Petraeus vs. The Numbers: Who to Believe about IED Attacks?

Monday, September 13, 2010
General David Petraeus
America’s top military commander in Afghanistan, Army General David Petraeus, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, insisted recently that Taliban attacks involving roadside bombs have “flattened” over the past year. Have they?
Petraeus’ attempt to show progress is being made in the war is not backed up by the numbers. Data produced by the Department of Defense shows improvised explosive devices (IEDs) killed nearly 40% more U.S. and NATO troops in the first eight months of 2010 than during the same period in 2009, according to reporting by the Inter Press Service, while the number of wounded doubled.
Also, IED incidents, reported by the Center for Strategic and International Studies using Pentagon figures, increased from 513 in May 2009 to 1,128 in May 2010 and 1,258 in August 2010.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Petraeus Spin on IED War Belied by Soaring Casualties (by Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service)
Petraeus Expects Sustained Violence (by Julian Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg, Wall Street Journal)
IED Metrics for Afghanistan January 2004-May 2010 (by Anthony H. Cordesman and Jason Lemieux, Center for Strategic and International Studies) (pdf)


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