Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Word Play

About a week ago the report of the Iraq Study Group was issued. I downloaded a copy (.pdf available here), and converted the .pdf to a word document using Acrobat Professional. This allowed me to have some fun with the report, using the tools available in Microsoft Word.

Namely the Word Count tools. It can help one get a gist of the document without all of the pesky reading of it. For example the word ‘war’ appears 31 times and the word ‘peace’ is used 40 times. Also ‘death’ and ‘life’ are each used five times.

Some notable things result. ‘Sunni’ is used 86 times, ‘Shia/Shiite’ is used 69 times, but ‘Kurd’ is only used 53 times. ‘Win’ is used 4 times, ‘lose’ just once; but ‘lost’ is used 4 times and ‘won’ is not used at all.

Of more note are the following words and how often they are used:

‘Mass Destruction’: Once
‘Democracy’: Seven times
‘Election’: Seventeen times
‘Politics’: Fifteen times
‘Oil’: Sixty Four times

Quite telling. But what is sadly the most telling is the number of times any of the following words are used in the 168 page report: ‘Apology’ ‘remorse’ ‘guilt’ ‘shame’ ‘sorrow’ ‘mistake’ ‘humble’ ‘humility’ ‘blame’ ‘regret’ ‘contrite’ ‘repent’ ‘atone’ ‘error’ ‘blunder’ ‘underestimate.’ None of those words is used even once.