Saturday, September 1, 2007

September Reports

September is here, and this month we'll get to hear the White House report on "progress" in Iraq. We've already seen the NIE report, which the White House edited, that was more negative than positive. The leaked GAO report basically said Iraq is failing.
But our shrub is banking on the "Petreaus" report. So here are a few facts to remember in advance of the coming lies.
Troop deaths:

Graphic via Kevin Drum of

Then we have the civilian casualty numbers. While Petreaus claimed that "sectarian" deaths are down, the overall deaths are up.

At least 1,809 civilians were killed, compared to 1,760 in July, based on figures compiled from official Iraqi reports.

American officials have maintained that violence is declining in Iraq in the run-up to a series of reports to Congress this month that will decide the course of the U.S. military presence here.

The top U.S. commander, Gen. David Petraeus, told The Australian newspaper in an interview published Friday that the troop increase has sharply reduced sectarian killings in Baghdad, in particular. Petraeus is expected to make the same point when he reports to Congress in about two weeks.;_ylt=ArwokMuV_C1X48cCtOPCbG0UewgF

Then there is the refugee crises. These numbers are truly astounding:

"The humanitarian situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate with the number of displaced Iraqis, both inside and outside the country, rising. Now, an estimated 4.2 million Iraqis are have been uprooted from their homes, with the monthly rate of displacement climbing to over 60,000 people compared to 50,000 previously, according to UNHCR and the Iraqi Red Crescent. Displacement is rising as Iraqis are finding it harder to get access to social services inside Iraq and many Iraqis are choosing to leave ethnically mixed areas before they are forced to do so. Some Iraqis who stayed in the country until the end of the school year recently started leaving the country with their families.

More than 2 million Iraqis are displaced inside Iraq, with over 1 million displaced since the February 2006 Samarra bombings. While most of the security incidents happen in the centre and south of the country, the displaced are not confined to these regions. In the north, there are more than 780,000 displaced Iraqis, over 650,000 in the centre of the country, and 790,000 in the south. Many are barely surviving in makeshift camps, inaccessible to aid workers for security reasons."

United Nations High Commission on Refugees

That is almost one in six displaced. There is no way to make this sound good. As we are responsible for creating so many refugees, what are we doing about it?

Not much. Less than Denmark.
It is clear to me that we must end this senseless occupation. Period. The longer we stay, the worse it gets. Anyone who claims that we need to give the "surge" more time is ignoring the facts.
Will Iraq get worse when we leave? Possibly, although there is an equal chance that our leaving would force some reconciliation. We aren't preventing a bloodbath with our current plan, merely prolonging one. Only the people of Iraq can decide what will happen when we leave. And we will leave. We can't stay forever.
It's time to go.

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