Friday, August 03, 2007

Casualty Count Shell Game

By Cernig

Having made a media surge out of the much-vaunted reduction in US combat deaths over in Iraq during the month of July - something pro-war pundits were all over - the Pentagon can now quietly admit the real figures. It won't matter now, the rightwing have their meme that the surge is working.

Shaun Mullen has the details.
DoD has now quietly added three more deaths that it must have overlooked or something, bringing the July total to 81. This is the same as February and March, which makes for a far less sexy talking point at the old daily press briefing.

Oh well.

Note further that the 81 July fatalities were by far the highest in that month since the war began:

81 — July 2007
43 — July 2006
54 — July 2005
54 — July 2004

While fewer American deaths than the previous month — be they 81 or 78, as opposed to 101 in June — are certainly a welcome development, the number obscures another fact of life: With daytime temperatures in insurgent strongholds spiking at 120-plus degrees, the baddies tend to lay low and it is not surprising that there was a downtick in encounters with coalition troops in July.

There was not, however, a downtick in Iraqi civilian deaths. Quite the contrary, they rose from 1,342 in June to 1,688 in July. Wasn’t this what the surge was supposed to keep from happening?

Just asking.
You will be able to count on the fingers of no hands the number of conservative pro-war pundits who will amend their claims, made on the basis of the original figure, of a last corner being turned.

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