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Author Topic: Underreported violence in Iraq
seekingprometheus
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link

"WASHINGTON - U.S. military and intelligence officials
have systematically underreported the violence in
Iraq in order to suit the Bush administration's policy
goals, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group said.

+++

The panel pointed to one day last July when U.S.
officials reported 93 attacks or significant acts of
violence. "Yet a careful review of the reports for
that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of
violence," it said."

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Jacob Grey
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"The American people may have been sold the false idea that the war has been badly run..."
- OSC

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Wayward Son
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"Perception is reality." - Unknown
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Marinero
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At the risk of being intellectually fired upon from all sides, the "war" has been superbly run based on every measure of previous wars. The insurgency was not anticipated widely and not planned for. Those that claim their hindsight as proof of negiligence don't have much to stand on. War is not a video game with pre-programed enemies that require some magic bullet to lay down and not bother you anymore. Even in evaluating day to day violence, what kind of standard are the commanders on the ground supposed to go by? To say that commanders on the ground were trying to tow the party line is irresponsible and rather silly. Maybe at some point a policy maker or buerocrat that set teh standards ofr categorizing incidents as reportable violence or not could have made some tweeks to the criteria to under-report, but not anyone on the ground. The quote comes form page 95 of the report and makes some pretty big assumptions that I don't buy. Look at the bottom of the page and the recommendation is for better analytical resources to be put into evaluating the situation. Of course I expect it to be used as political ammunition BUT don't throw it on the service members, talk to those that give them the forms to fill out.
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Jesse
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Given that they don't state what level of officials are doing the undereporting, and that they use the term "Officials" rather than "Field Officers", I'd appreciate it if you would avoid using the honor of our Armed Forces as a smokescreen.
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DaveS
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Marinero, this is not hindsight. There was plenty of reason to expect the insurgency beforehand (one example is the study group in 1999). Even if you excuse those in charge for not having seen it coming and planned for it, how do you explain that they have steadfastly refused to acknowledge it or to effectively counter it ever since it has been staring them in the face. The good intentions of those in civilian or military command don't excuse their failures on so many levels. We didn't "hire" Bush to do a job, we chose him to lead and he has not done what the people expected of him.
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DonaldD
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Marinero, why are you blaming the military and "commanders on the ground" for poor policy decisions and bad analysis of data? Especially when the report doesn't point fingers anywhere near the military on this subject?

Do you have a bone to pick with the military, or are you just un-american?

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Do you have a bone to pick with the military, or are you just un-american?
[LOL]

What an ass****! [Big Grin]

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DonaldD
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[Smile]
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Wayward Son
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DonaldD's been listening to Cheney too much. [Wink]
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Marinero
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Who is Cheney, I remember that name... fom... somewhere...
I don't know what kind of smokescreen you are talking about exactly, but I do take offense. In response I say "your momma!"
Seriously though, it is my honor I am defending. Who else can collect that kind of information? I also am defeding the honor of intelligence officials because i think they are honestly trying to do their best. How do you know what the intent for setting up the criteria and what it WAS used to measure. The situation when the guidelines were set out may be completely different than it is now (I bet it is). Does teh fact the situation changed mean that they were applying partisan bias?

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Tom_paines_ghost
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Yh, who would think a large unwelcome foreign occupation, combied with destruction of every apparatuse of a state, in a state with the history and ethnic makeup of Iraq would lead to an insurgency?

I mean, Jeesh, if there had only been someway to predict that...

Ohh, Pappy Bush did. One of the reasons he declined to invade in GWI.

