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October 17, 2006



I don't think it's a civil war, though. I think it's ethnic cleansing. Or, at least, Sectarian cleansing. The "insurgency" was by defintion a civil war, from the moment Iraq regained sovereignty and the occupation ended. But as you point out, the insurgency period is over.

Andy Vance

I agree that it's pointless to squabble over point estimates. But Cordesman's unqualified statement that "the results of the Lancet study--present serious credibility problems" is deeply unhelpful.

The study is what it is. It uses accepted methodology and has a wide error band because of limitations imposed by the security situation. That is not a "credibility problem," and it's wrong and irresponsible for Cordesman to cast such aspersions.


The “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq” reports Cordesman refers to are worth reading...one of the things congress has done to promote a bit of accountability is to require the reports and make them public.


Andy Vance

I failed to mention the other gem Cordesman gave the AP: "This is not analysis, this is politics."


Coincidentally, I was looking at that same Cordesman graphic earlier today. I wanted to reproduce it for a talk I was giving, but ultimately didn't.

In any case, in the text he notes the 10 to 12 fold increase in sectarian violence this year. And that's DoD data.

Fareed Zakaria, btw, is saying that the violence in Iraq is both "civil war" and "ethnic cleansing." The policy has simply failed.


is that really the right figure 1? it's labeled with the number of attacks not the percentage of Iraqis concerned about civil war breaking out


WH- I think it's a mislabled figure, the more I look at it the stranger it is. I think it's actually transposed from Cordesman's Figure 2, which is labeled attacks. In the text, he does talk about the State Dept survey data that I mentioned, which shows a big increase in expectations of civil war as I said in the text. But that figure looks screwy.

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