, 826, 532, 732, 950, 446 (upper bound, two months before that were 2489 and 1129).
More at the Brookings Institute.
But, this is not how the media reported these same trends, and, notice how they explain it…
The Washington Post said on Saturday, April 1, 2006:
March was the least deadly month in more than two years for U.S. troops in Iraq, but a surge in killings of Iraqi troops and civilians suggests that the overall death rate in the conflict is growing, according to military data.
U.S. forces suffered 30 fatalities in the past month, less than one a day, according to data compiled by the Brookings Institution. It was the lowest total since February 2004, when 21 service members were killed. Combat-related deaths during March numbered 25, declining for the fifth consecutive month. The March numbers could still rise because the military sometimes does not report deaths until several days after they occur.
But recent weeks have also been among the most lethal of the war for Iraqi civilians, police officers and soldiers, who were killed and wounded at a rate of about 75 a day, a rate three times as high as at the start of 2004. The U.S. military’s count of Iraqi civilian casualties is likely far lower than the actual total, because many attacks go unreported.
So these deaths go unreported but somehow the AP picked them up from their reporters on the Iraqi street?
It’s interesting that Jonathon Finer from the AP has such a high number when even the liberal Iraqi Body Count shows a much lower fatality number than “75 per day”. There are no daily reports coming from Iraq that would even total 75 fatalities for one day in the last several weeks, let alone an average!
But, since Jonathon is adding in “actual” mysterfatalitieslites that are “not reported” then that probably explains this interesting phenomenon.
This is not the first time that the Washington Post has used fatality numbers much higher than the official numbers being reported at that time.
One thing is for certain… If they are going to error, you can bet it’s going to be on the high side!