Wednesday, August 16, 2006
July appears to have been the deadliest month of the war for Iraqi civilians, according to figures from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue, reinforcing criticism that the Baghdad security plan started in June by the new Iraqi government has failed.
An average of more than 110 Iraqis were killed each day in July, according to the figures. The total number of civilian deaths that month, 3,438, is a 9 percent increase over the tally in June and nearly double the toll in January.
Hey, but look on the bright side, the numbers cited above are likely inaccurate:
United Nations officials and military analysts say the morgue and ministry numbers almost certainly reflect severe undercounts, caused by the haphazard nature of information in a war zone.
Many casualties in areas outside Baghdad probably never appear in the official count, said Anthony H. Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research group in Washington. That helps explain why fatalities in Baghdad appear to account for such a large percentage of the total number, he said in a recent report.
Ugh. Nonetheless, the Bush administration has the situation pretty well under control. Ever-attuned to the exigencies of a given crisis, Bush has unveiled a new plan to apply a torniquette to the bleeding, and a policy guaranteed to lead to victory! Actually, not really a policy per se (policy is for the effete), it's just a slogan: Adapt To Win. That ought to do it.
While various military operations have at times improved security in parts of the country, the bloodshed has mounted with each U.S.-declared step of progress, according to figures that the Brookings Institution research center compiled from news and government reports.
When L. Paul Bremer, then the top U.S. representative in Iraq, appointed an Iraqi Governing Council in July 2003, insurgent attacks averaged 16 daily. When Saddam Hussein was captured that December, the average was 19. When Bremer signed the hand-over of sovereignty in June 2004, it was 45 attacks daily. When Iraq held its elections for a transitional government in January 2005, it was 61. When Iraqis voted last December for a permanent government, it was 75. When U.S. forces killed terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi in June, it was up to 90.