Despite all the attention focused on the Iraq Study Group’s report, one of its more damaging allegations has largely escaped media scrutiny: The Pentagon and intelligence agencies are drastically underreporting acts of violence in Iraq. The panel said that one day the U.S. reported 93 acts of violence when in fact there were more than 1,100.
AP via Washington Post:
U.S. military and intelligence officials have systematically underreported the violence in Iraq in order to suit the Bush administration’s policy goals, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group said.
In its report on ways to improve the U.S. approach to stabilizing Iraq, the group recommended Wednesday that the director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense make changes in the collection of data about violence to provide a more accurate picture.
The panel pointed to one day last July when U.S. officials reported 93 attacks or significant acts of violence. “Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence,” it said.
“The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases.” It said, for example, that a murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack, and a roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn’t hurt U.S. personnel doesn’t count, either. Also, if the source of a sectarian attack is not determined, that assault is not added to the database of violence incidents.
“Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals,” the report said.