Monday, March 21, 2005
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So how's Iraqification going?
Derrick Jackson argued in the Boston Globe last Friday that the U.S. has no exit strategy for Iraq and this is costing us allies:
Sounds like Iraqification is not going well. However, two press reports from inside Iraq suggest that in fact progress has been made. John F. Burns reports in the New York Times that the transfer of duties from the U.S. military to Iraqi security forces has helped in one Baghdad neighborhood:
Meanwhile, Time's Christopher Allbriton reports on the growing professionalism of The Iraqi Special Forces Brigade (ISOF):
At this rate, the departure of other coalition country forces from Iraq is less a sign of failed American leadership than a sign that they can hand over their duties to the Iraqis themselves. Everyone agrees that this is the best possible exit option.
Developing....posted by Dan on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM
I think some good progress is being made in Iraqification in general (especially in the elite units), but there's still work to be done. One of the reasons there is some skepticism is that initially we were told (back in late 2003) that 100K plus people were trained, but that proved not to be the csae. The same happened around 1 year ago when Iraq units proved to be largely on paper. But now, it might actually be the case that Iraqi special units are well trained and equipped.
One crucial point is the sectarian breakdown of these units -- we don't want all Kurds or even alll Kurds + Shia.
At least for now, American or British troops are largely taking over the slack from what I've read, not Iraqi forces.
It is also vital that Iraqi Forces be placed under the civilian government when that is formed.posted by: erg on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Reduction in American troops ? Haven't we been promised that for a while, for nearly 2 years ? I do expect to see a reduction as some of the extra troops kept on for the election are drawn down, then lets see.
It remains to be seen if the insurgents actually pulled our or were beaten. The article mentions that Haifa street mortar attacks into the Green Zone are less common, but says nothing about mortar attacks overall.
British troops are filling in the gapsleft by the Dutch, so at least for now they're not replaced by Iraqis. Withdrawal of troops is not an indication of US foreign policy failure, but neither is it necesaarily a sign that Iraqi units are ready to take over.posted by: Jon on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
"Reduction in American troops ? Haven't we been promised that for a while, for nearly 2 years"
Yes, but John Kerry didnt get elected.
"Withdrawal of troops is not an indication of US foreign policy failure, but neither is it necesaarily a sign that Iraqi units are ready to take over. "
Agreed. One thing has nothing to do with the other. The coalition nations simply dont have the resources to keep their troops on indefinately. Dont underestimate how much of this comes down to dollars and cents. Even big wealthy nations like Germany, France, and Canada could only provide a pittance for the 'popular' war in Afghanistan. And that was a strain. Germany had to rent cargo planes from Ukraine. France cant even get their one carrier off the dock.posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Let me see if I understand this. The securing of one neighbourhood in Baghdad after two years of occupation is evidence of progress. Is that what you're really trying to sell?posted by: Robert McClelland on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
My mistake. Rumsfeld and other administration officials who had said exactly that 2 years back, expecting military units to be down to 50K to 60 K by late year must have all been mind-controlled by Kerry. Similarly, when tours of duty were extended in late 2003, early 2004 for several soldiers, after they were told they would be going back, it was all at Kerry's direction.posted by: Jon on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I believe this administration has consistantly said they will not place arbitrary time table on the withdrawal of troops. And properly so. As we have seen in the past few months, events are unpredictable, for the good and bad. We will withdraw troops when they can safely be withdrawn. That is what the WH has been consistantly saying for 2 years.
"Let me see if I understand this. The securing of one neighbourhood in Baghdad after two years of occupation is evidence of progress. Is that what you're really trying to sell?"
If even the NYT stumbles over something positive, you know things must be markedly improving.
I know you guys want desperately to be negative, but in this case the facts just dont bear it out. The plan seems to be working, slowly but surely. That may change radically tomorrow, but for now thats the way it is. It would be nice if you guys would give us some metrics for success so we can at least scoff properly when the goal posts start moving.posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
"...administration has consistantly said they will
Key operating word is "arbitrary". Everyone has a
Actually, Bush and the Pentagon have been using
Besides, "Time Table's" are not a useful concept
Try this..."Troops will be removed as soon as the
Troop removal is based on a PR game. If you base
Xiaolin Student: "So are they winning or losing?"
