Fun with numbers

The Washington Post reported today, on page 1 above the fold, that the number of dead bodies found in the streets of Baghdad is higher now than it was before the surge. Here’s how the Post put it in the first paragraph of the print edition story entitled “Body Count in Baghdad Up in June”:

Nearly five months into a sercuity strategy that involves thousands of additional U.S. and Iraqi troops patrolling Baghdad, the number of unidentified bodies found on the streets of the capital was 41 percent higher in June than in January, according to unofficial Health Ministry statistics.

One must follow the story over to the inside pages of the print edition to learn what John noted several days ago — that the overall level of violent civilian deaths in Iraq is declining. One wonders whether, if it had not been able to write a story about the unidentified body count being up, the Post would have seen fit to report anywhere in the paper that the civilian death count is down.
Later in the same article, the Post notes that the number of dead bodies discovered in Baghdad had started to decline at the turn of the year, prior to the surge. I don’t recall the Post reporting this devlopment at that time, though. Again, one wonders whether the Post is willing to report positive developments in Iraq in the absence of countervailing bad news.


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