Sunday, May 20, 2007

Surge "Success" Would Be 800 Murders A Month

By Cernig

A Daily Telegraph article today reports that the the outgoing defence attaché at the British Embassy in Baghdad thinks the surge is failing.
Mr Campbell, whose remarks may cause embarrassment to Downing Street and anger in Washington, said that the casualty figures for April - in which 1,500 civilians are believed to have been killed - provided no "encouraging" evidence.

Speaking on the record last week to a public audience at Chatham House, the London-based foreign-policy research institute, he said: "The evidence does not suggest that the surge is actually working, if reduction in casualties is a criterion. The figures in April were not encouraging."

In unusually candid comments, Mr Campbell also disclosed that American commanders had decided that the criteria for the "success" of the troop surge would be nothing more than a reduction in violence to the level prior to last year's al-Qaeda bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, which destroyed its golden dome.

The destruction of the shrine, one of the most important Shia sites in the world, led to a dramatic escalation in sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia factions, peaking at 3,500 deaths in September last year. Casualty figures had been running at 800 a month before that, a level that few would regard as anything approaching peace.

While the United States military has made little secret of its view that the bloodshed in Iraq can now only be contained, rather than stamped out altogether, the suggestion that 800 murders a month in the country would be a measure of success is an indication of how far the coalition has been forced to reign in its expectations.

...Dan Goure, a Pentagon adviser, confirmed that the use of the Samarra benchmark was common among military commanders. "If we get back to pre-Samarra levels, then that's a significant reduction in violence, especially sectarian violence, and will provide the momentum for further improvements."
Phil Sherwell, along with Con Coughlin one of the two neocon shills-in-residence at the Telegraph, provided additional reporting from "surge" co-inventor Jack Keane saying the surge is making "steady progress" in its aim of reducing violence to the acceptable level of 800 sectarian murders a month.


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