Lying Bastards at AP;_ylt=ArYg3_hVZ68NvItZEtxjG9QE1vAI

Military Fatalities: By Month
Period	US	UK	Other*	Total	Avg	Days
8-2007  81	4	0	85	2.74	31
7-2007 	79	8	1	88	2.84	31
6-2007 	101	7	0	108	3.6	30
5-2007 	126	3	2	131	4.23	31
4-2007 	104	12	1	117	3.9	30
3-2007 	81	1	0	82	2.65	31
2-2007 	81	3	1	85	3.04	28
1-2007 	83	3	0	86	2.77	31

David Rising and his editors have no respect for truth.

Yeah, but there were a lot of US casualties in December of last year…your site shows 112 US casualties, so maybe that’s what he’s comparing it to when he says “well below figures from last winter”

For the three months prior to your citation:

12-2006		112 	1 	2 	115 	3.71 	31 
11-2006	 	70	6 	2 	 78 	2.6  	30 
10-2006		106 	2 	2 	110 	3.55 	31

So, he might be a lying bastard or he might have simply used a casual phrase to indicate a period when the causalties were higher that included the period “winter.”

Sure, cuz everyone knows that October, November and the first three weeks of December are ‘Winter’ at the East Pole.

Mr. Rising and his editors are plainly trying to bamboozle folks into thinking that things are getting better in Iraq.

I’m not sure that’s plain. But it was a bizarre little graf thrown into the article with no support and no detail. Yours is not a ridiculous assumption to make.

Actually, depending on when the first large snow hits, folks in my part of the world will often consider winter to have begun in October. You may be correct that these evil editors are engaging in nefarious behavior. I am merely noting that the particular evidence you presented is weak, hanging, as it does, on a specific and literal use of the word winter almost exclusively for its conclusion.

Are you suggesting that the surge started in October? I think we can pretty well narrow down when the “U.S. began dispatching 30,000 additional troops to Iraq,” right?

Can you contort yourself enough to get fucking October into the portion of winter during which the surge began?

By the way, the whole fucking thing is bullshit. Here’s a nice graph from Kevin Drum showing the troop fatalities by month for 2006 and 2007. There is no way that a case can be made for deaths remaining “well below” any portion of time last winter.

As you can also see, the graph clearly indicates that 2007 has been far worse than 2006, and that monthly trends for 2007 track 2006 fairly well (except of course for being higher every month).

I don’t know. Can you read for comprehension? The claim was that the higher troop deaths preceded the surge, therefore a surge in October would have been counter to the actual words used by the AP folks.

Now, I think that squink’s overall point is probably correct, as I have noted in each of my posts, I just thought his example was weak. My guess would be that the author simply grabbed the word “winter” and employed it in a sloppy fashion.

I have seen no evidence that the surge has been working. I suspect that the author of the linked piece is making a desperate effort to support an indefensible claim. I just reacted to what I considered a rather weak attack on the piece (that has a lot of more easily challenged nonsense in it), and I reacted.

Since this is hijacking the thread, I will bow out (with a final suggestion to squink to go pull out some of the even more egregious nonsense in the editorial and assail that).

Quit being a fucking asshole.

I’ll take that as a “no” to my question. :smiley:

The story’s not presented as an editorial, it’s presented as news.
Even if we go with your defintion of winter, is it *ever winter in Iraq?, that gives an average of 3.29 dead Americans per day for October, November and December.
The 2.74 per day rate of last month is thus, 3.29 - 2.74 = 0.54 deaths a day below that number. Does that qualify as “well below figures from last winter.” I don’t thinks so, and that’s not even including the months that are by tradition “winter.”

December is the start of meterological winter.

Apart from this complaint, do you have evidence that the AP’s Iraq coverage is biased towards false optimism?

I haven’t seen this phenomenon. In fact, the AP just broke this story about continued failings in Iraq (while the website is CNN’s, the dispatch is from the Associated Press).

Okay, please quit being a fucking asshole.

If we want to engage in some really picayune sentence parsing, the claim is unambiguously correct.

Casualties/Time Period
81/August, 2007
237/Last Winter (Dec+Jan+Feb)


Well there are zero reported troop deaths for October 2007 so maybe we are winning…

That’s the plan for October.

Kevin Drum’s graph is a nice one, Hentor

Expect more obfuscation owing to seasonal effects: insurgent activity drops when the temperature pushes 110 degrees.

Economists deal with seasonal fluctuations all the time: inflation, GDP and unemployment are invariably reported on a seasonally adjusted basis.

I decided to do the same for monthly troop fatalities. Here is my graph of the seasonally adjusted data:

I see generally higher fatalities in Apr-Aug 2007, though others may view the graph differently. Data is like that.

It would be no surprise if military fatalities increased during the surge, given that there were more troops on the ground. I’d like to do the same exercise for civilian fatalities, but I understand there’s a break in that series.

Tech details: I used multiplicative Holt Winters seasonal smoothing in Stata. I am frankly not familiar with that particular procedure and there are others. Furthermore, the adjustment process will be noisy as the monthly dataset is only about 4 years long. So I won’t call this conclusive evidence. Some may find it interesting though.

Anyway my point is that there are well understood tools to deal with seasonal effects. Just don’t expect to read about them in the funny pages.

Information sources can be fast, cheap or accurate: you get to choose two, but not three.

AP is fast and cheap. (NYT and the Economist are cheap and accurate, on balance, relatively speaking).

I could probably dig some up for you, but it’s not as if there’s a major conspiracy by AP. Like any large organization, they employ some lying bastards. Unfortunately in the case of AP, those bad apples can sow misinformation worldwide.

Your link is no evidence of that either. It’s just as likely some lying bastard at the Defense Department or White House made that claim at AP just swallowed it without checking it out. That would make the AP people lazy bastards.