Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The continued undercount

The largest bloc of Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi Parliament threatened to withdraw its ministers from the Shiite-dominated cabinet on Monday in frustration over the government’s failure to deal with Sunni concerns.
[. . .]
The bloc, known as the Iraqi Consensus Front and made up of three Sunni Arab parties, “has lost hope in rectifying the situation despite all of its sincere and serious efforts to do so,” the statement said.
If the Sunni group followed through on its threat, it would further weaken a government already damaged by the pullout two weeks ago of six cabinet ministers aligned with the renegade Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and further erode American efforts to promote reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites.

The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "Sunni Ministers Threaten to Quit Cabinet in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times and we'll note that counting remains beyond Rubin's mastery. She notes: "As the Sunni cabinet ministers were threatening to step down on Monday, bombs and mortars killed at least 22 Iraqis." At least I add "check my math." Who checks hers?

In the snapshot yesterday, just based on Reuters and McClatchy, there were over 50 reported deaths from bombs and mortars. Rubin also tells you 9 corpses were discovered in Baghdad yesterday. Again, WRONG. 27. Reported first by McClatchy (which offers a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown), then by Reuters. Maybe the Times needs to stop filing so quickly especially when it's whomever (Rubin today) is tasked with providing the violence summary?
This has been a pattern with the Times, not a one day thing, not a one reporter thing. The undercount from the paper is not new.

AP is reporting today:

Gunmen ambushed travelers on a highway leading from Baghdad to Shiite areas to the south on Tuesday, killing 14 people, while mortar rounds slammed into an area near the Iraqi prime minister's office in the U.S.-controlled Green Zone in the capital, a government official said.
The attacks against the travelers began at 6:45 a.m., when gunmen took aim at a minibus, killing 11 Shiites and wounding three, as it passed near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad in a predominantly Sunni area dubbed the "Triangle of Death" because of frequent insurgent violence.
About 45 minutes later, a group of gunmen standing on the highway opened fire at civilian cars, killing three people and wounding five near Latifiyah and about 6 miles north of the site of the initial attack

Look for the Times to turn that into "at least 2 people were killed in an ambush . . ." (I'm joking, but not by much.) Martha notes this from Sudarsan Raghavan and Karin Brulliard's "April Toll Is Highest Of '07 for U.S. Troops" (Washington Post):

Attacks killed a total of nine U.S. troops over the weekend, including five whose deaths were announced Monday. The weekend's fatalities brought the toll for the month to 104 Americans killed, in the sixth most-lethal month for American forces since the U.S.-led invasion four years ago.
Under the new counterinsurgency plan, many U.S. forces have left large, more secure bases to live in small combat outposts and to patrol hostile neighborhoods where the risk of insurgents targeting them has multiplied.
Highlighting the vulnerability of American forces, a series of explosions Monday night rocked Baghdad's Green Zone, the most heavily secured enclave in the capital and home to thousands of U.S. troops, Western diplomats and Iraqi government officials.

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