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Iraqi Civilian Death Rate Drops Dramatically

If this report is correct, then this is definitely dramatic indeed:

The civilian death toll in Iraq fell to its lowest level in recent memory Saturday, with only four people killed or found dead nationwide, according to reports from police, morgue officials and credible witnesses

Saturday marked the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr feast for Shiites, the three-day capstone closing out the Ramadan month of fasting. Sunnis began celebrating the holiday on Sunday.

The daily number of civilians killed, not including those on days when there were massive casualties from car bombs, had climbed above 100 at the end of last year and the beginning of 2007.

Saturday's decline in deaths was in line with a sharp drop in September of both Iraqi civilian and U.S. military fatalities.

Wow. And this in a population of 26,800,000 people. Quagmire? What quagmire?

Update: From the Washington Post editorial page on the debate about Iraqi civilian deaths that took place during Patraeus' Congressional hearings:

A month later, there isn't much room for such debate, at least about the latest figures. In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web site icasualties.org. The Iraqi Health Ministry and the Associated Press reported similar results. U.S. soldiers killed in action numbered 43 -- down 43 percent from August and 64 percent from May, which had the highest monthly figure so far this year. The American combat death total was the lowest since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since the insurgency in Iraq took off in April 2004.

During the first 12 days of October the death rates of Iraqis and Americans fell still further. So far during the Muslim month of Ramadan, which began Sept. 13 and ends this weekend, 36 U.S. soldiers have been reported as killed in hostile actions. That is remarkable given that the surge has deployed more American troops in more dangerous places and that in the past al-Qaeda has staged major offensives during Ramadan. Last year, at least 97 American troops died in combat during Ramadan. Al-Qaeda tried to step up attacks this year, U.S. commanders say -- so far, with stunningly little success.

The trend could change quickly and tragically, of course. Casualties have dropped in the past for a few weeks only to spike again. There are, however, plausible reasons for a decrease in violence. Sunni tribes in Anbar province that once fueled the insurgency have switched sides and declared war on al-Qaeda. The radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr ordered a cease-fire last month by his Mahdi Army. Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the top day-to-day commander in Iraq, says al-Qaeda's sanctuaries have been reduced 60 to 70 percent by the surge.

This doesn't necessarily mean the war is being won. U.S. military commanders have said that no reduction in violence will be sustainable unless Iraqis reach political solutions -- and there has been little progress on that front. Nevertheless, it's looking more and more as though those in and outside of Congress who last month were assailing Gen. Petraeus's credibility and insisting that there was no letup in Iraq's bloodshed were -- to put it simply -- wrong.

That means you, too, Senator "willing suspension of disbelief" Clinton.

Update II: Don Surber has a very good post about the WaPo editorial and Hillary, in which he writes this:

Hillary lied. For political gain, she flat-out lied. She voted for this war 5 years ago to give her credibility in this presidential campaign. In September, she dumped on the efforts of Gen. Petraeus, whom she dared to portray as a liar.

William Safire pegged her well in January 1996 when he called her a "congenital liar." He took heat for that. He spoke the truth to power before the phrase was co-opted by the power mad on the left.

The Post's objective in its editorial on Iraq. It concluded, "This doesn't necessarily mean the war is being won. U.S. military commanders have said that no reduction in violence will be sustainable unless Iraqis reach political solutions -- and there has been little progress on that front. Nevertheless, it's looking more and more as though those in and outside of Congress who last month were assailing Gen. Petraeus's credibility and insisting that there was no letup in Iraq's bloodshed were -- to put it simply -- wrong."

But there is a greater war, one which a free people must always guard against and that is the demagoguery of people who seek power for power's sake.

In 1996, the controversy was her money-grubbing activity in the Whitewater scandal. They were able to put away a governor of Arkansas but her friends protected her by lying and refusing to testify.

12 years later, nothing has changed. Some lefties are distrustful of her. Given the choice between an ill-prepared young man and a third term for a congenital liar and her congenial liar husband, I would select the former.

Update III: Captain Ed takes not jut Hillary Clinton to task for all the those on the left who called General Patraeus a liar during his testimony last month:

Let's put it a little more simply: they lied. Being "wrong" would have meant them saying, "General Petraeus, your numbers appear to be incorrect," or alternately, "We don't believe these trends will last." That's not what Petraeus heard. He heard a Senator -- someone vying to become Petraeus' Commander in Chief -- tell him that his testimony required a "willing suspension of disbelief". MoveOn greeted Petraeus' testimony with a full-page ad declaring him a potential traitor to his country.

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Comments (33)

I remain confident that the... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

I remain confident that the liberal trolls will find some statistic -- however obscure -- to demonstrate it is still a quagmire. If that does not work, they will misquote a former general. Or cite some bogus statistics spake by a clueless Democratic senator. (No doubt one who has plagiarized in the past.) Or maybe just put their thumbs in their ears, and their fingers over their eyes while going "la, la, la" at the top of their lungs so the inconvenient facts don't get a chance to penetrate.

Quagmire, defined as a situ... (Below threshold)

Quagmire, defined as a situation from which extrication is very difficult, describes the situation there perfectly, as notwithstanding the reduction in casualties, no serious person (ought to) believes that the situation is Iraq is going to be stable enough to allow us to leave.

Iran is going to remain a threat for years to come, as does the potential of the Iraqis going off on one another as soon as we leave, and Al Qaeda, while they may be quiet right now, certainly can/will return to their tricks once we leave.

So celebrate the reduction in the loss of American lives and the numbers of Al Qaeda that have been killed, just don't deceive yourself into thinking that this means we're 'winning'... at least not if you persist in defining winning as having Iraq as this peaceful, lovable place where everybody sits around drinking cokes and singing campfire songs.

It is really sad but out sc... (Below threshold)
Michael:

It is really sad but out scummy little trolls like BarneyMoron, etc...are really going to be upset by this. What do they see when they look in the mirror?

I meant our scummy little t... (Below threshold)
Michael:

I meant our scummy little trolls.

>...no serious person (ough... (Below threshold)
Right Wing Troll:

>...no serious person (ought to) believes that the situation is Iraq is going to be stable enough to allow us to leave.

Steve.. What happened when the British left Basra?

>Iran is going to remain a threat for years to come,

Oh my... Iran has been a threat to Iraq for how many years before the war? That was a silly thing to say.

>Al Qaeda, while they may be quiet right now, certainly can/will return to their tricks once we leave.

Doubtful. THE MAJORITY (as in over 50%) of the people chasing away AQI today are IA and IP.. Not U.S. soldiers. Besides, you're not real current on events over there.. Al Qaeda is bailing out of Iraq and regrouping in Wazirstan.

>don't deceive yourself into thinking that this means we're 'winning'... at least not if you persist in defining winning as having Iraq as this peaceful, lovable place where everybody sits around drinking cokes and singing campfire songs.

huh? When in the history of Iraq has this EVER been the case? Iraq has been a violent place for a few thousand years. You must not study much history.

"So celebrate the reduction... (Below threshold)

"So celebrate the reduction in the loss of American lives..."

Too bad you don't consider it worth celebrating.

Elisa, you stupid little tw... (Below threshold)

Elisa, you stupid little twit, if you bothered to do any background, you'd know I am glad we ain't wasting as many American lives there.

And Troll, it's a bit funny that Bush and his fellow kool-aid drinkers have cited the reasons I gave for why he wouldn't pull troops out. He's the one who said he was worried about Iran, about preventing more intramural fighting and for making sure Al Qaeda doesn't get a chance to retrench (they're not stupid, they're going to where we're not, and when we leave Iraq, they'll likely return).

Since you don't appear to be worried about those reasons and/or think everything is well in hand, I presume you're joining the call to pull our troops out now?

Typical, somebody celebrate... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Typical, somebody celebrates good news and the response is, "Oh so it's all unicorns and rainbows in Iraq?"

Some people just don't know nuance when they see it.
stevesturm, despite what some might have told you, the world is not all black and white.

Oh silly little me. Here I... (Below threshold)

Oh silly little me. Here I thought your comment should be able to stand on its own, not require research or insight into your personal mindset as evidenced by all of your collective works of commenting. Which is apparently exactly what you thought about my comment.

elisa, you know when they a... (Below threshold)
kim:

elisa, you know when they are frustrated they project.
==============================

Thank you stevestrum (or is... (Below threshold)
Mark L.:

Thank you stevestrum (or is it stevestrumanddrang?) for immediately making my point. Too funny. Too, too, funny!

Just about two months ago, ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Just about two months ago, Canon Andrew White, an Anglican priest, got a number of the religious leaders in Iraq, Sunni and Shia, to agree to a fatwah against violence. This was broken almost immediately and dramatically by rogue elements of Sadr's Mahdi Army. Sadr was shamed enough by the incident to agree to quell violence and also has done his best.

Andrew White, as well as Sistani, and Chalabi of the oil agreement, should share the Nobel Prize for Peace, were it awarded as designed.
====================================

Stevesturn had his turn, an... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Stevesturn had his turn, and he blew it. Moron.

In regards to Al Quaeda Ste... (Below threshold)
914:

In regards to Al Quaeda Steve

"there not stupid,there going to where were not,and when We leave Iraq they'll likely return."

Well they went to south Florida too!

Guess it must have been when all the Americans were out of state?

