Harry Reid, Gen. Petraeus, and cooking data

In an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Srnate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed a million Iraqis have been killed since the beginning of the invasion. How did Reid arrive at that figure? He probably got it from this poll. I know of no non-poll study suggesting anything like such a high number.

A poll! Questions were asked of a ‘representative sample' of 1,461 adults in Iraq, and from that casualty figures are determined. The pollsters actually suggest that their results indicate as many as 1,220,580 deaths since the invasion.

Among their conclusions, which they say are within plus or minus 2.4% (based purely on sampling size, not on the reliability of hearsay), they claim 20% of those have died as a result of car bombs. That is 244,000 deaths from car bombs, in four and a half years.

That's 150 people killed every single day by car bombs for 4 ½ years. I watch the news, and I don't see anything like that reported. Google news turns up a car bomb that killed ten in Baghdad three days ago. Reports will be in any moment now on the other dozen or so car bombs that went off that very same day, and the day before, and the day after...  won't they?

Just several days before General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker reported to the House and Senate, we heard Democrats go on and on about cooking data. Nancy Pelosi invoked the phrase "The plural of anecdote is not data." . Of course not! But her Senate counterpart seems to be saying poll results can yoeld casualty data.

Harry Reid was quoted by ABC News saying:
"Before the [Petreaus] report arrives in Congress, it will pass through the White House spin machine, where facts are often ignored or twisted, and intelligence is cherry-picked."
Now he seems to assert that poll results are useful as data on casualties! Not police, hospital, morgue or cemetery records! Poll results, based on what the authors of the poll deem a "representative sample."

Harry Reid deserves a new nickname: "Give ‘em hooey Harry"!