Master Fung: "If one wishes to know if they are
Xiaolin Student: "Do you come with subtitles?"
########################posted by: James on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
"Reality is destroying them quicker than the
...make up? Where did that come from.
Should be "made up". Bad keyboard bad...
"Reality is destroying them quicker than the
There...that's better...posted by: James on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
The NYT's regular ME coverage has actually been pretty good. In particular, they had some excellent coverage out of Lebanon, including an article on Sunday on how Hariri fell our with Assad. There was also an article 2 weeks back about Shia in Saudi Arabia.
John Burns, for those who've forgotten, is the guy who wrote an op-ed after the war talking about his Iraqi minder during the war, and how he was threatened by the minder and how he responded. That made him the darling of the right-wing for a while. [ I don't think he's biased either, I think he's an excellent reporter]
Given that we've been assured several times that (expecially in 2003) that the insurgency would die out very soon and that we were making lots of progress, that lots of trained Iraqi armies were available, some skepticism is probably in order.
Certainly supporters of the war should know about moving goal-posts. But I would settle for what we were told would happen within a year of the war:
-- Total US expenditure in Iraq drops to the same level as Afghanistan (a similarly sized but much poorer country)
-- The Iraqi Army is under the control of a reasonable secular, reasonably democratic, non pro-Iranian government ( I wouldn't so far as to say anti-Iranian) that is popuarly elected for a full term.
"But I would settle for what we were told would happen within a year of the war:"
Who told you any of that by the way?
Lets for a moment be real here. Assuming for a moment these things were actually "assured" us, would you, and could really expect anyone to be able to predict with any accuracy any of those things? Of course not, its totally unknowable. Did Bush understand that? Who knows, but that isnt the point. Unless you break down in despair when your president cant accurately predict the future, you live with uncertainty in life. All that matters is the ledger; at the end of the day do we have a goal (yes) and how well will it be fufilled. Who knows? But I would caution those that predicted every manner of disaster from before the start of this war up to and including nuclear holocaust, and who besides that assured us decidely that democracy was neither wanted nor possible in the Middle East, that just maybe going down the checklist of prognostiction isnt in your best interests. Especially when it seems rather petty looking at the Iraqi peoples' daily evolution.posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Wolfowitz said that he expected Iraq to fund its own reconstruction.
Rumsfeld said that he expected the US troop strength to be drawn down to 50 thousand or so in 6 months and probably more after that.
Many administration officials said several times that they expected Iraq to remain unified.
And I'm sorry you think the possibility of less than an attack a week is so implausible.
You're the one who asked us for a checklist that things are going well in Iraq. Now that I've provided one, you're backing away ? I challenge anyone to claim these are unreasonable goals.
Equal caution should be ascribed to those (in high places) who told us so many exaggerations and made so many miscalculations about Iraq.posted by: Jon on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
> It would be nice if you guys would give us some
We don't negotiate with ourselves in public.
But seriously, don't you think that it is incumbent on the Administration that /launched/ the unprovoked war to provide the goals and the timetables? Rather than Rumsfeldian blather which is denied at the next Q&A session anyway?
Crankyposted by: Cranky Observer on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
It would be nice if you guys would give us some metrics for success so we can at least scoff properly when the goal posts start moving.
Okay, it's the same metric that I've had for the past two years.
An end to the war.
And I'm not unrealistic either. I fully realize there will be some hardcases in the country who will continue to fight on no matter what, so I don't expect a complete end to the violence. But considering the insurgency has grown at least 4-fold over the past two years and 500+ Iraqis (excluding insurgents) were killed in February, the war is a far cry from over.
Any other metric is meaningless as far as I'm concerned and I'm not overly impressed in the securing of one neighbourhood or any of the other "progress" the pro-war crowd are desperately clinging to.posted by: Robert McClelland on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Shall we get a little bit real here?
An 18-year-old American signs on with the armed forces. He or she then has three months or a bit more of basic training; after which comes a short leave, followed by specific training in the specialty he will take on. Specialty training takes from six to nine months depending on details.
