Reporters Flee Iraq As Casualties Plummet

July 23rd, 2008 4:52 PM

The number of embedded reporters in Iraq has plummeted 74 percent over the past nine months, from 219 in September 2007 to a low of 58 in June, as U.S. troop casualties have plunged, according to Department Of Defense data analysis by Staff Writer Kevin Mooney. U.S. casualties were down 84 percent in May and 75 percent in June from year-ago numbers, for example.

The number of embedded reporters peaked in September 2007, the month Gen. David Petraeus testified in Congress that the surge strategy was working and that violence was decreasing in the country. Immediately following Gen. Petraeus' testimony came the largest single-month drop off in embedded reporters in October -- from 219 to 78.

At the time, Petraeus's testimony was met with derision by some prominent Democratic members of Congress. "The reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief," Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y), then a presidential candidate told him. "In any of the metrics that have been referenced in your many hours of testimony, any fair reading of the advantages and disadvantages accruing post-surge, in my view, end up on the downside."

"I ask you to take off your rosy glasses," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told Petraeus.  "We are sending our troops where they're not wanted, where there's no end in sight."