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Posted: 9/29/2004 8:08:36 AM EDT
Analysis of their OWN DATA in their own aritcle by the Belmont Club shows that their data not only does not support their conclusion but it DOES support the assertions of the Iraqi Prime Minister.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The Fog of War
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.

Link Posted: 9/29/2004 8:15:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 8:16:04 AM EDT
You expect anything less from the folks who brought you Jayson Blair and his BS.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 8:19:34 AM EDT
Nothing will happen. CBS hasn't made any changes because they know the sheep will forget all about it after the next episode of Survivor.
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