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02 July 2007 Blog Home : July 2007 : Permalink

BBC 'reports' good news

The news that Iraqi deaths have dropped in the last few months would seem to be good news. This no doubt explains why the BBC is forced to use "scare quotes" and vague "suspicions" at critical points in this report:

Iraq civilian deaths 'dropping'

The number of civilians killed in Iraq fell in June to the lowest level since the Baghdad security drive began in February, the Iraqi government says.

It says 1,227 civilians were killed in June - a 36% drop compared 1,949 violent deaths to May.

However, the figures cannot be verified independently, and many deaths are believed to go unreported.

There we have it - many deaths are unreported. But has that, one wonders, changed suddenly in the last three months or is it just as likely that the Iraqis who tend not to report deaths are failing to report about the same proportion of deaths recently as they did in the past? The BBC is silent on this point. All it says is:

There are suspicions about the way the Iraqi government handles such information, our correspondent says.

It has refused to reconsider its decision to withhold statistics from the United Nations mission Iraq.

Details please. Oh and pray explain why reporting statistics to the UN automatically gives them a seal of approval?

Finally I can't help but note (via Dan Riehl / Instapundit) that the BBC has found the worst way to present these statistics. The same basic facts are undoubtedly behind this report:

Unofficial figures compiled by McClatchy Newspapers' show 189 Iraqis, including police and government security forces, were killed in the capital through Friday, a drop of almost two thirds since this year's high in February, when 520 were killed. The average monthly death toll of Iraqis in Baghdad was 410 from December through May.

In other words not only are overall deaths decreasing but in Baghdad, where the surge started, the figures are even more impressive with a reduction of over 50% from the average for the previous six months.