Monday, April 10, 2006

Embedded truths

Regardless of where you stand on the matter of a continued U.S. role in Iraq, I strongly recommend you take some time to check out the Brookings Institution's online April 10, 2006 Iraq Index. The Index is a study of brain numbing variables of post-Saddam-Iraq.
For me, what jumped out of the pages of stats were two categories of data - info that offers some insight into the backgrounds of those American soldiers who have been killed in Iraq; as well as info on insurgency growth that conflicts with all I've heard and read coming out of the Pentagon.
For example...
Since March 19, 2003 through April 1, 2006 more American soldiers who are Hispanic/Latino have been killed than of any ethnic group other than Caucasian.
Also since the start of the war, more American soldiers age 22 or younger have been killed than any other single age group.
The study further shows that of the American soldiers killed, 40.5% came from suburbs, 33.3% from rural areas and 26.2% from large cities.
For me personally, learning a bit more about the demographics of our troops killed - other than the reporting of numbers of troops killed - makes it more hauntingly real.
Equally disturbing to me were the Index charts that indicate that in 2005 alone 23,500 insurgents had been killed or detained in Iraq. I find it disturbing because Pentagon officials last year were reported to have estimated that there were approximately 20,000 insurgents in Iraq. Somehow the math doesn't quite add up - if more insurgents had been killed or detained than were reportedly in existence, then it would stand to reason that there is no insurgency problem anymore in Iraq. But the Index goes on to show a steady rise in the number of insurgency attacks in Iraq since 2004.
All this to say that I'm convinced that embedded in the mountains of data on the variables of post-Saddam Iraq lie truths about the war that have yet to be told.