Tuesday, September 04, 2007

By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
8:20 PM PDT, September 3, 2007

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military buildup that was supposed to calm Baghdad and other trouble spots has failed to usher in national reconciliation, as the capital's neighborhoods rupture even further along sectarian lines, violence shifts elsewhere and Iraq's government remains mired in political infighting.

Devastating. Corresponds to the article which demolishes Petraeus's case in advance.
Bonus un-Friedman points for quoting a taxi driver who actually has information to share

"If there is any weakening of the American forces here, it will be very, very bad," said Shimari, a taxi driver. "In the last three days, I've driven four families at 6 in the morning to travel companies so they could leave for Syria. Those who can afford it leave."

One quibble. The key point that the military sectarian violence killing is defined (actually re-defined) to include only execution style killings and exclude car bombs is buried

paragraph 5 begins "Military officials say sectarian killings in Baghdad are down more than 51% and attacks on civilians and security forces across Iraq have decreased."

Military officials are lying or being misquoted. They mean "sectarian execution style killings in Baghdad" as the figure excludes deaths in bombings. The statement as quoted is simply false. To play with definitions is dishonest but not quite a lie, to make a claim based on a definition chosen to make the numbers look good without using the correct definition is to lie.

Waaaay down in paragraphs 34 35 and 36 Susman finally explains

According to U.S. military figures, an average of 1,000 Iraqis have died each month since March in sectarian violence. That compares with about 1,200 a month at the start of the security plan, the military said in an e-mailed response to queries. This does not include deaths from car bombings, which the military said have numbered more than 2,600 so far this year.

Figures from Iraqi government ministries point to far higher casualty numbers and show that so far this year, an average of 1,724 civilians a month have died in sectarian attacks, bombings and other war-related violence.

In February, the civilian death toll was 1,646.

Also Susman should have mentioned the seasonality of violence in Iraq. The DOD is claiming progress by comparing violence in August (temp 120 f in the shade) to February. Believe me, even for Jihadi's when it's hotter than hell, heaven can wait.

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