Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Moon of Alabama (via the TPMpire)

Writes of Michael E. O'Hanlon

In today's introducing text O'Hanlon notes:

Nonetheless, the military momentum appears real, despite the tragic multiple truck bombings in Ninevah Province on Aug. 14 that made that month the deadliest since winter. Overall, civilian fatality rates are down perhaps one third since late 2006, though they remain quite high.

In detail:

made that month the deadliest since winter

The numbers for 'Iraqi Civilian Fatalities' listed in this and former editions of the "State of Iraq" are:

* 2,500 for August 2007
* 3,000 for May 2007
* 2,500 for February 2007
* 4,000 for November 2006
* 3,000 for August 2006

If indeed August was the deadliest month since winter, as O'Hanlon writes, why are his own numbers for May 2007 higher than the ones for August 2007?

Overall, civilian fatality rates are down perhaps one third since late 2006

This of course directly contradicts the words above. "Deadliest month" and "one third less" do not fit together. Which is it?

and concludes

To summarize:

The text O'Hanlon delivers is in itself contradictionary. It does not reconcile with the numbers he presents. The numbers do not fit the coloring scheme of the graphic tables. That some of these numbers differ in size from those of other sources is explainable, but contradicting up-/down-trends are baffling. The criteria O'Hanlon uses seem arbitrary. One suspects that criteria that are trending negatively are dropped while criteria showing 'success' get added.

O'Hanlon is often described as a 'scholar' and he is a visiting lecturer at Princeton University.

Judging from the quality or of his research as documented above, I can not recommend to take any of his courses.


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