So, a little less than a year from enlistment, the newbie reports to a unit and begins on-the-job training. OJT and advanced/recurrent training occupies another year or so, after which the new soldier has become a useful member of the armed forces. Two years, more or less, which is one of the reasons the military isn't anxious to revive the draft -- our modern military is so complex that a draftee isn't in long enough to be useful.
But note that:
None of those preconditions are present in Iraq. The society still contains significant elements of feudalism and tribalism; the traditions, such as they are, of the Iraqi armed forces bear little resemblance to the procedures of successful armies; none of the people there had been trained under the new system [I speak of the first instance]; training syllabuses and procedures had not been developed and tested; the units the new Iraqi soldiers reported to were as new as themselves, with no valid traditions or experience to build on. Critics who claim that the U.S. should have left the Iraqi Army intact and used it are laboring under a severe misconception at best. By American standards Saddam didn't have an army; he had a street-gang with delusions of grandeur.
American soldiers worked their butts off to overcome these disadvantages and by and large have done a great job, but in the end the military culture must in large part intersect the civilian one, or the result is disaster on many levels. It has to be an Iraqi army, not an American one, whether or not its operational procedures are based on ours.
Under those circumstances it will take a long time to develop a real Iraqi army. The Fallujah Brigade (remember?) was a failure -- one which both Iraqis and Americans took to heart. One learns more from analysis of failure than from "Hey, we won, we must've done it right." But there were beginning to be a few marginally effective Iraqi units as early as last summer, which made my jaw drop; now we see more and more of them, and "marginally" being removed from the assessment in a few cases, and what that means is that our Training Command guys are miracle workers. Maybe they should go to the hospitals and try laying on of hands. (It also means the Iraqis are bright and apt, which is really no surprise.)
Were our National Command Authority overoptomistic? Damn straight. What critics miss is that that's traditional, particularly in American militaries. The joke is that you can't sell an American a parachute until he's out of the airplane and falling. All but a few nasty cynics predicted that Americans would run the Jerries out of North Africa in short order; now there was a failure for you. As here, Americans fell back, learned, and went back with gusto. Nothing new here.
And those of you moaning about "exit strategies" can go on preaching to the choir, but many of us have already figured out that what you really mean is "when will you realize you're beaten and give up?" As somebody above pointed out, Kerry didn't get elected. There is no "exit strategy." There won't be.
I'm not sure I share Dan's assumption that the departure of non-US/UK forces and the long-awaited improvement in Iraqi forces' quality are related.
Few of the governments that sent troops to Iraq did so on a wave of popular support; none of them sustain large out-of-country deployments elsewhere on a regular basis, and they don't seem to have counted on an Iraq occupation stretching past two years with no end in sight. It's important for training and equipment of Iraqi forces to go well and quickly enough so that when Italian forces depart in the fall they are not missed, but the growth in Iraqi forces are not why the Italians are leaving.posted by: Zathras on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
At this rate, the departure of other coalition country forces from Iraq is less a sign of failed American leadership than a sign that they can hand over their duties to the Iraqis themselves.
Yes - I'm sure they all felt they were no longer needed in Iraq...
The real statistics to watch is the number of US dead and wounded, and the 60 deaths and 200+ wounded in February, (400+ if you count those who returned to duty), suggests Iraqification is having little effect so far.
"You're the one who asked us for a checklist that things are going well in Iraq. Now that I've provided one, you're backing away ? I challenge anyone to claim these are unreasonable goals. "
The goals are reasonable. The timeline is not. 2 years? We still have troops in Germany, Japan, and South Korea! All of the goals you listed are trending positive, thats important. Two years is such a ridiculously short amount of time by the historic standards the point should be self evident.
"But seriously, don't you think that it is incumbent on the Administration that /launched/ the unprovoked war to provide the goals and the timetables? "
The goals are obvious, the timetable is inevitably event driven. What is incumbent is those who do nothing but complain come up with some alternatives. Otherwise they sound like children.posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Perhaps you should tell that to the formulators of the Powell doctrine who specifically said that they want an exit strategy because they realize how much blood and treasure is required to maintain an empire.
