you’re ahead if you don’t count the bodies

Iraq:  A 75% Drop In Killing If You Don’t Count The Bodies:  Daily Kos 

Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 05:06:24 AM PDT

[Bumped — Plutonium Page.]

With the long-awaited Patraeus White House report on progress in Iraq due in two weeks, Gen. David Patraeus gave new meaning to the expression, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” when he:

…told the Australian that there had been a 75 percent reduction in religious and ethnic killing since last year

You read something like that and ask yourself, how can that be?  You remember the more than 50 Iraqis killed at a religious festival the other day, the 500 Yazidis killed two weeks ago, the tortured victims of death squads found throughout Iraq every day and you ask yourself, how can there be a 75% reduction in killings in Iraq?  Well, it’s easy.  You just don’t count the bodies.

Of course the Bush administration has never made any meaningful effort to track civilian fatalities in Iraq, but as hard as they try to ignore it, the killings continue and the bodies pile up.  So where did Gen. Petraeus come up with his number?  In all of 2006, there were 16,564 reported (emphasis on reported) civilian deaths, and in the first eight months of 2007, there has been 14,732 deaths.  So, civilian deaths are down about 11%…but there are four months left in the year.  Or was Gen. Petraeus comparing the same time periods from last year and this year?  If that’s the case, in the first 8 months of 2006, there were 8,490 civilian deaths versus the 14,732 in the first 8 months of 2007, which is an increase of nearly 75%.  Is Gen. Petraeus using Karl Rove’s math? When the White House was asked about this, Tony Snow said:

MR. SNOW: …The other thing is, how one measures overall violence, it would be interesting to see what that metric is. General Petraeus clearly has a different view of that. I would defer to him on that.

You see, proving that Bush’s surge is working is easy.  Announce that those once vital benchmarks are no longer operative, pretend that the training of Iraqi security forces is right on track, disregard the 723 U.S. troops who have died since the surge began.  And of course, ignore the thousands and thousands of Iraqis who have died.  Why change course now?

And in two weeks, Gen. Petraeus will appear before Congress and swear that the surge is working and the administration will ask for another $200 billion to, “finish what we started.”  The only question left is, will the Democratic leadership continue to support the administration or will they choose to finally support the troops?  Instead of listening to George Bush’s man on the ground, perhaps they should listen to Spc. Yvenson Tertulien:

I don’t see any progress. Just us getting killed. I don’t want to be here anymore.

He sounds a whole lot more honest, doesn’t he?  

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