When you hear Gen. Petraeus’ report…

Those “positive statistics” you hear from him seem to be an excellent case of how to manipulate data. Here’s a nice article from the Washington Post summarizing the issue. For example, the report is touting the reduction in sectarian violence, but

Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. “If a bullet went through the back of the head, it’s sectarian,” the official said. “If it went through the front, it’s criminal.”

Ilan Goldenberg summarized it nicely:

“So to recap. The violence numbers do not include: 1) Sunni on Sunni violence. 2) Shi’a on Shi’a violence 3) Car bombs 4) Getting shot in the front of the head.”

General Petraeus was chosen for this job in no small part so that he would be the one giving this testimony to Congress; and he was chosen for that because he’s widely respected. But him coming before Congress, not reporting on his own professional judgement but on that judgement as modified to accord with administration goals, is a farce.

On the other hand, Adm. William Fallon (commander of CENTCOM) recently spoke at the Commonwealth Club and gave a very interesting talk about his own background and how he sees the present situation in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa. I must say that he’s impressed me a great deal of late; his presence in CENTCOM strikes me as some of the best news coming out of that part of the world these days.

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Published in: on September 10, 2007 at 16:26  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. As usual, you provide a lot of great information.

  2. As usual, you provide a lot of great information.

  3. Thanks; glad you’re enjoying it.

  4. Thanks; glad you’re enjoying it.

  5. When I heard Petraeus say “I wrote this report” and not the white house, I knew he was hiding something. You don’t say that sort of thing unless you’re trying to convince people that what appears to be the case is not in fact so. *sighs* At least he recommends beginning to withdraw troops. Fucking American military screwing up another country (Haiti comes to mind).

  6. When I heard Petraeus say “I wrote this report” and not the white house, I knew he was hiding something. You don’t say that sort of thing unless you’re trying to convince people that what appears to be the case is not in fact so. *sighs* At least he recommends beginning to withdraw troops. Fucking American military screwing up another country (Haiti comes to mind).

  7. Of course, there were problems already, but the American military presence, through many errors, has exacerbated a lot of problems. And created new ones. Any news on how Basra is doing since the Brits pulled out?

  8. Of course, there were problems already, but the American military presence, through many errors, has exacerbated a lot of problems. And created new ones. Any news on how Basra is doing since the Brits pulled out?


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