NPR logo
Tally of Sectarian Deaths in Iraq Questioned
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14379591/14379564" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Tally of Sectarian Deaths in Iraq Questioned

Iraq

Tally of Sectarian Deaths in Iraq Questioned

Tally of Sectarian Deaths in Iraq Questioned
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14379591/14379564" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Gen. David Petraeus cited specific numbers to highlight U.S. military success in Iraq. But skeptics are suspicious of the declining totals he reported on victims of sectarian violence, saying the figures do not account for all victims.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And General Petraeus' use of numbers to highlight what the U.S. military considers as success in Iraq has drawn criticism all this week. Some openly accuse the general of cherry-picking information.

NPR's Jamie Tarabay takes a look at one of those statistics.

JAMIE TARABAY: In response to criticism over the methodology General Petraeus has used in his testimony in Washington, the U.S. military in Iraq has released a statement in which it defined how it counts the victims of sectarian violence; an event and any associated civilian deaths caused by murders or executions, kidnappings, direct fire, et cetera, was how the statement put it. But the U.S. military doesn't include in this count victims who were killed by a shot to the head. It doesn't consider those deaths sectarian.

By leaving out this number, the U.S. military is able to claim that sectarian killings across Iraq have dropped by 55 percent. The number of executions has gone down, but just slightly, and only when compared to last year - the most violent in Iraq since the war.

And while the U.S. military doesn't count those numbers, the Iraqi government does. An Iraqi official at the interior ministry says it considers this number that the U.S. military has chosen to ignore one of its greatest indicators of sectarian violence.

Jamie Tarabay, NPR News, Baghdad.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.