Saturday, July 7, 2007

Some free advice to Lindsey Graham, et al - saying it doesn't make it so

Three Blind Lice

There seems to be a tremendous disconnect between the die-hard war supporters and reality.

On the one hand, you have Lindsey Graham drinking deep from the Raspberry Red and stepping up to the mike to declare that things in Iraq are definitely looking up. “The military part of the surge is working beyond my expectations,” Graham said. “We literally have the enemy on the run. The Sunni part of Iraq has really rejected al-Qaida all over the country. We’re getting more information about al-Qaida operations than we’ve ever received.”

It’s hard to tell, the way objectives shift and goalposts get moved, but I seem to recall that the purpose of the escalation was to secure Baghdad, and on that point the numbers do not lie. Violence in Baghdad is not appreciably down. In fact, 2% is a mere blip, and certainly not statistically significant. Between 20 June and 5 July, 472 civilians died in attacks in Baghdad. This represents a whopping 2 percent drop in civilian casualties from the previous 16-day period, according to a tally collected by the Associated Press from daily reports by Iraqi security and hospital officials.”

Just a brief perusal of the major news outlets would indicate that Graham is either delusional at best, or flat-out lying at worst. I’m going with the lying until proof is submitted to the contrary.

From Reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Car bombs and mortar attacks killed 50 people in Iraq, police and local officials said on Saturday, while the U.S. military said six of its soldiers had been killed in the past two days.

One British soldier was also killed in the south.

The fresh violence follows a lull in Iraq, where tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops are on the offensive against insurgents in a bid to halt a slide into sectarian civil war.

And the Washington Post:

BAGHDAD, July 7 -- Suicide bombings across Iraq killed nearly 150 and injured scores, including a massive truck assault in a northern Shiite village that ripped through a crowded market, officials said Saturday.

The violence came as the U.S. military on Saturday reported the deaths of eight American soldiers over the past two days, all killed in combat or by roadside bombs in Baghdad and the western province of Anbar. A British soldier was reported killed in fighting in southern Iraq.

The worst carnage unfolded in the Shiite Turkoman village of Amarly, 50 miles south of Kirkuk, when a suicide bomber rammed a truck laden with explosives into the central market, which is near a police station, officials said. The attack killed at least 115 people and wounded at least 210, according to district and hospital officials, adding that they expected the death toll to rise.

And finally, from the New York Times:

BAGHDAD, July 7 — Suicide bombers killed at least 122 people in two attacks north of Baghdad, officials said Saturday, and the strikes raised questions about whether insurgents who had fled intense military operations in Baghdad and Diyala are turning to more vulnerable targets nearby.

In the worst blast, a truck loaded with explosives demolished dozens of fragile clay-built houses and shops on Saturday in Amerli, a village of poor Shiite Turkmen about 15 miles south of Tuz Khurmato. The Iraqi police said the blast killed 1o5 people and wounded 210 more.

The American military also reported Saturday the deaths of nine soldiers and marines on Thursday and Friday, eight of them during combat or from roadside bomb attacks.

Witnesses in Amerli described a horrific scene of people running while on fire, and others shrieking for rescuers to pull them free from beneath scores of buildings that were turned into rubble by the blast.

Perhaps Lindsey will do us all a favor and next time he visits Iraq and conduct one of his patented pep-rallies outside the Green Zone, in the middle of Baghdad – without two Apache gunships, three Blackhawks, an entire company of U.S. soldiers surrounding him – and enough body armor to pass himself off as a body double for RoboCop.

If he did that, I might, for a couple of minutes, stop bitching about the stupidity of these dog-and-pony-shows when potentates visit the “troops in the field” to “get the real story” – oh please! You can take my first-hand account on this – any “troop in the field” who might be inclined to say something the potentates don’t want to hear, doesn’t get anywhere near the potentates. These trips are a waste of taxpayer money, and for what just one of these junkets costs, at least ten teachers could be trained for placement in inner city schools, and a couple of doctors for inner-city hospitals, too.

And I can tell you something else first-hand…when the word comes down from on high that a dignitary is coming, the cursing is voluble and eye-rolling is blatant...even from the commanders making the announcement, in a lot of cases. I can only imagine the reaction of troops in a war zone.

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