A Week with No US Troop Deaths In Iraq

On July 16, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times's Top of the Ticket Blog wrote the following (bold is mine):

When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, (Barack) Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse," a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.

This YouTube video (different from the compare/contrast video at the bottom of the LAT's link) shows Obama reciting the lines just quoted.

The LAT Blog notes earlier in its entry that "The parts (of Obama's web site) that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared."

Something else disappeared this week. Team Obama, for all its posturing, probably saw something like this coming -- which explains their web site scrubbing.

Hopefully this event will repeat itself frequently. You have to get all the way to the end of an apparently weekly routine Associated Press report to see it, but there it is:

As of Friday, July 25, 2008, at least 4,124 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

..... The latest deaths reported by the military:
- No deaths reported.

The latest identifications reported by the military:
- No identification reported.

"Somehow," this doesn't merit coverage in a real AP story.

ICasualties.org shows 11 US troop deaths in Iraq so far this month. Zero would be better, but that figure is on track to be the lowest number in the war/occupation's 5-plus years.

Sectarian violence is also down significantly, directly contradicting the Illinois Senator's predictions last year. Again according to ICasualties.org, "Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths" are at 313 this month, which is on track to be by far the lowest monthly total since the site began tracking these fatalities in January 2006. In the 13 months before the effects of the surge took hold in September 2007, security force and civilian deaths had averaged over 2,100, and in four of those months exceeded 2,900.

ICasualties does not break out security force vs. civilian deaths, but it's reasonable to surmise that the security force percentage of the death tolls in more recent months is higher than it has been in the past.

At some point, it should be worth asking if, in a country of over 29 million people, if a high percentage of reported deaths are not occurring because of sectarian violence, but because of other reasons having nothing to do with the conflict (i.e., domestic violence, business disputes, criminal gangs, etc.).

Regardless, despite Obama's earlier position -- scrubbed from his site but not from the Internet's memory banks -- Slate's John Dickerson tells us that "In ..... (Obama's) interview (this week) with NBC's Brian Williams, he suggested that he'd always said the surge would decrease violence in Iraq." Dickerson calls that "spinning." I think it's obviously something much worse.

You can also read Obama's awkward dodging in his interview Tuesday with CBS's Katie Couric, who is stunned that "given what you know now, you still wouldn't support it," practically begging him to back away from it. He doesn't.

I'm still wondering where the "Judgment to Lead" is in all of this. The fawning media may finally be wondering what sort of mess it has created by propping this guy up for so long.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Foreign Policy Iraq Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Military CBS NBC NBC Nightly News CBS Evening News Wire Services/Media Companies Associated Press Online Media CBS online Slate NBCNews.com

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