August 22, 2006

Peaceful, Easy Baghdad Feeling?

Hatched by Dafydd

Has anybody else heard anything about this before today? Or on any other news service besides what we used to call "al-Reuters?" Reuters reports that Baghdad has seen a marked decline in deadly violence in the past fortnight:

Violence in Baghdad has declined in the past two weeks and all but ended in some formerly deadly neighborhoods, the U.S. military said in a cautiously upbeat report on Tuesday on a major security clampdown in the city....

A day after President George W. Bush said he was concerned about civil war and was not about to withdraw U.S. troops, the chief military spokesman in Iraq said he saw no sign of such a conflict but U.S. forces were focusing on breaking sectarian "death squads" from both Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim communities.

Twenty-two raids in the past week against such groups in the capital had led to 37 arrests, Major General William Caldwell told a news conference. He presented statistics showing a 16 percent drop in the daily average of attacks in Baghdad since August 7, at 21 compared to 25 in the preceding two months.

"What we have seen in August is a downturn," Caldwell said, two weeks after beefed up U.S. forces and thousands of Iraqi troops and police launched a new phase of what Iraqi and U.S. leaders have called a make-or-break operation to pacify Baghdad.

The decline is specifically in those areas that were hardest hit by horrific attacks:

Attacks in Dora had dropped to virtually none from 20 to 30 a day, [Caldwell] said, after U.S. and Iraqi forces flooded the area, forcing out militants and sought to win over people with offers of cash and help with municipal projects like collecting trash.

"Most of the shops are still closed," 30-year-old laborer Sabah al-Shujairi said of his part of Dora. "But security is getting better. Before, we used to hear gunshots all over but now you rarely notice a thing. There is a relative calm."

And for those still believing that the perennial leakers of classified information are merely public-spirited whistleblowers with no political axe to juggle, let's read between the lines here:

Figures leaked from the Pentagon last week indicated that the number of bombs planted to hit troops or civilians in July was almost double that in January, a record since the invasion. But Caldwell said there had been a decline since last month.

I notice that the leakers rushed to let news organizations know that July was the bloodiest month in some time, with a death rate that exceeded 100 Iraqi civilians per day; but those same leakers -- still unlocated, still with the same access to new figures -- found no particular urgency in leaking figures showing a significant decline in the death toll this month.

I wonder why not?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 22, 2006, at the time of 3:39 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I noticed this and was almost afraid to say anything for fear it would jinx the whole thing.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2006 4:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

What if we won a war an no one noticed?

Kerry, 2008, after the troops come home: "If I am elected President I will return our troops from the front lines of Iraq to face war crimes tribunals here in the USA...."

Anybody else notice the distinct and sustained drop in combat deaths for U.S. forces? It has been dropping like a stone since April. August is on track to become the third lowest month for casualties since the war began.

And of course there has been a 40% drop in Iraqi casualties this month.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2006 4:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Excerpted and linked at Old War Dogs.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2006 7:22 PM

The following hissed in response by: yetanotherjohn

To be fair, the leakers may have again leaked the news and some other entity between us and the leakers decided not to spread the information. Perhaps the MSM has decided that publishing leaked information about the war, during the war, is not a good idea.

And if you believe that, I have a million dollar insurance contract to sell you that covers all accidents (involving you and two helicopters in a tunnel where said tunnel is going under water and no other people or vehicles are involved, including any pilots). Please send the $1M immediately.

The above hissed in response by: yetanotherjohn [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 23, 2006 8:24 AM

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