… and Statistics

This has appeared in various places, but I’m on the run this morning and I really wanted to post on this, so I’ll simply credit Kevin Drum who himself links to this article in the Washington Post:

Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. “If a bullet went through the back of the head, it’s sectarian,” the official said. “If it went through the front, it’s criminal.”

Kevin Drum also cites Ilan Goldenberg:

“So to recap. The violence numbers do not include: 1) Sunni on Sunni violence. 2) Shi’a on Shi’a violence 3) Car bombs 4) Getting shot in the front of the head.”

If these reports are accurate, this is cherry-picking and parsing of so high a quality I am convinced the military must have hired Thomas Sowell.


And Atrios links to a McClatchey article on US casualties. Worth a read if you want to understand how the number parsing seems to change…