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[casi] WSJ misquoted Zogby Iraq poll



A featured Wall Street Journal commentary by Karl Zinsmeister misrepresents
recent Iraqi opinion poll results.

Zinsmeister spins a case for "the comparative gentleness of this war" by
contrasting those who knew someone killed in fighting this spring (roughly 30%)
versus those who knew someone killed by Iraqi securty forces during Saddam's
rule (roughly 50%).

But Zinsmeister misquotes the poll.  The latter percentage is of people who knew
someone "killed *IN* *WAR* (emphasis added) or by security forces" during
Saddam's rule (which included two calamitous conflicts).

The fact that the latest war's 'known victim' estimate is trending toward
earlier tolls should give us pause.  Conservative estimates are that at least
6,000 civilians were killed in the U.S.-British attacks.  The Zogby results hint
the actual toll is far higher.

For Zinsmeister on the eve of the remembrance of 2,700 WTC civilians to call
such carnage 'comparatively gentle' is obscene.

Zinsmeister edits the American Enterprise Institute magazine, rubbing shoulders
with the ghoulish Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen and hence, perhaps, the whiff
of corruption.

Regards,
Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

===
References (fact-checking only) ...

[1] Zinsmeister article
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110003991
What Iraqis Really Think
We asked them. What they told us is largely reassuring.
BY KARL ZINSMEISTER
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

[2] Actual poll questions
http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=734

[3] Compilation of Iraqi civilian deaths from mainstream press reports, and
emerging epidemiological work
http://www.iraqbodycount.net


===
Summary:
What Zinsmeister claimed:

"War is never pleasant, though U.S. forces made heroic efforts to spare
innocents in this one, as I illustrate with firsthand examples in my book about
the battles. Evidence of the comparative gentleness of this war can be seen in
our poll. Less than 30% of our sample of Iraqis knew or heard of anyone killed
in the spring fighting. Meanwhile, fully half knew some family member, neighbor
or friend who had been killed by Iraqi security forces during the years Saddam
held power."


What the poll actually asked:

       Were any of your own family members, neighbors, or friends killed in this
spring's war?
       Were any of your own family members, neighbors, or friends killed in war or by
security forces during the years that Saddam Hussein held power?

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