Why body counts are a bad metric for judging Islamic state fight
Bloomberg - 06/04/2015
Estimates of Islamic State’s membership have been “all over the place,” said Max Abrahms, an assistant professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston who specializes in Islamic militant groups. The 10,000 casualty estimate seems high “because there is a widespread view that Islamic State’s membership size has been growing,” he said.
The use of body counts got a bad reputation during the Vietnam War, when numbers were exaggerated and even fabricated in efforts to show that the U.S. was winning, Abrahms said.
By turning to such metrics now, said Abrahms, the administration seems to be trying to counter the “widespread view that the military campaign against Islamic State is not going well and that the military response has been too passive.”