So how's that claim that US troop fatalities are down this year doing?
Kevin Drum gets graphic.
Oh, and civilian deaths are up too.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Civilian deaths from violence in Iraq rose in August, with 1,773 people killed, government data showed on Saturday, just days before the U.S. Congress gets a slew of reports on President George W. Bush's war strategy.Spinning the surge gets a whole lot easier when officials and saintly generals are able to make bald statements without actually giving figures to back those statements up. Those damned statistics!
...The civilian death toll was up 7 percent from 1,653 people killed in July, according to figures from various ministries.
Nearly a quarter of the August total comprised 411 people killed in massive truck bombings against the minority Yazidi community in northern Iraq on August 14.
Without the Yazidi attack, the death toll would still be higher than the June number of 1,227, which had been the lowest monthly total since a U.S.-backed crackdown began in February.
Update My pal Pygalgia adds that the UN High Commission on Refugees says almost one in six Iraqis are now displaced.
There is no way to make this sound good. As we are responsible for creating so many refugees, what are we doing about it?And he has a graphic to illustrate.
Not much. Less than Denmark.
Which rather puts administration boasts that "the number of Iraqi refugees who arrived in the United States in August increased almost tenfold compared to the previous month" - from 57 up to 500 - into startling perspective. The plan is to increase that to 2,000 total for the next year. Shameful.
Update 2 Kevin Drum graphs the civilain deaths -
and comes up with the unsurprising answer that:
The chart above shows war-related violent deaths for the entire year of 2007. What's remarkable is that not only does it not show any decrease since the beginning of the surge in February, but it doesn't even show a significant dip during summer, traditionally the quietest season in Iraq.The administration are staking everything on Petreaus' credibility and a verbal report.
It's simply not plausible that the Pentagon has credible numbers demonstrating that the surge is successful but is refusing to release them. No agency refuses to release good news that it can back up rigorously, after all. Bottom line: If the Pentagon wants to continue claiming that violence in Iraq is down due to the surge, it had better start producing public numbers and public justification for its methodology, and it had better start doing it fast. From where I sit, their classified briefings look more like politically motivated flimflammery than an honest accounting of progress.