Not to the Bush Assministration.
U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren’t counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.
Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn’t include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
President Bush explained why in a television interview Tuesday. “If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory,” he told TV interviewer Charlie Rose.
Bush administration officials have pointed to a dramatic decline in one category of deaths — the bodies dumped daily in Baghdad streets, which officials call sectarian murders — as evidence that the security plan is working. Bush said this week that that number had declined by 50 percent, a number confirmed by statistics compiled by McClatchy Newspapers.
But the number of people killed in explosive attacks is rising, the same statistics show — up from 323 in March, the first full month of the security plan, to 365 through April 24.
Now here’s a reassuring quote from Chimpy’s savior-general:
“I don’t think you’re ever going to get rid of all the car bombs,” Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said this week. “Iraq is going to have to learn as did, say, Northern Ireland, to live with some degree of sensational attacks.”