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Fixing the Numbers

The Defense Intelligence Agency has prepared a briefing chart using data drawn from Gen. Petraeus’ command that shows that violence in Iraq against security forces, including the U.S. military, has barely diminished. Petraeus, using the same information, is expected to argue that there has been a major drop in attacks.


AP via Yahoo:

Insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians, their security forces and U.S. troops remain high, according to the document obtained by The Associated Press. It is a conclusion that the well-regarded Army officer who is the top U.S. commander in Iraq is expected to try to counter when he and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, testify before Congress on Monday and Tuesday.

More than four years into a conflict initially thought to be a cakewalk, the war has become a battle of statistics, graphs and conflicting assessments of progress in a country of more than 27 million people.

The defense intelligence chart makes the point, with figures from Petraeus’ command in Baghdad, the Multinational Force-Iraq. Congressional auditors used the same numbers to conclude that Iraqis are as unsafe now as they were six months ago; the Bush administration and military officials also using those figures say that finding is flawed.

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