REVISIONS….The National Security Network has a good rundown today of all the book-cooking that may be surrounding reports of declining violence in Iraq. Note this in particular:
There were significant revisions to the way the Pentagon’s reports measure sectarian violence between its March 2007 report and its June 2007 report. The original data for the five months before the surge began (September 2006 through January 2007) indicated approximately 5,500 sectarian killings. In the revised data in the June 2007 report, those numbers had been adjusted to roughly 7,400 killings — a 25% increase. These discrepancies have the impact of making the sectarian violence appear significantly worse during the fall and winter of 2006 before the President’s “surge” began.
Read the rest here. Congressional Democrats need to muster up the backbone (and staff work) to press Petraeus and Crocker really hard on this issue. They can’t afford to get suckered by slippery numbers. Conversely, if the violence figures are genuinely solid, Petraeus and Crocker ought to be able to provide solid evidence for them.