So celebrate the reduct... (Below threshold)

So celebrate the reduction in the loss of American lives and the numbers of Al Qaeda that have been killed, just don't deceive yourself into thinking that this means we're 'winning'... at least not if you persist in defining winning as having Iraq as this peaceful, lovable place where everybody sits around drinking cokes and singing campfire songs.

Stevesturm,

When the amount of lives lost,(by comitting senseless murders) in Iraq are far fewer than in our own country, it's time to look within our own neighborhoods and ask "where are the campfires". "Winning" becomes a very un-selective term when put in the context of comparable societies that feed on each others weaknesses.

A fellow commenter at the Belmont Club left this tidbit of commical parody:

"Well, maybe this all IS a strategy....

Scene: A cave in Afghanistan. A bedraggled shot-up jihad fighter drags himself in before a bearded man in robes. "Beg pardon, emir, but they beat us again. It was worse this time. We must have lost 100 to their one, maybe more. We will be counting remnants of assholes and dividing by two for weeks just to figure out how many we lost this time and how many of us just ran away. They came up with something new, again. Did you ever see that film The Terminator, emir? Well, you're not gonna believe this, but...."

The robed man cuts off the other with an abrupt gesture and points to the TV set, which is displaying a picture of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed. "Those guys beat you again? Those effing idiots? Those so-called leaders that could not organize an effing raid on an effing watermellon patch? Even if they owned the effing patch? No way! You are going to have to come up with a better one than that to explain your repeated failures, Abdul!"

"Beg pardon again, most respected emir, but we are not fighting those effing idiots. Now, about that movie I told you about. We need to get some dogs... Yes! I know they are supposed to be unclean! But we need them, and quick! You said you had friends in PETA?"


Lower loss of life is alway... (Below threshold)

Lower loss of life is always welcome news. However the flow of deadly arms from Iran only continues to threaten U.S. lives and the insurgents have always proven the ability to adapt their warfare tactics to any changes in tactics by the U.S. military.

Better border security of Iraq is vital to keeping out a flow of foreign fighters and Iranian arms.

But the conflict with the Kurdish militant fighters and Turkey could open up as new warfront in the comparably peaceful Northern Kurdish region and endanger the critical role of Turkey as a member of NATO as well. If Turkish tanks roll into Northern Iraq to battle Kurdish extremists, then certainly the situation in Iraq will take a new bad turn.

Certainly any progress in Iraq is a good thing. However the situation is far from resolved and it is no time to proclaim "mission accomplished" for the second time until the nation is actually completely stable and a decent place for business investment like many other parts of the Mideast.

>Lower loss of life is alwa... (Below threshold)
Right Wing Troll:

>Lower loss of life is always welcome news. However the flow of deadly arms from Iran only continues to threaten U.S. lives

No matter what we accomplish, you'll always try to move the goalposts. First it was civilian casualties now this...

Don't you ever get tired changing your story?

It must be nice there in Po... (Below threshold)
kim:

It must be nice there in Portland.
==================================

Right Wing Troll, your chos... (Below threshold)

Right Wing Troll, your chosen name is pretty self-explanatory. However, the goalposts for Iraq have always been the same, a relatively peaceful state where schools and hospitals are open for business and investors from the international business community can help bring jobs and prosperity to the nation and improve the per capita income up from 130th in the world closer to the neighboring UAE which is #3 in the world. Would you book a vacation in Baghdad right now? No. But in most neighboring Mideast states you certainly can.

WOW, Steve, you've twisted ... (Below threshold)
Right Wing Troll:

WOW, Steve, you've twisted yourself around so much you just wrote eloquently in support of the surge:

they're [Al Qeada] not stupid, they're going to where we're not, and when we leave Iraq, they'll likely return

So you support the surge. Great!

>Since you don't appear to be worried about those reasons and/or think everything is well in hand, I presume you're joining the call to pull our troops out now?

Nice strawman attack. It was textbook; so much fun I stole it from you above. But ultimately ineffectual.

Nobody is saying that the game is over... But your gloom and doom is just partisan spin because you dislike the facts on the ground. Like Paul above you want to move the goal posts:

"We won't have won in Iraq until everyone gets a pony."

You guys loath to admit the U.S. is winning.


I am saying the game is ove... (Below threshold)
kim:

I am saying the game is over. A few gangs of drunken fans are still harassing each other. We won. So did the Iraqis. Al-Qaeda lost. So did Iran.
======================

In other news, the globe is... (Below threshold)
kim:

In other news, the globe is still cooling, and Hillary is still a crook.
=======================

Paul Hoosen remains the sin... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Paul Hoosen remains the single most ill-informed, ignorant moron re military matters of any poster I've seen on these boards.

Yet he continues to post as if he has some passing familiarity with the reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq or even the most rudimentary military/geo-political understanding.

Paul, your owning a TV fixit shop and becoming an "almost PhD" in Sociology or Psychology in no way qualifies you to comment so "authoritatively" on what is occurring in Iraq.