When did I call for withdrawal of troops ? I said the troop strength and spending should be equivalent to Afghanistan. Thats 10s of billions of dollars, and 10s of thousands of soldiers. If you like, I'll remove sailors on naval bases or on ships from that number. In any case, the decision may not be in our hands, if a new stable Iraqi government takes over, it may well mandate the withdrawal of troops.posted by: Jon on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I just thought i would point that out.posted by: cube on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
American soldiers worked their butts off to overcome these disadvantages and by and large have done a great job, but in the end the military culture must in large part intersect the civilian one, or the result is disaster on many levels. It has to be an Iraqi army, not an American one, whether or not its operational procedures are based on ours.posted by: Davis on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
We still have troops in Germany, Japan and South Korea...True, but they aren't engaged in democracy building to say nothing of dealing with civil war. In fact the rapid success of the post WWII occupations in Germany and Japan highlight the failure in Iraq. It was clear early on that the German and Japanese occupations would be successful and that new political arrangements would be peacefully adopted. Success came largely because the locals were prepared to welcome or at least tolerate a foreign presence. That is not the case in Iraq and it is clear it isn't ever going to be the case unless the US forces absolutely brutalize the significant sections of the populace into total abject submission. Which strikes me as defeating the purpose of the invasion. Assuming of course that the purpose was in fact to bring things like democracy and human rights to Iraq which I very much doubt it was.
"When will you realize you're beaten and give up." Speaking for myself, it isn't so much hoping that supporters of the war will realize the war is lost as hoping that they will realize that the war win-or-lose is fundementally immoral. US casualties could be 0 a month and I would still want an early exit as long as Iraqis are dying or watching their economy being organized for the benefit of rich foreigners.posted by: peter on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
The goals are reasonable. The timeline is not. 2 years? We still have troops in Germany, Japan, and South Korea!
Or in other words:
I think this snimated cartoon--where God phones Bush to complain--says it:
Interested to hear your thoughts on this one...posted by: jack on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I can understand the temptation to be cynical, given how many false statements have been made by the administration on Iraq, but I believe that real progress has indeed been made. A number of reports point that out. Also, there was the attack yesterday in which 24 insurgents were killed. This may be an indication that the most trained insurgents have given up, or are dead or captured. [ Iraqi police also claimed to have killed 17 insurgents today, but I place less faith in their claims]. There are also some reports that IEDs are less effective although whether thats due to more armor and better tactics, I don't know.
There was also a report in the NyTimes about Shia repelling an insurgent attack with weapons. [ ACtually, there were 2 reports, but I don't know if they refer to the same incident].
So yes, we're making some progress. Still a long way to go, and even now I beleive the situation is worse than it was in January 2004. It is also vital to bring the Sunnis into the politcal process and we still need to be careful of Shia Islamists. Equally, some attacks will probably continue for years.posted by: erg on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
> The goals are obvious,
Translation: the goals are never defined or written down, much less presented to the American people. Therefore the Radical Right can "move the goalposts" (offensive comparison) whenever it wishes, and bash the Democrats at the same time.
Too bad it is real people dying.
Crankyposted by: Cranky Observer on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I'm a little puzzled about how the death of 24 insurgents is evidence that things are progressing particularly well. Firstly, it doesn't seem all that different from figures that could have been cited at any point over the last year or so. Secondly and more importantly, do you not think that measuring success by body counts is a bit odd when you are fighting an insurgency with strong local community support? Such an insurgency can only be defeated by crushing its supporters as well as the actual fighters. In other words, by crushing entire communities and the very people that Bush claimed he wanted to liberate. Counting dead fighters in that kind of conflict strikes me as offerring a delusionary measure of success at best.
First off, Thanks Mark (as always) and thanks FNG (Ric Locke)
But enough of that - Jon? GFY.
Seriously. What more can be said. It's a W-A-R, you stupid MF. Against fascists. And it's bad enought that we only have to fight them, now we have to fight a media war at home as well against an agitprop, non-national populations that lives here and masquerades as citizens.
No plan, huh? Or do you think, do you maybe just think that that *is* the plan? Can you imagine a current Western leader actually having to come forward and lay out the plan, as it now is, to the public - with this media - and expect success.
