Anti-surge group 'fact checks' Petraeus: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted September 10, 2007 3:50 PM
The Swamp

by Frank James

The National Security Network, a group of national-security experts critical of the surge from the progressive wing of U.S. politics has issued its own fact check of Gen. David Petraeus's testimony so far.

Their take on his testimony is that the general states as facts statistics whose sources are in doubt or disputed.

The use of "fact-checking" by a group that is a party to the debate resembles what happens in political campaigns and demonstrates how much the debate over the future U.S. course in Iraq has indeed become something of a political campaign in its own right.

National Security Network Fact Check: Petraeus Quotes

Petraeus: Iraq-wide, as shown by the top line on this chart, the number of ethno-sectarian deaths has come down by over 55%.

The Pentagon and Administration’s definition of “Ethno sectarian violence” excludes many types of violence that would indicate that the security situation in Iraq is not improving. Shi’a on Shi’a violence in the South is not included. Sunni on Sunni violence in the central part of the country is not included. “According to one senior intelligence official in Washington. ‘If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian,’ the official said. ‘If it went through the front, it's criminal.’" [Washington Post, 9/6/07]

According to figures compiled by the Associated Press, Iraq is suffering approximately double the number of war-related deaths throughout the country compared with last year. The average daily toll has risen from 33 in 2006, to 62 so far this year. Nearly 1,000 more people have been killed in violence across Iraq in the first eight months of this year than in all of 2006. The AP tracking includes Iraqi civilians, government officials, police and security forces killed in attacks such as gunfights and bombings, which are frequently blamed on Sunni suicide strikes. It also includes execution-style killings — largely the work of Shi’a death squads. Insurgent deaths are not a part of the Iraqi count. These figures are considered a minimum and only based on AP reporting. The actual numbers are likely higher, as many killings go unreported or uncounted. That said, the AP notes that UN figures for 2006 are higher than the AP’s. [AP, 8/25/07]

According to numbers released by the Iraqi government, since July civilian casualties have risen 20% across Iraq. The numbers fell significantly in Baghdad. The figures, provided by Iraqi Interior Ministry officials on Saturday, mirrored the geographic pattern of the troop increase, which is focused on Baghdad. The national rise in mortality is partly a result of more than 500 deaths, in an August truck bomb attack on a Yazidi community in August north of the capital, outside the areas directly affected by the additional troops. [NY Times, 9/2/07]

Various numbers from the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior show no drop in violence. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, 984 people were killed across Iraq in February, and 1,011 died in violence in August. No July numbers were released because the ministry said the numbers weren't clear. But an official in the ministry who spoke anonymously because he wasn't authorized to release numbers said those numbers were heavily manipulated. The official said 1,980 Iraqis had been killed in July and that violent deaths soared in August, to 2,890. [McClatchy, 9/10/07]

Petraeus: "Though the improvements have been uneven across Iraq, the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in 8 of the past 12 weeks, with the numbers of incidents in the last two weeks at the lowest levels seen since June 2006."

According to General Petraeus attacks are only down in one of the last three weeks, but at the same time we have hit an all time low? In the National Intelligence Estimate released three weeks ago said that overall attacks had fallen in 7 out of 9 weeks. “The steep escalation of rates of violence has been checked for now, and overall attack levels across Iraq have fallen during seven of the last nine weeks.” [National Intelligence Estimate]

The DIA’s statistics show that attacks on civilians were at the same level in July that they were in, back in January. The defense intelligence chart makes the point, with figures from Petraeus' command in Baghdad, the Multinational Force-Iraq. Congressional auditors used the same numbers to conclude that Iraqis are as unsafe now as they were six months ago; the Bush administration and military officials also using those figures say that finding is flawed. [AP, 9/9/07]

Petraeus: We endeavor to ensure our analysis of that data is conducted with rigor and consistency, as our ability to achieve a nuanced understanding of the security environment is dependent on collecting and analyzing data in a consistent way over time.

