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Iraq Study Group: US Gov't Grossly Underreports Iraq Violence

Want to know how bad things are in Iraq?  Don't go the Pentagon for the whole story (as if you didn't know that already). From the section on Intelligence in the Iraq Study Group's report (pdf):

In addition, there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq. The standard for
recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases. 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 mortar attack that doesn�t hurt U.S. personnel doesn�t count. For example, on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals.

(emphasis POGO's)

Jonathan Landay of McClatchy Newspaper's Washington Bureau notes that this:

...confirmed a Sept. 8 McClatchy Newspapers report that U.S. officials excluded scores of people killed in car bombings and mortar attacks from tabulations measuring the results of a drive to reduce violence in Baghdad.

By excluding that data, U.S. officials were able to boast that deaths from sectarian violence in the Iraqi capital had declined by more than 52 percent between July and August, McClatchy newspapers reported.

By: Nick Schwellenbach
Director of Investigations, POGO

Nick Schwellenbach At the time of publication, Nick Schwellenbach was Director of Investigations for the Project On Government Oversight.

Authors: Nick Schwellenbach

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