This tip came to me with the sneaky message "The New York Times starts off the year with what could be the least informative graphic of '10". Well, is it?
In fact, regular readers readers might notice this is an almost yearly re-occuring infosthetics post, as one might remember "Comparing US Soldier Casualty Statistics in Iraq and Afghanistan" from February last year, and Iraq Casualties for Dummies back in 2007. In spite of the many comments and suggestions that especially the 2007 post generated, the visual and infographic style was kept consistent.
In short, the infographic titled "A Year in Iraq and Afghanistan" (PDF, 7.5MB!) [nytimes.com] accompanies an "Op-Chart", meaning that it was designed outside of the NYTimes Infographics Department. Based on data from icasualties.org and the Pentagon, the chart shows how the death toll in Afghanistan is up by 40 percent from last year, and that most of the deaths are occurring on the battlefield, unlike in Iraq, where half the fatalities were not related to combat. In addition, while many see the war in Afghanistan as an American effort, the colors on the chart show the extent to which the Western allies are sharing the deadly burden.