Fuzzy math

Way back in 2000, you may recall George Bush disingenuously accusing Al Gore of using “fuzzy math.”  When it comes to lying with statistics, of course, the Bush administration has left no one behind in the past 6 1/2 years.  In case you have heard about all the great data coming out of Iraq suggesting that the surge is working, there's plenty of reason to doubt it.  The Washington Post buried this damning story on page A16:

The U.S. military's claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq
in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and
outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying
statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends…

Others who have looked at the full range of U.S. government statistics
on violence, however, accuse the military of cherry-picking positive
indicators and caution that the numbers — most of which are classified
— are often confusing and contradictory. “Let's just say that there
are several different sources within the administration on violence,
and those sources do not agree,” Comptroller General David Walker told Congress on Tuesday in releasing a new Government Accountability Office report on Iraq…

Recent estimates by the media, outside groups and some government agencies have called the military's findings into question. The Associated Press
last week counted 1,809 civilian deaths in August, making it the
highest monthly total this year, with 27,564 civilians killed overall
since the AP began collecting data in April 2005…

Juan R.I. Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan
who is critical of U.S. policy, said that most independent counts “do
not agree with Pentagon estimates about drops in civilian deaths.”

Hmmm, cannot imagine why we shouldn't just believe George Bush and his lackeys.  Not to mention, this report doesn't even mention the seasonal variation which potentially accounts for any perceived success of the surge (i.e., its just too damn hot too be out killing in the Iraqi Summer).  As Kevin Drum documents in the preceding link, every month this year has had higher casualties than the same month last year.

And last but not least, the whole point of the surge was for military success to allow for political reconciliation and that definitely ain't happening.

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