You wonder aloud why you're "lied" to - You're not that big of an idiot, are you? You know exactly why the campaign was waged the way it was - and you're PO'd that you not only got beat, but that you invested so much of your personal emotional capital into calling it out and nobody important (...well, relevant... OK, Sorry - same thing)cared.
Sorry - hate for you to have to hear it like this, but I just didn't want you to waste your *entire* life. Have you considered Canada?posted by: Tommy G on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Translation: Anyone who doesn't agree with me doesn't deserve to be a citizen.
Translation: I believe that is perfectly appropriate for leaders to lie, to exaggerate, to do anything rather than trust the public of the country to know what is right. In short, I don't really believe in democracy, I beleive in the divine right of rulers, especially right-wing rulers.
Well, not as big as you, apparently.
Yes, because without lies, the American public would never have agreed to the war. Something may still turn out OK, but at far greater cost than we were told.
Hey, at least I dont' propose to spend my entire life in endless wars (oops sorry, asking other people to fight endless wars while I hide behind by keyboard).
Have you considered Germany, circa 1936 ? I'm sure a bright young lad like you could get a job in charge of some "delousing showers".
posted by: Jon on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I'm not a war supporter, but I can't really call a war that got rid of Saddam Hussein fundamentally immoral.
As to why I consider the 24-insurgent count progress, that indicates to me that the insurgents may be loosing some of their more effective forces. The US doesn't need to kill all insurgents, it needs to kill some, co-opt others through politics and bribe still others through aid. Extensive rebuilding in Najaf and Sadr City has temporarily quelled Shia unrest in those areas.
Well, some of us are old-fashioned enough to believe that the public can make appropriate judgements, that the public does need to be reasonably informed on (literally) matters of life and death. Of course, if you prefer to live like a mushroom, i.e. live in darkness and get fed shit, then thats your choice. Have fun !!
Its one thing to get rid of an evil leader and replace him with something just as bad and another to get rid of him and replace him with something better. I never believed the Iraqis were going to end up with something better as a result of the invasion and nothing that has happened makes me change my mind. I predict that when the dust settles there will be either an outright dictatorship in place or more likely a paper-thin pseudo-democracy with human rights abuses about as bad as the Hussein regime's. Its not like American foreign policy over the last 50 years shows any disdain for supporting evil regimes and doing business with them as long as they cooperate with the US on economic issues. Its economics that is key. Democracy-building is just window-dressing and propaganda.posted by: peter on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
"Incidentally, If killing 24 insurgents is a sign of progress, what is killing 100,000 civilians?"
An urban legend.
Would you like to expand on that Mark?posted by: peter on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Gods, Jon - why do you leftists always fall into such easy traps.
Why, in the anonymity of cyberspace, would you not assume that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I *am* in the military.
You're so thick, so dull, and yet - incredibly - so sure of yourself that you cannot conceive of what it's like to be a soldier - so you therefore must dismiss any such concept as something that no one here could possibly be.
You're completely ignorant of the world and how it works. Which is why you can gleefully accuse me of being a "Nazi" while holding fast to the tenets of National Socialism.
But enough of you and your sideshow - Let's check in on how your fellow traveller, Peter, is doing with his Lancet "study" smack-down with Mark.
Don't you people read?
ACtually, there have been plenty of soldiers here before, so its not in the least inconceivable. Mind you, I'm sure no soldier in all the Armed forces is as big a moron as you. [ Read that again , or have it read to you to understand what it says]
Besides PR, the contributions beyond Poland, Britain, Australia, and a few others are unimportant.
This will be won depending on how much spirit the Iraqis show. Most of the non-American contingents see no reason to fight America's war, are largely ill-trained, and therefore stuck into relative quiet areas of Iraq. And then withdrawn when the area heats up (see Najaf last year).posted by: Cutler on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
"Besides" PR? My friend, as Jon here amply demonstrates, the PR battle is the only one the west is in danger of losing.
And how is his fight going? Badly. He has readily, eagerly demonstrated all the signs for us to see:
In fact, your post is rather apt, you're just not talking about the right fight. To wit...
