15 February 2009
One must always be careful with statistics, and especially so when dealing with insurgencies. The numbers tend to lag behind the true current situation. For instance, in July of 2007, when John Burns and I both were telling millions of Americans that “the Surge” was working, our casualties actually were at nearly the highest during the entire war. And so, using statistics, someone could have ripped us apart or accused us of carrying the water for the President. But in fact, though attacks were very high, it was obvious that we were turning the tables in Iraq and the situation was dramatically improving. Likewise, when I reported from Afghanistan during 2006, saying explicitly, in plain language, that we were losing, some people used statistics to discredit those reports. In this type of warfare, the statistics can be extremely misleading. Yet I do pay attention to the statistics. The difficulty comes in applying proper context.
Please see this interesting report.