Just Look At That Progress!

Haha. Check out the graph of US Iraq war fatalities that accompanied a brief news item at AOL (Where Are We Headed?):

And you guys rag on me for being misleading.

ThinkProgress has more. Thanks to Janus for the link.

8 Responses to “Just Look At That Progress!”

  1. adam_blust Says:

    That is funny. And not funny haha, but funny sad.

    The thing is, most people are going to look at that and marvel at how well things are going.

  2. cyprian Says:

    That’s not misleading, unless you think it’s 2007. Everyone, just settle down. Yah, maybe it’s targeted at morons, but you’ve all proven you know how to read graphs.

  3. ethan-p Says:

    That reminds — 78% of all statistics are made up.

  4. treehugger Says:

    And only 27% of people know that ethan-p. ;-)

  5. celebrim Says:

    In your defence, its quite true that a bunch of right-wing Hawks have recently posted a number of graphs which are just as dishonest as the ones you post. In particular, there is one going around that ‘proves’ that Jimmy Carter’s cuts in the military preparedness budget killed more Americans than the Iraq war. While this is ‘true’, an absolute measurement like that is dishonest, in that at the time in question the US army was more than twice the size that it is today. If you normalize and then subtract out the number of nonhostile deaths occuring today, you’ll find that the number of hostile deaths is larger than the difference in the number of non-hostile deaths.

    Such a graph is only useful for pointing out that the number of US military deaths in non-hostile action is non-trivial, and that the forces deployed in Iraq would still have had some 800 deaths so far in the war even if noone was fighting them.

    But, it’s still dishonest.

    Nonetheless, its possible to incorporate the 2003 and 2006 statistics into the graph in an honest way. Simply normalize them for the number of days that have transpired and project forward. That would put the dot for 2006 at about 620, and the dot for 2003 at about 580. Such a graph would show progress compared to 2004 and 2005, but not nearly to the degree that the dishonest one does.

    Anyway, I’ll stick my neck out and make a prediction. US military fatalities in Iraq for the whole of 2006 will come in under 620. IAF deaths for 2006 will be less than 2005. Iraqi civilian deaths for 2006 will be somewhat higher than 2005. This is of course nothing more than a formalization of a prediction I made some two years back, that he terrorists will begin by trying to intimidate the American army into capitulation, but they will fail in that. Then they will turn to trying to intimidate the Iraqi army into capitulation and they will fail in that. Finally, they will try to intimidate the Iraqi people in capitulating in the hopes that the Iraqi people can be whipped into putting on thier chains, and they will – like every single terrorist campaign before them – fail in that as well. The more that the AIF morph from an guerilla insurgency into a pure terrorist organization, the more the Iraqi public will turn against them and ultimately that is how you defeat a guerilla campaign. Read about the Algerian wars if you don’t believe me. The Iraqi insurgents have never had a winning strategy, and for 2006 they’ve decided to embark on an utterly suicidal one. The real question is whether the Iraqi Sunni’s as a whole will agree to be part of Al Queda’s human sacrifice.

  6. treehugger Says:

    “Iraqi civillian deaths for 2006 will be somewhat higher than 2005”.

    Don’t watch the news much, eh? Considering that about 1,000 Iraqi’s (that we know of for sure) have been killed in the past couple of weeks I’d say they will be much, much higher.

  7. celebrim Says:

    treehugger: You’ve probably heard the saying that things come in threes. Celebrities die in threes. Planes crash in threes. Corporate scandals come in threes. Mass murders come in threes. Mining accidents come in threes. Shootings at Denny’s come in threes. Whatever.

    A more apt phrase would be that news cycles come in threes. That’s because in reality, these things happen all the time. Small planes crash every week. But, the crash of a small plane only gets reported as national news if it happens in the wake of a notable crash. Hense, it will seem to a person who only gets his information from the news as if these things come in clusters.

    Similarly, it will seem to someone whose only information source is the news that the scale of the civilian casualties in Iraq is unprecedented. In fact, its merely a continuation of Al Queda’s April 2005 anti-Shite offensive that began last year (when Al Queda declared that all Shia in Iraq were guilty of apostacy and thus worthy of death), mixed in with some judicious payback by the Shia community for the on going violence. What’s really different compared to last year is that these massive civilian casualties are occuring during what is otherwise a lull in violence in Iraq. Last year at this time, the story was the 50 or so US troops dying each month to IED’s. The plight of the Iraqi Shia was not then news, because well, as far as the news filters were concerned ‘they were only Arabs’. Now that US fatalities are down, you still need a ‘big story’ to lead with, so you lead with ‘civil war’.

    In fact, last summer civilian casualties peaked out at 1500+ per month (roughly 50 per day), and as you say, ‘those are just the ones we knew about’. Because the press didn’t focus on the Iraqi civilian angle, they were probably undercounted more then than now. So, when I say ‘somewhat’ more than last year, I mean some few thousand more than the 7500 or so that we know about last year.

    So the truth is that I watch the news. And, I don’t have a short memory.

  8. treehugger Says:

    It’s the way that you used the term “somewhat”. Like it’s no big deal or something that a few thousand more innocents die because of your presidents war of choice.

    It’s the same sort of arrogance that is often displayed by the worst administration America has ever seen, the current one.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.