Carol Platt Liebau: The Facts and the Statistics

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Facts and the Statistics

As this piece in the Washington Post points out, General Petraeus' testimony about Iraq painted an "upbeat" picture, on the whole.

This is exactly what the Democrats feared, lest the American public decide -- contrary to the Dems' prognostications of doom -- that the war in Iraq isn't a lost cause after all. That's why they've tried to slime him by proxy in advance of his report.

The Democrats should be asked whether they repudiate's characterization of General Petraeus as a liar. As the Brookings Institute's Michael O'Hanlon -- no neocon he -- notes, General Petraeus is a straight shooter.

And he he's had good news to deliver. Former Army Staff Seargeant David Bellavia lays out the facts at a Washington Post blog:

From 28,400 Sunnis applying for security positions to the over 80% reduction in violent attacks in Anbar.

The news is good and the proof is in the report. With over 140 battalions of Iraqi army units in the fight, Iraq is spending more money on Iraqi than security than the US is spending on Iraqi security. . . .

Here is one statistic that can never be understated: 130%. That is the percentage of American warriors who are reenlisiting while at war.

But don't expect most Democrats to acknowledge the successes. Their political interests lie with defeat in Iraq and disillusionment at home, and they know it.


Blogger Greg said...

Even BEFORE General Petraeus presented his report to Congress, slandered the general with an ad that claims he has betrayed his country.

I ask the left leaning commentors on this site to go on record with a straight up endorsement or denouncement of this act. Please, no "nuanced" hedging; simply endorse MoveOn's slander or denounce it.

Is Petraeous a betrayor of his country?

Yes or no.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Is Petraeous a betrayor of his country?

No, I wouldn't say that. Betrayal requires intent to harm, and that's certainly not the case here. Mr. Petraeus is doing his best to retrieve a bad situation, and he wants the maximum amount of resource to do that job. He went to Congress with something to sell, and he gave them the best sales job he could. Like any good sales talk, it didn't have any outright lies. It just presented the facts in the most positive light possible. And I don't blame him for doing that. But I do think that we should grant him the same amount of credence that we would give any good salesman.

9:57 AM  
Blogger The Very Sane Woman Who Points Out the Obvious said...

Is anyone, anyone at all, the slightest bit surprized by the conclusions and recomendations made by general Westmorela..., I mean Petraeus? Come on, get real. Everybody knew months ago what he would say.

In the ad, Moveon correctly points out that the administration changed definitions and criteria to make the report a favorable one.

They proved themselves untrustworthy about mass destruction weapons. They proved themselves untrustworthy about Pat Tillman. Why does anyone believe what these people say?

2:35 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

This comment I made earlier got lost in the ozone:

The facts and the statistics are complicated and confusing. I've been plowing through them and see little basis for optimism. It's all too easy for people to cherry-pick their statistics to present an overly optimistic assessment. It's also easy to fudge those statistics. I'll give you one good example:

Here is one statistic that can never be understated: 130%. That is the percentage of American warriors who are reenlisiting while at war.

How is it possible for more than 100% of the soldiers re-enlist?

2:47 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Iraq today is like what the world faced in 1944. Vicissitudinary.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

Chepe, the army projects 10 re-enlistments per unit and gets 13. Hence, re-enlistment is 130% of projection.

Sane [sic] Woman, it would be wrong to conflate the Administration and Petraeus. You don't need to slime him to disagree with him, and I doubt anyone commenting on this blog has 1/50th his record of service and accomplishment to his country.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

I don't like that kind of talk but this is what Bush & Rove did to McCain, Kerry, Cleland, Murtha, and pretty much to all Democrats. Anyone who didn't agree or even questioned Bush policies was labeled a traitor, weak, a coward, and an enemy sympathizer. So this is the political environment that Bush created.

We pretty much know that Petraeus is the fall guy for Bush's failed policies. And at the same time Petraeus is trying to do his duty assigned to him by the President.

Petraeus started out with a report that was a very rosy picture of great success yet at odds with other reliable sources. Today, his testimony well apart and changed to that of not knowing what will happen in Iraq, not being in control of the determining political process, and not knowing if what we are doing in Iraq is making America safer.

Time and more data will determine if Patraeus fell on his sword as Colin Powell had done. Whether his testimony is reality based or cherry picking to pass Bush's mess to the next President. We will discover whether he is a US General or Bush's toy soldier.

Petraeus inserted himself into the 2004 Presidential election with his rosy report on Iraq that proved to be inaccurate.

If those at think he intentionally attempted and succeeded in tainting the Presidential election process as a sitting US General, then they are justified in saying he betrayed the country.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Coyote, thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding. The original statement was incorrectly worded; now I understand the number.

stackja1945, you certainly like to use 'vicissitudinary'. So, what's the next round of the cycle going to bring?

Ms TVSWWPOTO, let's not be too hard on Mr. Petreaus. I suspect that he is an honorable man just like Colin Powell, but his duty is to obey his superiors, and if Mr. Bush orders him to sell the surge, then that's what he should do. Don't blame him, just keep it in mind while evaluating his statements.

Earth to Carol, you're quite right about the poisonous atmosphere created by the Bush Administration, but that doesn't mean that we should mimic his behavior. Two wrongs don't make a right. Ms. Liebau may be devoted to partisanship above policy, but those of us who still love this country want to see the best for it, and that means that we have to swallow our pride and try to work with those people who will work with us. Let's put people like Karl Rove behind us and move forward.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Greg said...


From what I gather from reading your posts, I have to respect your comments on this thread. You are obviously NOT a supporter of the President or the war in Iraq. Yet you answered my question with an acceptably minimal amount of hedging.

Thank you.

8:22 AM  

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