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 35% 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. [DOD, 11/2006. 3/2007. 6/2007]


Petraeus claimed that the surge helped transform Anbar Province from one of the most dangerous areas to one of the safest.

The “Anbar Awakening” began long before the “surge” and occurred because local Sunni tribes did not agree with Al Qaeda. The Anbar Salvation Council, which was formed by tribal sheikhs to fight the more extreme elements, was established in September 2006 and was showing significant results by early March of 2007 when the “surge” was just beginning. [NY Times, 3/3/2007]

The Sunni tribes attribute the change to a political agreement not to increased forces. The sheik who forged the alliance with the Americans, Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, traced the decision to fight al-Qaeda to Sept. 14, 2006, long before the new Bush strategy, but the president's plan dispatched another 4,000 U.S. troops to Anbar to exploit the situation. As security improved, the White House eagerly took credit. [Washington Post, 9/9/07]

The “surge” has only added 4,000 troops to Anbar. The main focus was Baghdad. “Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on al Qaeda. And as a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops.” [White House, 1/10/07]

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Republics don't like facts. They are swayed more by blind faith.

Fact checking? Man, where do these get off fact checking, we don't need no stinkin' fact checking!

Fact checking is unAmerican. If we, as a country, were into fact checking we never would have gotten into this war in the first place! We never would have elected Bush for that matter! Nor almost all of Congress!

Sorry for the double posts, but as long as we are talkin' 'bout fact checking check out this poll:

Do you think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?"

Yes 33%
No 58%
Unsure 9%

So my question is: How can anyone be dumb enough to still think Sadam was involved with 9/11? If, as you say, the media has a liberal bias how can fully a third of the population still be so ignorant?

Where do these people get their news? It's like there must be some massive network that spews out ignorance for partisan reasons. But who would do such a thing?

*Petraeus today before Congress:

"When I testified in January, for example, no one would have dared to forecast that Anbar Province would have been transformed the way it has in the past 6 months".

*What Petraeus said 6 months ago at his confirmation hearing:

"You've seen it, I know, in Anbar province, where it has sort of gone back and forth. And right now, there appears to be a trend in the positive direction where sheiks are stepping up, and they do want to be affiliated with and supported by the U.S. Marines and Army forces who are in Anbar province. That was not the case as little as perhaps six months ago, or certainly before that".

No one would've dared forecast that Anbar would improve! Well, except for, um, Petraeus.

No wonder this guy is the one Bush want's us to listen to.

These idiot are arming Sunni Sheiks/War Lords in Al-Anbar and they call that "progress"?
Like these guys aren't going to use these weapons against the Shiites? comon'!

Why not just start lining up all the airplanes we can, stuff them full of Americans and fly them all home. Leave all the weapons, leave all the equipment, leave all the palletts of $8 billion stacked in neat piles of $100 bills. One exception: leave the Halliburton employees behind. Let Cheney bring them home.

More nosense from the worst mankind has to offer.
This "progressive" group is nothing but a left wing, hate America group. Fact checking??? That's like having the Boy Governor check Tony Rezko's tax statements.

josh marshall has done a great petraeus round up vid on veracifier dot com

As the saying goes, baffle them with bs...

You can make statistics say pretty much what you want them to, and this is a prime example. I find it funny how a month ago, anti-war activists and the majority of Democrats were anxious to hear what Petraeus had to say, because they thought he was going to side with them. Now that he's on the stand, and he disagrees with them, he is a 'liar' in their eyes.

Oh how ironic.

Thank you for being the yellow dog journalists that you are. Don't allow even the slightest possible true information to be told about Iraq, the troops and what is really happening. You sad excuse for journalists. Your are the reason that American refuse to listen or watch "news' on radio or TV. You long ago ceased printing the truth, so that you could sensationlize, fictionalize, and ignore the real "news."

"Anti-surge group 'fact checks' Petraeus"

Anti Surge group?

