Sunday, March 18, 2007

Many right-wingers are gleefully embracing the results of a new poll of Iraqi public opinion -- which is odd because, while it does say that a plurality of Iraqis prefer life under Maliki to life under Saddam, it also says that 26% of Iraqi adults have lived through the murder of a family member in the past three years, and that the figure for kidnapping is 23%. (CORRECTION: That's the figure in Baghdad; overall it's 8%. But half the country has experienced the kidnapping or murder of a family member, friend, or colleague.)

The results of the poll are here. I'm not sure many of the gleeful righties are actually reading them, preferring to cite these cheery articles about the poll from Rupert Murdoch's Times of London. By contrast, Richard Blair at Alternet notes the many less-than-cheery numbers in the poll.

I don't have much to add to Blair's analysis except this: The right-wingers embracing this poll need to find a way to explain the murder number, because they've been telling us for quite some time that there haven't been all that many civilian casualties in Iraq. Recall that they lashed out at the authors of a study published in The Lancet that arrived at an excess-death estimate of 655,000 since the start of the war, preferring a Pentagon estimate of 50,000. Er, the population of Iraq is nearly 27 million; if half of those are adults, and if the Pentagon estimate is right, then the more than 3.5 million Iraqis who say they have a murdered relative are all talking about the same 50,000 people. That's about a 70-to-1 ratio of relatives to victims. Plausible?


UPDATE: More non-Pollyannaish analysis of the poll here and here.

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