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Tom_paines_ghost
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One will note the revelation that Rummy threatened to fire ny officer who even DISCUSSED planning for the postwar in Iraq.
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Rallan
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Well they were just trying to inject a bit of truthiness into the facts, and I for one can't blame them. As Colbert said, reality has a well-known liberal bias [Big Grin]

And I see Marinero's doing a bit of truthiness-editing too, since he seems to have conveniently failed to remember all the folks who were pessmistic both before the war and during the easy kicking-Saddam's-ass stage about America's chances of maintaining order or establishing a meaningful govenrment in Iraq. After all, by the time the Iraq War was launched, we didn't need hindsight. We already had the absolute shambles that was post-invasion Afghanistan to use as an example. Warlords, sectarian strife, and a national government with virtually no real authority were all pretty dang easy to predict for Iraq.

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Kisanth88
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quote:
To say that commanders on the ground were trying to tow the party line is irresponsible and rather silly. Maybe at some point a policy maker or buerocrat that set teh standards ofr categorizing incidents as reportable violence or not could have made some tweeks to the criteria to under-report, but not anyone on the ground. The quote comes form page 95 of the report and makes some pretty big assumptions that I don't buy. Look at the bottom of the page and the recommendation is for better analytical resources to be put into evaluating the situation.
My interpretation of the portion of the report in question; and making an assumption (eeek) on how policy is created in the military and intelligence communities is that most likely these decisions weren't made by people on the ground (unfotunately I haven't had the opportunity to read said report it in its' entirety). I would venture to guess that the rules for "reportable incident" are made by someone higher up on the ladder, or at least an OFFICE (not officeR) higher up.

Most likely it was done without malice. But at the same time without the open-mindedness to include all actions that occur within Iraq in their data-set that may or may not work towards their cause.

It's possible that someone wanted to keep the "database clean" but while doing so they ended up misrepresenting reality.

This is likely a problem of technology as well as a problem of decision making and understanding reality.

IMO the reality is that you need to know all you can. While we are certainly not omniscient (and cannot be), having the most data would seem to be the better option. Having more data would also seem more relevant as things dragged on longer and longer.

quote:
Of course I expect it to be used as political ammunition BUT don't throw it on the service members, talk to those that give them the forms to fill out.

I have my doubts about people throwing it at the service members. Short of a few crazy wack-o's that were audacious enough to mount war protests at some soldiers funerals* the vast majority of America hopes that none of it's servicemen are injured, much less killed.

*Side note regarding people mounting protests at funerals - if that happened in my town I would be down there with a baseball bat if not a firearm, this from a generally anti-war citizen.

-John

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RickyB
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quote:
The insurgency was not anticipated widely and not planned for. Those that claim their hindsight as proof of negiligence don't have much to stand on.
Bullcrap. First of all, it WAS anticipated. Every critique of the war before it began challenged the notion that we would be uniersally welcomed. Second and more important, anyone who invades another country and doesn't even plan-B for an insurgency is an irresponsible incompetent jerkwad.

But keep on cheerleading.

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DonaldD
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"Who else can collect that kind of information"

Marinaro, the point made by the 93/1100 attacks discrepancy was that the problem was not collecting - in some way, 1100 reports of attacks were collected. The problem was in the classification of these attacks, and that is a policy decision, a political decision.

The smokescreen that Jesse referred to may have been unintentional, but it's one that has become almost stereotypical in certain corners - if someone criticises the government, somehow make it sound like it's the military being criticized, then attack the person for being un-american.

Nowhere from what we read was the military being criticized for not collecting the proper information. Policy was being critiqued. Regardless, you claimed that "commanders on the ground" were being maligned, being accused of "trying to tow the party line", an accusation which you seemed to have made out of whole cloth.

