Monday, April 03, 2006

Update on Iraq's "civil war"

To gauge the progress of the newly declared civil war in Iraq, I computed some relevant statistics from the latest report by the Brookings Institution (pdf). The statistics I computed compare the last three months of 2005 (prior to the onset of "civil war") with the first 3 months of 2006 (a period during which the media declared that Iraq's civil war had finally begun). And although I don't show the data, I should emphasize that the statistics for March 2006 alone (the first full month following the onset of the putative civil war) was the best month in more than a year. Civilian casualties, for example, have not been as low as they were in March of 2006 since mid-2004. It is a tough but gradually improving situation in Iraq. Very few people who get their information from the major media outlets appreciate this.

People should examine these numbers and then judge for themselves whether or not Iraq has descended into a civil war and whether or not the media has portrayed the situation there in an objective and balanced way.

US troop fatalities:

Last 3 months of 2005: 233
First 3 months of 2006: 152 (down 35%)

US troops wounded:

Last 3 months of 2005: 1492
First 3 months of 2006: 1092 (down 27%)

Iraqi military and police fatalities:

Last 3 months of 2005: 584
First 3 months of 2006: 537 (down 8%)

Iraqi civilian fatalities (upper estimate):

Last 3 months of 2005: 2003
First 3 months of 2006: 2058 (up 2.7%)

Note: 4462 Iraqi civilians were killed in the 3-month period from July, 2005 through September, 2005. As indicated above, that number dropped to 2003 during the last quarter of last year and then stayed at approximately that level during the first quarter of this year (during which time civil war raged in the minds of reporters covering Iraq).

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