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The Fog of War (The Belmont Club looks at NY Times statistics on Iraq)
The Belmont Club | September 28, 2004 | Wretchard

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
al-Anbar                     1,260,200            138,501         332                       26.35 2.40
Babil                     1,454,700                6,468           76                         5.22 11.75
Baġdād                     6,677,000                   734      1,000                       14.98 1362.40
al-Basrah                     1,916,000              19,070 13                         0.68 0.68
Dahuk                        496,100                6,553 13                         2.62 1.98
Di Qar                     1,458,500              12,900 13                         0.89 1.01
Diyalā                     1,397,500              19,076         123                         8.80 6.45
Irbil                     1,349,200              14,471 13                         0.96 0.90
Karbala                        731,500                5,034 13                         1.78 2.58
Maysan                        784,300              16,072 13                         1.66 0.81
al Mutanna                        537,700              51,740 13                         2.42 0.25
an Najaf                        954,100              28,824           13                         1.36 0.45
Ninawa (Niniveh)                     2,514,800              35,899         283                       11.25 7.88
al Qadisiyah                        924,900                8,153           13                         1.41 1.59
Salah-ah-Din                     1,113,400              26,175         325                       29.19 12.42
as-Sulaymaniyah                     1,677,500              17,023 13                         0.77 0.76
at Tamim                        927,200              10,282 13                         1.40 1.26
Wasit                        964,600              17,153 13                         1.35 0.76
Totals:                     27,139,200             434,128      2,295

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.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: belmontclub; iraq; napalminthemorning; rathergate
How many thousands of stories have we had from the Times -- all of them trying to discourage and demoralize the public about the liberation of Iraq? We can count on them to make the case for failure each and every day.

The link is here: The Fog Of War

1 posted on 09/29/2004 9:07:28 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark; Grampa Dave; blam; SunkenCiv; Howlin; MEG33; Mo1; McGavin999; Brad's Gramma; Dog; ...
Somewhere in my TV browsing , I heard that the basis of the word "attack" has now been changed. In a prior period this meant attacks on US or Coalition forces...now , however that has been revised to include attacks on Iraqi citizens and the new Iraqi Froces being trained!

I'm pinging many others to see if anyone can add more detail to my comment.

Results in a huge increase !!!!

Your media at work!
2 posted on 09/29/2004 9:17:37 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: 68skylark
How many thousands of stories have we had from the Times -- all of them trying to discourage and demoralize the public about the liberation of Iraq?

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.

3 posted on 09/29/2004 9:18:35 AM PDT by Polybius
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To: Polybius

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.


4 posted on 09/29/2004 9:25:36 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark

bump!


5 posted on 09/29/2004 9:28:46 AM PDT by USMCVet
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Your media at work ~ Bump!


6 posted on 09/29/2004 9:38:23 AM PDT by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: 68skylark

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.


7 posted on 09/29/2004 9:40:52 AM PDT by scory
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To: scory
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.

8 posted on 09/29/2004 9:45:52 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark
LOOK at the statistics: virtually ALL of the action is in Bagdhad.

Where are the NYSlimes reporters? virtually ALL the time in and around their Bagdhad hotels.

They need to get out more . . . .

9 posted on 09/29/2004 9:53:34 AM PDT by rebel_yell2
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To: 68skylark; ActiveDutyUSMC; dakine; bkwells; chookter; Hacksaw434; thumperusn; Hostel; The Sailor; ..
"Myths" of Iraq Exposed! PING
10 posted on 09/29/2004 9:56:30 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (MAKE SURE YOU ARE CURRENTLY REGISTERED AND VOTE Nov 2nd!)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

BTTT!!!!!!!


11 posted on 09/29/2004 10:00:01 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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?


12 posted on 09/29/2004 10:00:32 AM PDT by Howlin (What's the Font Spacing, Kenneth?)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

bump


13 posted on 09/29/2004 10:02:05 AM PDT by Soaring Feather (~Poetry is my forte.~)
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To: 68skylark
.
The media blows with the wind.

See "Connect the Dots . . . Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden"

http://www.archive-news.net/Articles/SH040923.html.
.

14 posted on 09/29/2004 10:10:30 AM PDT by christie (John F. Kerry Timeline - http://www.archive-news.net/Kerry/JK_timeline.html)
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To: Howlin
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.

That fact will not show up in the MSM!

15 posted on 09/29/2004 10:11:53 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Thanks for the ping!


16 posted on 09/29/2004 10:56:33 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Heh... no surprise there. And aren't attacks by homicidal mass murderers a good reason to stop fighting and turn over the world to them? ;')
George W. Bush will be reelected by a margin of at least ten per cent

17 posted on 09/29/2004 1:30:56 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("All I have seen teaches me trust the Creator for all I have not seen." -- Emerson)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

BZ Ping, Tonk and my thanks.


18 posted on 09/29/2004 7:31:32 PM PDT by BIGLOOK (I once opposed keelhauling but have recently come to my senses.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Bump!


19 posted on 09/29/2004 8:01:29 PM PDT by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Thanks for the ping.


20 posted on 09/29/2004 8:57:24 PM PDT by GOPJ (The effect of‘MSM bias’ is the Democratic party and the press sustain each other’s delusions. Steyn)
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To: 68skylark

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.


21 posted on 09/29/2004 9:01:52 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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