Over the weekend you undoubtedly saw that US military forces in Iraq passed the 3,000 dead milestone in the nearly 4 years of combat operations there. Other stories told us that December was the deadliest month in 2006 for troop deaths. The AP tells us that either 16,273—or 2,500 less than that (depending on who’s doing the counting)—Iraqis died violent deaths in 2006.
It all sounds so awful, doesn’t it? Certainly the death of single American soldier, Marine, airman, or sailor is a tragedy as is the death of any innocent person. But does a simple body count tell the whole story? Are wars won by constantly drumming into the heads of everyone that we’re losing, we’re losing, we’re losing? Let’s look at the other side of those numbers.
Yes, December was the deadliest month, but what they didn’t tell you was that overall troop deaths were down in 2006. In other words fewer of our soldiers are dying over there. So why wasn’t that the headline? Because it doesn’t have the requisite doom-and-gloom anti-war anti-Bush ring to it.
Similarly, Jules Crittenden points out that while somewhere between 13,000 and 16,000 Iraqis died violently in 2006, that’s down from previous estimates of between 100,000 and 200,000 in the years between 2003 and 2005.
So why not focus on the decline? Again, probably because to do so would be to admit that things are improving, not worsening. You can’t blame Bush if conditions are improving.
Technorati Tags:Iraq, media bias