You mean Al Queda or the Democrats?

You can't blame them for scrammbling. Do you realize what would happen to their party if things turn around in Iraq?

I find it funny how a month ago, anti-war activists and the majority of Democrats were anxious to hear what Petraeus had to say, because they thought he was going to side with them. Now that he's on the stand, and he disagrees with them, he is a 'liar' in their eyes.

Oh how ironic.

Posted by: Joe D | September 10, 2007 4:43 PM

Actually, Joe D, I don't know of a single Democrat expressing any thought anything like you just described, much less "the majority." Please either come up with a single example or shut your piehole and enlist.

One of the first few listed experts in this group is a student in school. Maybe if he does well and comes up with the right conclusions he will get a better grade.
How could anyone trust a general next to these experts.

What a pathetic "fact check", filled with out of context inconsistencies. These losers could star for Mike "never met a statement he couldn't take out of context" Moore.

Shame on the Democrats and their supporters for attacking the character of the General while refusing to accept the positive trends that have occured over the last few months.

They are downright treasonous.

They have all this stuff prepared, that's impressive.

Doesn't say much about their listening ability, however.

Seems more like a hack job done by the type of people who are thinking about what they want to say when you are talking.

Shame on the Democrats and their supporters for attacking the character of the General while refusing to accept the positive trends that have occured over the last few months.

They are downright treasonous.

Posted by: Darryn | September 10, 2007 5:21 PM

Treasonous? Hardly. The military is not a superior unquestionable class in this nation. It is infact subordinate to the civilian authority.

Treason would be to allow the military to control the policy of this country. That would be to betray everything this nation stands for.

What a pathetic "fact check", filled with out of context inconsistencies. These losers could star for Mike "never met a statement he couldn't take out of context" Moore.
Shame on the Democrats and their supporters for attacking the character of the General while refusing to accept the positive trends that have occured over the last few months.
They are downright treasonous.

Posted by: Darryn | September 10, 2007 5:21 PM

Anyone who has been paying attention (not Republic Party goons) would know that Patraeus didn't even write his "report", the White House wrote it for him about a month ago.

Go wave your flags somewhere else, Nascar Party clowns....

The Democrats in Congress need to face the facts. Their attempts to force and end to the war in Iraq have failed. The elections that brought them into power were in November 2006. In January of 2007 they were sworn in. That means that they have had nine months to try and end the war. Senator Harry Reid was so eager to claim the war was 'lost'. Senator Harry Reid should now realize the Democrats plan is 'lost'. The Democrats in Congress need to come to grips with their failed strategy,and get on with their lives.

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."
---------------Sinclair Lewis

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
--------------Samuel Johnson


Bush is still in Denial, and until 1000 more men and women die America will be in Denial.

People can blame the Democratic party for not ending the War, but you just can't pull the plug and act like we were never there. That would be giving George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice the blank check they are looking for.



A NEW DAY, a new Reality, and the ability to see, hear, think, and be heard.



I think the Boy Who Cried Wolf was outside Playing in the YARD.

George Bush is Playing in the Middle East and Crying Wolf everyday and night because HE IS CLUELESS AS TO HOW TO GET OUT.


If you believe the Republican Party at anything, then you too are dillusional and lost in the MENS RESTROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM LOOKING FOR ANOTHER MAN.

Sometimes I think you people are in some sort of time warp. Do you not understand that we have been getting kicked around in Iraq for almost five years. General Petraeus' plan will get us well into year six. Thirty seven hundred dead Americans and twenty seven thousand wounded with twelve thousand of them maimed. Are you not satisfied with this butcher's bill. Is there no limit to the number of dead Americans you will spend. Petraeus has given no indication of ever leaving Iraq. He declined to say when we would be able to leave. In four more years we can double the casualties.

More nosense from the worst mankind has to offer.

Posted by: John D | September 10, 2007 4:22 PM

That comment is getting very tired and old. Can't you come up with some new insults???