Paul, you are a walking talking caricature of a pompous know-nothing jackass. You are also the worst, most inane, and obvious plagiarizer of others thoughts and writings that I've seen "on the internets".

Idiot.

Drago:Paul, yo... (Below threshold)
marc:

Drago:

Paul, you are a walking talking caricature of a pompous know-nothing jackass. You are also the worst, most inane, and obvious plagiarizer of others thoughts and writings that I've seen "on the internets".

WOW, and I thought I was the only one. What a relief, being "alone in the woods" was getting worrisome.

Thanks for the confirmation Drago, I feel so much better now.

Steve.. What happened wh... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Steve.. What happened when the British left Basra?

Nothing. It's remained calm, according to Michael Yon.

Troll: I'm all in favor of ... (Below threshold)

Troll: I'm all in favor of having our troops go to kill Al Qaeda, wherever they might be, whether in Iraq, Pakistan or elsewhere. If we can do a better job of killing terrorists with more troops, then I'm all in favor of having more troops going after the terrorists.

But that isn't how the surge was sold, it was sold as a step towards having Iraq become the peaceful beacon of hope that would inspire the world to give up terrorism and live together in peace. And despite the good news of more dead terrorists / fewer dead good guys, Iraq really isn't any closer to getting to that point, now or in the foreseeable future.

Kim, it ain't over because your simple mind can't separate the means (surge) from the end (peaceful Iraq). It's over when Iraq is so peaceful and able to handle its own security that our troops are no longer needed. If you think we're there, then you are really clueless. If it were 'over', then why isn't Bush pulling troops out? Why hasn't he gone on TV to once again claim Mission Accomplished?

You all really aren't any better than the lefties, both of you are so determined to never acknowledge the other side might have a point that you're incapable of recognizing reality and dealing with what is, rather than what you'd like it to be. Think of this: if you hadn't been drinking the kool-aid for the past three years, Bush might have actually gotten his act together a long time ago. Imagine if he had surged three years ago: how many fewer American deaths would we have suffered between now and then?

stevestrumBut t... (Below threshold)
marc:

stevestrum

But that isn't how the surge was sold, it was sold as a step towards having Iraq become the peaceful beacon of hope that would inspire the world to give up terrorism and live together in peace.
Yep, sure was and Rome just like Baghdad wasn't and won't be built in a day.
And despite the good news of more dead terrorists / fewer dead good guys, Iraq really isn't any closer to getting to that point, now or in the foreseeable future.
Oh I don't know about that. When you have every Iraqi "insurgent" group, save for one, speaking out against al-Qaida (and killing them) it a definite sign of progress. And when people from NBC who are mostly made up of "Iraqi progress deniers" it says a lot more.

marc: it's one (good) thing... (Below threshold)

marc: it's one (good) thing for the Iraqi to turn against Al Qaeda, it's another (unsupported) thing to suggest or think that means they're prepared to live together in peace and harmony, sharing power and national resources... or that they are prepared to stand together against Iran's intrusions and meddling... or that they're prepared to keep the Kurds from inciting Turkey. As much as the Iraqis may have decided that they don't like Al Qaeda, they hate each other more than that, they've been that way for generations and nothing we can do will change that.

and as much as I'm totally impressed by your analogy to Rome not being built in a day, just how many years do you think American troops are going to have to stick around while Iraq is built? And I dare say the Romans had it a bit easier, as they didn't have to deal with fanatic Muslims and generations of tribal hatred.

"But that isn't how the sur... (Below threshold)

"But that isn't how the surge was sold, it was sold as a step towards having Iraq become the peaceful beacon of hope that would inspire the world to give up terrorism and live together in peace. And despite the good news of more dead terrorists / fewer dead good guys, Iraq really isn't any closer to getting to that point, now or in the foreseeable future."

Funny, I don't remember the surge being sold that way. GWB understands, as do most conservatives, that there is no magic bullet, nothing is ever going to change overnight, and utopia is not an attainable goal. Really, the only people I ever hear expecting any bit of good news from Iraq to mean the war is over, it's all peace and kite-flying and the troops are coming home are liberals.

The situation in Iraq will ... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

The situation in Iraq will be "over" when we have no further need for Iraq as a strategic base of operations for the Middle East.

Don't look now but stevestu... (Below threshold)
kim:

Don't look now but stevesturm doesn't think the Romans had to deal with tribal hatred.
=======================================

kim, I think your sentence ... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

kim, I think your sentence got corrupted with some added words, I'll try to fix it.

Don't look now but stevesturm doesn't think
There, fixed.

This just proves that we ar... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

This just proves that we are winning the war whether the democrats want to or not. They are along for the ride, kicking and screaming, and despite their efforts, we will win it. We are winning it, and they cannot stand it.




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