Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Less Horrible News from Iraq

The number of civilian casualties in Iraq was much lower in September than in August.
Kevin Drum has a nice graph.

I think the dramatic decline in deaths from August to September could have been forecast (although checking my blog I see I didn't do so). This sounds negative, but I mean that there have been 60 less awful days in the past two months. The (honest) August numbers include the estimated 572 deaths from bombings in Qahtaniya on August 14 (the victims were Yazidi). This was an immense catastrophe and monstrous crime, but it could have happened on any day for years. It was reasonable to guess that such a massacre would not occur in September. That would imply that fewer people would be killed per day in September than in June and July (as fewer will killed in August except August 14).

I think the bizarre numbers presented by Petraeus must have been calculated by excluding the August 14 deaths in Qahtaniya. It might be reasonable to look at deaths other than those when trying to forecast, but just pretending they didn't happen is still perjury in my book.

Still, the important point is that the good news is spread over 60 of 61 days not just 30 days which is ... still much less important than the political stalemate.


Anonymous said...

This is one of your more incoherent posts. I cannot figure out what your point is, other than that 8/14 was an outlier during any sub-period over the last 3 years; and, like food and energy in the CPI, is reasonably excluded to get an accurate take on likely trends.

Robert said...

That was my point, so I guess it just seemed incoherent. I only used about three times as man words as necessary , which is good for me. Surely I regularly manage greater incoherence. I fear you have not been reading loyally whoever you are.