The Surge Is Not Working, 15% Rise in Deaths in Iraq

April 2, 2007 at 10:36 am | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, McCain, Military | 2 Comments

As expected (except by those delusional Bush supporters), violence in Iraq increased by 15% from February to March of this year coinciding with the start of the “surge.” As Juan Cole states:

For all those journalists and politicians who keep insisting that there are new “glimmers” of “hope” in Iraq because of the new security plan started 6 weeks ago, here is a sobering statistic from the Iraqi government. (I’m looking at you, John McCain. See below for more on McCain).

Iraqis killed in February: 1806 (64.5/day)
Iraqis killed in March: 2078 (67/day)

That is a 15% increase!

(Of course, the real numbers are much higher than these government statistics suggest, since passive information gathering on casualties only catches a fraction).

While 44 Iraqi soldiers died in action, the total for US troops in March was 85. AFP is suspicious about the disparity given that US and Iraqi authorities have said that Iraqi troops are leading the security crackdown. If that were true, they should have more casualties than the Americans.

Killings in Baghdad have declined a bit, and death squad murders at night have been impeded, so that fewer bodies are found on the streets in the morning. But car bombing casualties rose. And, some of the violence was displaced from the capital to other cities, such as Baqubah and Mosul, which explains why the total is up so much. The US withdrew some 3,000 troops from Mosul last summer to concentrate them in Baghdad, and since then Mosul seems to me to have become increasingly insecure. It is Iraq’s second largest city.

So the over-all death toll has actually increased since the surge began.

Another cautionary note is that major attacks on Shiites in the capital and elsewhere seem to me to be way up. They may not take revenge immediately, but they will eventually. That the US has forced the Shiite militias off the street will be held against America, since Iraqis conclude that they are being killed because the Americans are not letting them defend themselves.

That last point is probably the most important. The violence right now as I’ve written before on the subject is done mostly by Sunnis who have NOT chosen to “lay low” while the Americans do their surge. The Shi’ites are being slaughtered by the hundreds on a weekly basis by Sunnis who blow up cars and each other in Shi’ite marketplaces. You BET the Shi’ites are remembering this, and will eventually take their revenge.

Furthermore, as Juan Cole states, the more this violence targets the Shi’ites, the Shi’ites themselves will start to turn on the Americans who are not protecting them, who have forced their (Shi’ites) militias to stand down during the “surge.” This is not looking good for the future of Iraq, and the future of Americans in Iraq.

Then, to make matters worse, you get idiots like John McCain deceiving Americans by pretending to be able to take a “stroll” around the marketplaces in Baghdad. But see, Mr. McCain was not telling you everything. For example:

In the interest of presenting the full picture then, I think it should be pointed out that McCain and his fellow senators were accompanied to the market by a small army, upwards of 50 soldiers according to a source who accompanied the group on the stroll. Just another day at the market. And even though McCain cited a drop in violence, Agence France Presse on Sunday quoted an Iraqi official who reported a 15 percent increase in violence across Iraq in March. According to their tally, 2,078 civilians, cops and soldiers were killed last month, 272 more fatalities than in February.

In any case, it didn’t take the insurgents long to send their reply. Less then 30 minutes after McCain wrapped up, a barrage of half a dozen mortars peppered the boundaries of the Green Zone, where the senators held their press conference. Though he was argumentative, McCain wasn’t completely out of touch on Sunday. Admitting “we have a long way to go,” the 2008 presidential candidate acknowledged that previous rosy assessments have been inaccurate. “I’m not saying ‘mission accomplished,’ ‘last throes’ or ‘dead enders.’”

Crooks and Liars has the video of McCain’s “stroll.” Note that only still pictures were allowed by McCain of his stroll, to better hide the fact that he needed about 100 guards to protect the good Senator.

Now, watch the following video of Michael Ware who ridicules McCain’s “Neverland.”

In fact other sources are also surprised at what McCain is saying.:

The Green Zone has been hit by mortars or rockets at least six times in the last seven days. One person has been killed and ten wounded. Embassy personnel reportedly have been instructed that body armor and helmets are now required for all “outdoor activities” within the four square-mile zone. That includes walking to the cafeteria.

If the Senator decides to hang out with the troops, he might take note of the signs and regulations that govern their conduct and provide a good indication as to how things are going here. Before leaving the sprawling U.S. base known as Camp Victory, which is adjacent to the Baghdad International Airport, there is a special place for weapons to be loaded, and anti-IED devices known as “Warlocks” switched on.

At every exit from the camps around the airport and the Green Zone there is a sign which reads: “All Weapons Red. Lock and Load.”