This article is being accused by many of you for "cooking" the facts with unreliable statistics.

Yeah, I guess, these sources are all unreliable:
The New York Times
The Associated Press
The National Intelligence Estimate
The Dept. of Defense Report
A White House Report

General Petraeus skewed this report and many TV stations are reporting this news as well.

"More nosense from the worst mankind has to offer."
Posted by: John D | September 10, 2007 4:22 PM

I hope everyone understands that Mr. Dyslin is not referring to alive-and-well Osama Bin Laden's most recent videotape, but rather to those who support the majority party in the United States Congress.

You are truly a demented individual, Dyslin.

Oh Distrust and Verify, I love how you and your ilk throw my name around like you're scoring some sort of points.
Let me say this again and maybe, though I doubt it, you will understand: The Loons on the Left such as yourself are not shy about calling anyone to the right of Far Left a "nazi," a "KKKer," a "brown shirt." Now, I don't know about you, but Nazis and members of the KKK are about the worst mankind ever offered. So, if your buds can call me that, I'll do likewise. But i have a stronger case for my contention. Your ilk who denigrates a fine man like Gen. Petraeus, who have wrapped yourselves in defeat in Iraq for no other reason than party and ideology come before the country and military men and women fighting and protecting us, is pretty darn low in my book. You and your ilk are wrapped in the same hatred that fuels bin Laden and Al Qaeda. You folks hate most Americans, you hate most American corporations, you hate the military and you hate America and what we've done for over 200 years. Hence, in many respects, the Loons on the Far Left are no better than bin Laden and his gang; therefore, about the worst mankind has to offer.

To John D, Joe D and all the other neocons.

Have your political views become so indefensible that you have to resort to name calling?

How about offering some analysis or facts of your own, just like the grownups do?

Is there no limit to the number of dead Americans you will spend?
I think the limit is about 58,000. Of course, Lil George thinks we left Vietnam too early.

Posted by: John D | September 10, 2007 4:22 PM

Typical John D post - when he doesn't like the FACTS presented in the story, he attacks the messenger.

Hey John D, why don't you post some FACTS, including SOURCE LINKS, that show that The National Security Network have their facts wrong.

I fully expect your response to be worth nothing more than a laugh.

Shame on the Democrats and their supporters for attacking the character of the General while refusing to accept the positive trends that have occured over the last few months.

They are downright treasonous.

Posted by: Darryn | September 10, 2007 5:21 PM

Darren, I hope that you feel EXACTLY the same way about how Karl Rove and the Republicans attacked and smeared the patriotism of Max Cleland (D-GA), a man who lost both legs and an arm serving in Veitname, in the November 2006 election.


I agree about Max - but that was the 2002 election. The guy who won, who NEVER served in the military, is up for reelection next year. Lots of people here would LOVE Max to run against Saxby Chambliss.

And, Bobin, whomever the Dem idiot is, he will lose to Saxby Chambliss!! Hooray for Georgia!!

Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction


Since you love Saxby so much, why don't you move down here and vote for him?? You probably don't know one thing about him, except for the (R) after his name. Another chickenhawk who has no problem sending our kids off to die in Iraq who had "better things to do" than serve during Viet Nam, unlike Max Cleland.

Thanks to people like you, I now live in a state with a bunch of rightwing, redneck bigots who think that prayer is the answer to everything!! I bet you even sent a contribution to the woman her who wanted Harry Potter books banned in school, since they taught kids "witchcraft". Fortunately, the adults here told her to mind her own business.

Bet that makes you proud to be a conservative Republican, huh Johnny???

Oh, Bobin, you are so silly. Just for your education, I do not believe that books whether they be Harry Potter or Huck Fin should be banned or whatever. Yes, some loopy Christians go to extremes, just like many loopy Leftists who want to ban Huck Fin and others.

Anyway, prayer is a beautiful thing, Bobin. You should try it sometime. You might like it.

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