The Corner

Woodward Misleads

Tonight on 60 Minutes  Woodward is going to argue that the administration has been misleading the American people by claiming things are getting better in Iraq, while in fact they are getting worse.

He cites a “Secret” chart showing that attacks have reached almost 900 per week in Iraq, which Woodward says are attacks “against our troops.”  This is misleading on several counts.  First, this blockbuster “secret” information is in fact continually updated and systematically released by the Defense Department in the high-profile quarterly Report on Stability and Progress in Iraq.  ( See p. 31).

Even worse, Woodward implies that the attacks he’s talking about are attacks are ”against our trooops.”  But they are not.  As the Report explains (again, P.31):

For this report, the term “attacks” refers to specific incidents reported in the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) Significant Activities database. It includes known attacks on Coalition forces, the ISF, the civilian population, and infrastructure.

And in fact, as the following page shows, attacks against Coalition forces have dropped since the summer of 2004, while casualties of Iraqi Security Forces have increased dramatically as ISF have moved to take main responsibility for providing security in the country  ( p.32).  Also the attacks remain confined mostly to one out of 18 provinces (Anbar) and Baghdad, while the vast majority of the country —  14 out of 18 provinces — has remained peaceful and largely secure.  In light of these factors, ongoing progress in the political realm is bad news for the insurgency.  Why?  Because insurgencies fighting a domestic government eventually lose if they cannot win.

Meanwhile, the very statistic Woodward cites in support for his proposition shows that his proposition is fallacious, which I’m sure will prove to be the case with much of his latest Potpourri-of-Beltway-Gossip-Posing-as-a-Book. 

Mario Loyola — Contributing editor Mario Loyola is senior fellow and Director of the Center for Competitive Federalism at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. He began his career in corporate ...

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