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javelin
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quote:
At the risk of being intellectually fired upon from all sides
Well, THAT prediction was a good one...
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Wayward Son
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..but no one could have seen it coming. [Smile]
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Marinero
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Moo-hoo-haha. Actually I had some very trusted advisors and experienced forum-goers tell me it would happen, but I didn't think it was likely. I still don't think that I am being fired upon from all sides, I would call it more being shot at from most of the possible angles.
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javelin
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Oh, come on Marinero - I added my comment so the shooting wasn't all one sided - aren't you EVER happy with anything? [Wink]
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Marinero
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Ice cream? [LOL]

[ December 07, 2006, 01:13 PM: Message edited by: Marinero ]

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Wayward Son
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Yum. Which flavor? [Big Grin]
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Marinero
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marsha marsha marshmallow without a doubt

http://www.benjerry.com/our_products/flavorWorld.cfm

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Marinero
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Were we discussing something else? Hmmm chocolate... hmmm.... war.... hmmm.... Huh what? war ? oh yeah, you guys are wrong!
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Jacob Grey
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"The insurgency was not anticipated widely and not planned for. Those that claim their hindsight as proof of negiligence don't have much to stand on."

I'm sorry, but what about the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets? Where the US helped the fighters in an insurgency that brought volunteers from around the region to fight the occupying forces? The same mujahadeen that bin Laden was a part of and learned that a super power can be expelled from a ME country and how to do that.

Back then, fathers would take their sons on a 'vacation' to kill Soviets for a few weeks then return to their home countries. Today, those sons may be 'vacationing' in Iraq.

Also that, this, being the "war on terror" would be directed against, or prepared against, acutal terror type threats. Like guerilla warfare, terrorism, etc, not a standing army and conventional battles.

Also, the cultural/social reality of the ME was a huge factor in our closing of all bases in Saudi Arabia. Not having foreign troops on your soil in an ingrained value in ME and Islamic culture. The Secularism and three factions in Iraq

The problem is clearly that the Bush team only planning for the rosiest, sun shine and loppipops contigencies, by evidence of their lack of using overwhemling troops to secure the borders and secure the peace, from the beginning.

Rummy believed that war of the future would be small scale and tactical, and could be done cheaply. He customized the military to reflect that. but the counter terror military ops we needed and occupying a huge country are very, very, different things.

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seekingprometheus
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A little something more on the subject:

link

quote:
"The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases," it said.

"A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or a mortar attack that doesn't hurt US personnel doesn't count," the report said.

Any thoughts on the relevance of this information on the validity of the Lancet report?
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flydye45
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What about the AP using dubious stringers to OVERemphasis the violence in Iraq?

No one seems to know who Jamil Hussein is, yet the AP loves him.

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Tom_paines_ghost
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LOL

Overemphasize? It is a mees over there, and getting worse and the press barely reports anything.

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DonaldD
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Since Jamil Hussein has been exposed as a fraud, it's obvious that the whole mess in Iraq is a complete fabrication of the western press.

And now that we've solved the security situation, there's really no point in keeping US troops there - not because of any danger to them mind you, but simply 'cause it costs so much to have them sitting on their butts all day in a desert half way around the world, with nothing to do but play cards.

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DaveS
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It's reasonable for people to ask, as Conservative bloggers do, "How much of the carnage in Iraq is bogus?" The only way to find out is to send people we can trust to see for themselves and then tell us. So, I think it's time for Michelle, Rush, Hannity, and Laura to make a fact finding trip. Maybe things really are going amazingly well.

They can take the "Ralph Peters" Walk of the Avenues and see the lively street life, and Laura can take them to some cute kabob place she knows that the reporters haven't discovered. Hannity probably can't stumble around a corner without tripping over somebody who loves us, and Rush can pick up some fraternity prank souvenirs from the police.

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flydye45
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Well, to listen to kenmeer, you can't walk without tripping over secret mass graves, nor walk outside without kevlar underwear.

Methinks the truth is somewhere in the middle.

I am much more curious about DonaldD's hand waving at the fact our media a) might be played by the extremists, and b) that they are uninterested in determining this fact or admitting their mistakes. Certainly what is demanded of the White House should also be applied to those unelected who try to form public opinion.

Between Al Reuters use of doctored photos and AP's absolute steadfastness behind Jamil and their "secret informants" creating stories no one else seems to hear, one wonders why skepticism is only applied to government entities, not random people off the street with juicy stories. But the mai-tais in the Green Zone are too deelish.

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