2- It is that complicated. General Petraeus claims that his calculation of "ethno-sectarian" violence is easy to understand.
Gen. Petraeus offered his definition of sectarian violence for his tabulations: "acts taken by individual by one ethno-sectarian grouping against another." He added that "it's not that complicated": if "al-Qaeda bombs a Shiite area," it's sectarian violence.Two questions: How do you know that al-Qaeda is behind a bombing and doesn't it follow that if al-Qaeda bombs a Sunni area it doesn't count as sectarian violence? (Eric Black notices the same thing here.) Imagine that you're a non-religious Swiss in Iraq. Would you be bothered by a Sunni on Sunni bomb on your block less than a Sunni on Shiite one?
3- Is the US capping violence in Iraq or systematically reducing it? I suppose we'll have to wait at least another 6 months to even start asking this one.
4- What two intel agencies is Petraeus talking about? I thought this would have been an obvious follow-up.
5- Where is the data and how is it counted? Still waiting on this one.
That's it for now.
UPDATE: Mr. Black also has good posts on Petraeus' answer about his 2004 editorial in the middle of a presidential campaign, Brad Sherman's interesting questioning, and an informative post on Ambassador Ryan Crocker. For reasons almost too easy to explain (cough...no editors...), Mr. Black's blog is a good example of a good reporter working on his own in the blogosphere.