In a report today on the Pentagon’s methods for determining sectarian killings in Iraq, the Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung writes that “apparent contradictions are relatively easy to find in the flood of bar charts and trend lines the military produces.” For instance, the numbers in the Pentagon’s quarterly Iraq report released last week “differ significantly” from those presented to Congress by Gen. David Petraeus:
Civilian casualty numbers in the Pentagon’s latest quarterly report on Iraq last week, for example, differ significantly from those presented by the top commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, in his recent congressional testimony. Petraeus’s chart was limited to numbers of dead, while the Pentagon combined the numbers of dead and wounded — a figure that should be greater. Yet Petraeus’s numbers were higher than the Pentagon’s for the months preceding this year’s increase of U.S. troops to Iraq, and lower since U.S. operations escalated this summer.
UPDATE: Here’s a visual graphic in today’s Washington Post of the contrast between Petraeus and the the Pentagon: