Skip to comments.The Fog of War (The Belmont Club looks at NY Times statistics on Iraq)
Posted on 09/29/2004 9:07:27 AM PDT by 68skylark
The New York Times reports that violence in Iraq is 'sprawling' and 'sweeping' and 'widespread' and has the statistics to back it up -- maybe. James Glanz and Thom Shanker report:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 28 - Over the past 30 days, more than 2,300 attacks by insurgents have been directed against civilians and military targets in Iraq, in a pattern that sprawls over nearly every major population center outside the Kurdish north, according to comprehensive data compiled by a private security company with access to military intelligence reports and its own network of Iraqi informants.
The sweeping geographical reach of the attacks, from Nineveh and Salahuddin Provinces in the northwest to Babylon and Diyala in the center and Basra in the south, suggests a more widespread resistance than the isolated pockets described by Iraqi government officials.
The "Times" source is the Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group Inc, an outfit based in Las Vegas which MSNBC identifies as consisting largely of former Army Rangers.
"If you look at incident data and you put incident data on the map, it's not a few provinces, " said Adam Collins, a security expert and the chief intelligence official in Iraq for Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group Inc., a private security company based in Las Vegas that compiles and analyzes the data as a regular part of its operations in Iraq.
Damning. Or is it? In the next paragraph Adam Collins is quoted as saying:
The number of attacks has risen and fallen over the months. Mr. Collins said the highest numbers were in April, when there was major fighting in Falluja, with attacks averaging 120 a day. The average is now about 80 a day, he said.
So what if the average number of attacks has fallen, part of the mixed signals which the "Times" argues constitutes the "fog of war"? Is it not undeniable that the insurgency was expanding and spreading as evidenced by the Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group Inc list of 2,300 attacks throughout Iraq this month, with 1,000 in Baghdad alone. And in other areas:
During the past 30 days those attacks totaled 283 in Nineveh, 325 in Salahuddin in the northwest and 332 in the desert badlands of Anbar Province in the west. In the center of Iraq, attacks numbered 123 in Diyala Province, 76 in Babylon and 13 in Wasit. There was not a single province without an attack in the 30-day period.
Against this, the "Times" quotes those who argue that the security situation is improving.
Pentagon officials and military officers like to point to a separate list of statistics to counter the tally of attacks, including the number of schools and clinics opened. They cite statistics indicating that a growing number of Iraqi security forces are trained and fully equipped, and they note that applicants continue to line up at recruiting stations despite bombings of them. But most of all, military officers argue that despite the rise in bloody attacks during the past 30 days, the insurgents have yet to win a single battle. ...
In a joint appearance last week in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Bush and Dr. Allawi painted an optimistic portrait of the security situation in Iraq. Dr. Allawi said that of Iraq's 18 provinces, "14 to 15 are completely safe." He added that the other provinces suffer "pockets of terrorists" who inflict damage in them and plot attacks carried out elsewhere in the country. In other appearances, Dr. Allawi asserted that elections could be held in 15 of the 18 provinces. Both Mr. Bush and Dr. Allawi insisted that Iraq would hold free elections as scheduled in January.
Critics might argue that evidence from the Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group Inc make it hard to take the claims of President Bush and Prime Minister Allawie seriously. But are they lying? The following table was constructed entirely from data contained in the "Times" article. The population and area of Iraq's provinces are taken from the World Gazeteer and a map of the Iraqi provinces can found at Global Security Org.
The first thing to notice is that 2,139 of the 2,300 attacks took place in 6 of the 18 provinces. In the absence of data for the other provinces, I have assigned a uniform number of 13 attacks to the remainder in order to make up the total of 2,300. The real hotbeds are Baghdad and areas to the northwest -- the Sunni triangle. By far the greatest density of violence is in Baghdad, where 1,000 attacks have taken place in 732 kilometers.
|Province||2004 Population||Area Size sq km||Attacks as per NYT article||Attacks per 100,000||Attacks per 1000 sq km|
So everything checks out just as the New York Times article reported it. All the facts are individually true, but Prime Minister Allawie's assertion that most provinces are "completely safe" and that security prospects are bright are also supported by those same facts. Such is the fog of war.
The link is here: The Fog Of War
In 1944, it was the job of Joseph Goebbels' Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda to spin the war news in such as a way as to maximize the morale of America's enemies and to demoralize the American Home Front.
In 2004, that function has been taken over by the New York Times, CBS and the rest of the Liberal news media.
You make a good point.
I think there's a myth that back in the good old days, we could count on the press to support the government in times of war. Actually, I think that was mostly true in WWII. Other conflicts sparked sharp debates and even hostility from large sectors of the people and press -- like the Revolution, the War of 1812, the War with Mexico, the Civil War (including the notorious "Copperheads"), the war in the Philippines, etc, etc, right up to Vietnam and the Gulf Wars.
So what he have today is nothing new. We just have to deal with dissent. On the positive side, both voters and historians have not been kind to people who simply dissent for the sake of dissent. Things don't turn out well for those people, and I don't think they'll turn out well this time. We'll know more on election day.
Your media at work ~ Bump!
Wretchard strikes again!
For months now in newspapers and on radios and on the TV pundits, government officials and commenators have predicted a sharp rise in terror attacks in Iraq as our elections approach. For months it has been pointed out that the terrorists CANNOT DEFEAT us militarily and that their only hope is to demoralize the American people and so undermine the war effort that they will vote President Bush out of office. The corollary to this is of course that there will be media willing to go along with them in their efforts and report with the slant the islamofascist terrorists need to achieve their goal. The NYT and leftist media have no excuses given all the exposure given to the intentions of the islamofascists. They are knowingly giving support to our deadly enemies.
I can see no good reason to ever read, listen to or watch any of the leftist media.
I know where you're coming from, brother!
Most of the Times reporting about Iraq is just propaganda, IMHO. But they do have some great reporters also. Their reporter John Burns is one of my heroes, for the way he stood up to Saddam when people around him were not -- that guy has real courage, and his articles are great.
Where are the NYSlimes reporters? virtually ALL the time in and around their Bagdhad hotels.
They need to get out more . . . .
Some guy on Fox who is in Iraq just said that the Iraqis are STILL lining up day after day to apply for the police jobs.
If the situation was so bad, why would they continue to do that?
See "Connect the Dots . . . Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden"
That fact will not show up in the MSM!
Thanks for the ping!
George W. Bush will be reelected by a margin of at least ten per cent
BZ Ping, Tonk and my thanks.
Thanks for the ping.
I would not believe the Clymers at the NYT if they reported the sun would rise tomorrow morning.
They wouldn't tell the truth if it would save their mothers' lives.