THE POST'S STATISTICAL SCANDAL ON IRAQI FATALITIES
Leo Rennert does it again with another important analysis ...........
HOW THE WASHINGTON POST SKEWS STATISTICS ABOUT BOTH IRAQ AND ISRAEL
Since the start of the Palestinian intifada, the Post has misled its readers by steadfastly refusing to break down fatality figures between combatants and non-combatants -- between terrorists and innocent bystanders.
Now, the Post is committing a similar grievous error and misleading readers with regard to casualties in Iraq. In the run-up to the election, the Post has published statistical boxes summarizing Iraq casualties. These in turn are broken down between U.S. military casualties, allied military fatalities, U.S. civilian fatalities and grossly misleading counts of "Iraqi Civilian Fatalities."
What does the Post mean by "Iraqi Civilian Fatalities" (It gives the latest totals as falling between 14,181 and 16,312)? If you were think that these were Iraqi bystanders killed in operations by the U,S,-led coalition -- a quite natural impression -- you'd be absolutely wrong. In a small-type footnote, the Post cites as its source a private British web site, www.Iraqbodycount.net, which The Post says compiles civilian deaths "due to war-related events." To buttress the reliability of this web site, the Post notes that it bases its count on no fewer than 40 media sources. Sounds impressive -- until you pull up the web site.
What you find is that this British group doesn't confine itself at all to civilian victims of coalition fire. Included in its total of "Iraqi civilian fatalities" are all the insurgents and terrorists killed in encounters with coalition forces. Check the data base and you will find listed as "civilian" fatalities terrorists at a "suspected al-Zarqawi checkpoint," at a "suspected al-Zarqawi safehouse," at a "suspected meeting place for al-Zarqawi supporters," etc. All these insurgents and terrorist are just "civilians." In fact what this British group does is to include in its total count of Iraqi "civilian fatalities" anyone who wasn't wearing the uniform of Saddam's army. No matter that he's firing RPGs or slicing somebody's throat.
The second highly misleading aspect of the British group's figures is that while they identify location, target and weapons in fatal incidents, they fail to provide any breakdown totals between attackers -- where they coalition forces or terrorists/insurgents? So, while the gross totals garnered from all sorts of media sources may be fairly accurate, they don't tell the reader anything about whether the victims were really innocent civilians or combatants and similarly are silent on who actually pulled the trigger -- the coalition or insurgents/terrorists.
But wait there's more. In checking the data base back to July, I could not find a single instance of a fatality resulting from the beheading of foreigners by terrorists. Shouldn't they be included among "Iraq Casualties"? The British group says it weeps for all civilians killed but somehow overlooks the most brutal killings of all. Perhaps because the British group just wants to bestow its sympathy on Iraqi victims and these are non-Iraqi victims. But whatever the reason for this gross omission, shouldn't the Post provide a total of beheaded victims since the British group evidently does not?
So how does this British source justify its methodology to inflate "civilian" deaths with terrorist fatalities? The answer: With some contorted legalisms and a far-left ideology. It declares that its "civilian" count includes all "deaths resulting from a breakdown in law and order" and puts the entire blame on the U.S. and the U.K. These are all "civilian deaths attributed to our military intervention in Iraq," it declares, thereby exculpating al-Zarqawi and indicting George Bush and Tony Blair. Or, in another one of its formulations, these are "all deaths which the Occupying Authority has a binding responsibility to prevent under the Geneva conventions and Hague regulations." The terrorists get a free pass.
Its methodology is steeped anti-war ideology (that is, when the U.S. and the U.K. go to war -- not the other guys). For example, it argues that 13,000 "civilians" have been killed since 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq, compared with only 3,375 killed in "paramilitary attacks in Western targets" -- a 4-1 disproportionate ratio that compounds U.S.-British sins. The British group uses "terrorist" only in quotation marks and, as you can see, prefers the more sanitized "paramilitary" euphemism.
In case you still have doubts about its obvious political objectives, the web site strongly condemns virtually all major U.S. political figures -- from Howard Dean to George Bush. Looking over the pre-nomination field earlier this year, it declared that "apart from Denis Kucinich, every White House contender is a willing, unforced colluder with the official downgrading and dismissal of Iraqi deaths."
What makes the Post's ready reliance on the statistics of this highly political group all the more sad and ironic is that the Post has turned thumbs down on figures of a respected think tank, the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, which breaks down combatant/non-combatant fatality statistics since the start of the intifada.
So while the Post's editor assures readers that there is a total wall of separation between the editorial page and the news pages, he totally overlooks the fact that his news editors have their own political agenda and skew statistics about deaths in Iraq, Israel and Palestinian territories so that the role of terrorists is neatly hidden from readers' eyes.