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.
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.