"This will be won depending on how much spirit the [supporters] show. Most of the non-American contingents [i/e/ those who don't support the war effort] see no reason to fight America's war, are largely ill-trained, and therefore stuck into relative quiet areas of [the blogosphere]. And then withdraw when the area heats up (see [the comment counts] last year)."
Again, Cutler, great argument. I couldn't have said it better myself.
Jon? Pete? How's the Lancet study discussion coming along?posted by: Tommy G on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Sure, Tommy, you've demonstrated all those signs. After all, you're one of started off by calling me an MF, telling me TFY, and to go to Canada. So who's been baited into name calling ? Who's become desperate ? So far you have not made one intelligent or sensible comnent, at least you're consistent.
Tommy, thanks again for demonstrating what a liar you are. I have not commented at all on the Lancet study at all, so bringing that up is a lie on your part. I have not commented a) because I have not read it and because b) I believe that the majority of the deaths in Iraq are because of the terrorist attacks and
Peter? ... ...Something about methodology, right? Hello? Peter?posted by: Tommy G on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I haven't commented on the lancet study 'cause I'm still waiting for mark to expand on his urban legend remark. The remark is an obvious hyperbole and so I'm not sure just how dismissive he is of the survey and for what reasons. If anyone else has a particular criticism to make concerning the study, then I would be happy to hear it.posted by: peter on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Hwah- God you guys are a riot. A Friggin' RIOT!
I can't beleive that you keep getting yourselves baited. Stop responding - it's a trap. The Lancet study is worthless and your verbal shuffling just gets worse with the telling.
No, no...I changed my mind...Watch:
Peter? You're an Idiot. ID - Dee - At. And Jon? You're pathetic. But here, wait... Write to me about how (lies) upsetting the (Lying) "Lies" are.
Hah. Ok. Wait. Where was I? Oh, yeah...Let me go get Mark...I'll be right back...posted by: Tommy G on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Tommy G, you've lost it completely. I can't even tell what you're talking about. Go get your meds, get a brain injection, then come back.posted by: Jon on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
The methodology the Lancet study used is the norm for such things, it has been used repeatedly in other areas and this one is the first time I've seen it criticised.
Do you have links to specific criticisms? Is it that they didn't follow the methodology appropriately, or is there something wrong with the method that hadn't been noticed until now?
Hey -Thomas! Thank God, someone sane. How've you been?
My specific problem with the study is any methodology that gives you an answer between 8,000 and 194,000.
"We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period."
"findings" like these means that the good people at The Lancet are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.)
As Kaplan says; "This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board."
And one specifically ill suited for use as a slogan for the left. Even if one's main page proudly lists a header entitled "Talking Points". It's hard to conduct reliable, random surveys—and to extrapolate meaningful data from the results in academia and have it provide anything useful, much less in an active war zone.
As to a link, Google will suffice - it's been that roundly discredited. But a good start is at http://slate.msn.com/id/2108887.
But Peter and Jon already knew that, so their main stupidity lies (no, not that "lies" - steady on, Jon)in their refusing to simply ignore me and let the whole issue li....er, set.
Tommy, thank you for responding. I was beginning to think nobody had a criticism of the Lancet study to provide for my edification.
What you are ignoring of course is that liklihood of the actual number being 98,000 is higher than to either extreme. It isn't like it is equal chances that the actual figure is 8,000 or 98,000 or 194,000. The study shows not only that the figure is somewhere between 8,000 and 194,000 but that it is most likely at 98,000.
BTW, have you read the study or have you only read defensive media commentaries on it that tell you what you want to hear?
posted by: peter on 03.21.05 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Tommy, it sounds like your main criticism is that th study didn't have a larger sample.
So why not fund a larger study?
These guys did pretty well for a poorly-funded study with no official support. If we ought to do better, why not fund it?
Have you read the study? They got consistent results everywhere but Fallujah. They claimed a very wide confidence interval because the wide interval was not disputable, while narrower ones involve statistics that were controversial 50 years ago.
Do you have some links to criticisms that you would stand behind? Do you consider the slate article by Kaplan representative of the criticisms you accept as valid?
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