No one in their right mind goes on the streets here without security, a situation succinctly summed up by retired General Barry McCaffrey in a document he compiled in his job as a West Point professor. The general, who until late last year was of the publicly-held opinion that things were improving, was quoted in the New York Times as saying that because the government here does not hold sway in any province, “no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat, reporter, foreign NGO [nongovernmental organization], nor contractor can walk the streets of Baghdad, nor Mosul, nor Kirkuk, nor Basra, nor Tikrit, nor Najaf, nor Ramadi, without heavily armed protection.”

When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went to Fallujah earlier this month to talk to tribal sheikhs who are now willing to take American money and arms to fight the insurgents, the honour guard of Iraqi troops on hand to meet his helicopter did not have magazines in their AK47s. All weapons had been cleared and ammunition taken away before he arrived. The only lethal weapons were in the hands of al-Maliki’s personal security detail, which includes Western contractors.

For Senator McCain to claim there are places here where all is well is to woefully minimize the dangers faced by the troops he otherwise so admirably supports. A patrol of military police on their way to one of the about-to-be-established Joint Security Stations last week provides another case in point.

Leave aside the fact that the soldiers run a gauntlet of IEDs every day just to get there, and the convoy had to stop, gunners nervously scanning the surrounding houses and crossroads, until someone decided that a piece of debris in the road did not hide an IED. It was merely part of the seat of Humvee that had been blown up the day before, killing four soldiers. Once inside the walls of the fortified police station of their students and supposed allies, no American soldier took off a single piece of protective gear. American sentries backed up the Iraqis on the gate and roof. Humvee drivers stayed with their vehicles.

A young sergeant was assigned to accompany myself and cameraman Mark LaGanga wherever we went. When I suggested that it was fine and the sergeant could take a break, he replied quietly; “No sir. I need to be with you. Wouldn’t want to take the risk of you being kidnapped.”

“In a police station?” I asked. “You’re kidding.”

“No sir,” he replied, “I am not.”

Any time Senator McCain wants to walk the streets of Baghdad, unarmed and without a serious security detail, we’d be glad to lend him a camera so he can record his experience.

You are being lied to America. Those who support and press for this war are not being truthful.


Wow, look at the right-wing smear machine already hard at work to smear Michael Ware who told it like it was:

Paddykraska’s diary “The Echo chamber vs. CNN’s Mike Ware” provides an excellent birdseye view of how the wingers go about creating a controversy out of thin air.

This morning, around 7am, I was able to catch Mike Ware’s live response to claims that he heckled Senator McCain during a press conference this weekend. Below the fold is a “Tivo-Transcript” of Ware’s response:

Soledad: Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the Senator’s press conference. Was that true?

Ware: Well, let’s bear in mind that this was a report that was linked by an unnamed official of some kind to a blog, somewhere on the internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven’t heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or has any of his staff come forward to say anything about it.

I did not heckle the Senator, indeed I did not say a word. I didn’t even ask a question. In fact, when I raised my hand to ask a question, the press conference abruptly ended. So what I would suggest is that everyone that has any queries about whether I heckled, watch the video tape of the press conference.

BTW…Drudge’s “developing story” contains to be developing, some 17 hours later.

**UPDATE** I have been trying , in vain, to find a full video of the Press Conference where Drudge claims Ware heckled McCain. I can’t find a thing. The Associated Press does have clips of McCains statements, but not the full presser. I’ve looked on CNN (How about backing up your reporter???),CSpan, and both McCain and Graham’s websites. I’ve also looked at the DOD website, and even Fox news. No one seems to have it posted. If you find a link, please post it here in the comments. In the meantime, I have sent a tip to Media Matters…they might be better at using “The Google” than I.


Yeah, right-wingers are really pouncing on Michael Ware, all because of Matt Drudge who, using anonymous sources, claimed what I quoted above, that he heckled McCain. Well, The Raw Story has the raw video of the news conference in Baghdad. Watch it and see for yourself that Mr. Ware did not heckle McCain.

This is again, a typical tactic of the right-wingers. Smear. The moment someone stands up to their lies and their obfuscations, they smear you. This is not the tactic of people who have high morals, or of good Christians. So to my Mormon audience, I ask you, do you read these blogs? The Powerlines? The Michelle Malkins? The Little Green Footballs? The Matt Drudges?


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  1. Just a quick addition…think about those numbers at the top. The death toll for March is higher than February. In February the Shi’ite death squads were still active. They decided to start laying low at the end of February when the “surge” began. So March’s death toll is without Shi’ite death squads roaming around killing Sunnis at will, and it still is higher than in the previous month.

    Just who has General Petraeus stopped from killing other Iraqis or American soldiers?

  2. Now, now, Daniel: the President said that this was going to take time, that we were going to have to be patient.

    We must stay the course. And above all, we mustn’t let those evil Democrats in Congress engineer a defeat for us in Iraq by way of their anti-soldier timetable legislation.

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