Iraqi civilian deaths climb again
War-related fatalities rose in August, the second month in a row, suggesting that the U.S. troop increase has had little effect.
BAGHDAD -- Bombings, sectarian slayings and other violence related to the war killed at least 1,773 Iraqi civilians in August, the second month in a row that civilian deaths have risen, according to government figures obtained Friday.And what do the Iraqis think about the surge?
In July, the civilian death toll was 1,753, and in June it was 1,227. The numbers are based on morgue, hospital and police records and come from officials in the ministries of Health, Defense and the Interior. The statistics appear to indicate that the increase in troops ordered by President Bush this year has done little to curb civilian bloodshed, despite U.S. military statements to the contrary.
The latest Iraqi government figures show that from an initial drop in civilian deaths after the president's plan was launched Feb. 13, deaths quickly climbed back nearly to previous levels.
The numbers indicate that even if the number of attacks has dropped, their lethality may have increased.
A man who identified himself as Khaldoon, a blacksmith living in the mainly Shiite Muslim area of Hurriya in west Baghdad, said he felt secure there only because Shiite militiamen patrolled the streets. He said his cousin, also Shiite, had been killed recently because he had gone into a Sunni Muslim neighborhood.Of course none of this has stopped Bush:
"The government keeps on feeding us lies on TV, saying that there is progress in such-and-such place or that the services are getting better in some places, but it's all propaganda," said Rana Wajid, a Christian woman living in the mainly Sunni area of Dora, in south Baghdad.
Most Iraqis interviewed recently about their views on the military plan said security would not improve unless the country's political leaders resolved their differences.
Vali Nasr, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, agreed.
"It is the political impasse that is causing the security problem, and it is the political impasse that has to be solved if there is to be an end to the fighting," he said.
That has not stopped Mr. Bush from making an impassioned defense of the increase in American troops that he ordered in January, making the judgment that the new strategy was working and deserved a chance to continue doing so. In recent speeches, Mr. Bush has highlighted what he and others have called an improvement in security in Iraq and signs of political compromise that have so far been absent among Iraq’s political leaders.Of course Bush has every reason to be confident that he will get his way as it appears that the Democrats have still failed to grow a spine. And of course it also helps that the MSM continues to report the administration's lies as the truth.
Other reports — including a National Intelligence Estimate released last week, an early draft of a Government Accountability Office study, and a grim assessment of the Iraqi national police by a commission established by Congress — have tempered some of Mr. Bush’s claims, setting the stage for a furious debate with lawmakers in September.