Friday, September 08, 2006

I don’t see dead people

So the Pentagon touted an astounding 50% drop in civil war-related deaths in Baghdad, thanks to Operation Forward Together, but then the Iraqi Health Ministry revised its figures up drastically, showing the number of deaths basically the same. Not that the Pentagon is admitting it, as shown by that hapless general on McNeil-Lehrer yesterday, still saying “well that’s not what our numbers show.” Dude, their numbers come from the Baghdad morgue. They get dead bodies, they count dead bodies. You’re not disputing numbers, you’re disputing the existence of 750 corpses you evidently didn’t know about. So the next question is: we’re occupying their country, we have responsibility for security, we’re running a major operation to reduce sectarian violence in the capital... and we don’t know how many fatalities there are in the capital to within plus or minus 50%? We had no one on the ground with enough of a sense of the overall picture to realize that the claim that deaths were down 50% did not accord with that overall picture?

Best line in the WaPo story: the Health Ministry is planning to build some more morgues, get more refrigeration units and hire more personnel to cope with the influx of dead bodies, but said it had “nothing to do with the violence and killing.”

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