Friday, March 24, 2006

Statistics on IEDs in Iraq

The US Defense Department and the White House often complain that news organizations aren't telling "the full story" about US military efforts in Iraq, and too often focus on dramatic events like improvised explosive devices (IEDs), thus playing into the hands of insurgent groups that use IEDs essentially for PR -- to convey a sense of chaos in Iraq.

Is there one technological fix to stopping IEDs? Manufacturers of various anti-IED fixes may claim yes, but military experts generally say no (see "'Enigma'-Like Breathrough Sought on IEDs"). The Pentagon doesn't dispute that IEDs are a problem, but generally tries to discuss the subject in a relatively optimistic way. For a more clinical look at IEDs, however, check out the Iraq Index from the Brookings Institution. Frequently updated, these statistics may help people understand the situation in Iraq a bit more clearly, though statistics should always be swallowed with at least a grain of salt.

As Mark Twain said, "there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics...."

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