Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Great Moments in Juxtaposition

On, the following story: (Warning: This page may change, link is good as of 6:00 pm ET July 26):

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military on Thursday reported eight recent troop deaths in Iraq.

A U.S. soldier from Multi-National Division-Baghdad was killed Wednesday "during a small-arms fire engagement" in southern Baghdad, the military said.

Three Marines and one sailor assigned to Multi National Force-West died Tuesday during combat in Diyala province.

Also, a soldier in the Diyala capital of Baquba died Tuesday of wounds from a roadside bomb. Diyala province is the sprawling territory northeast of Baghdad on the border with Iran.

A soldier was killed Tuesday in Baghdad when a roadside bomb detonated during clearing operations, the military said.

And a Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Sunday "in a noncombat related incident" in Anbar province, it said.

The U.S. military death toll since the war began in 2003 stands at 3638; seven civilian employees of the Defense Department have also been killed.

In other violence, at least 26 people were killed and at least 75 were wounded Thursday when a car bomb detonated in the main street of central Baghdad's Karrada district, Iraq's Interior Ministry said. At least one building and several cars were burning after the blast in the predominantly Shiite district, Reuters news agency reported. A Reuters cameraman said people were carrying bodies from the scene of the explosion and putting wounded people in vans headed to hospitals. Short bursts of gunfire could be heard soon after the blast, Reuters reported.

A suicide bomber in northern Iraq killed six people, including five police officers. The bomber detonated an explosives belt at a checkpoint in Tal Abta, about 55 miles west of Mosul, police said. Thirteen people, including 10 police officers, were were wounded.

Also Thursday, police found 20 bodies dumped across the capital, the Interior Ministry said. The slain bodies are thought to be the result of Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence. The number of such deaths this month stands at 524.

On the same page, the following headline:

General: Death toll down as U.S., Iraq forces take control.

War is Peace. Slavery is Freedom. Ignorance is Strength.

Update: Juan Cole commented on this (after I did):

We had just learned from Reuters last week that the number of guerrilla attacks in Iraq in June reached an all-time high, suggesting that the surge isn't actually going very well. CNN appears to have been one of the few news organizations, then, to pay much attention to Gen. Odierno's allegation that the surge is obviously working because US combat deaths have fallen so far in July. I know it is the general's job to spin things this way, but it is my job to call a spade a spade. In fact the secular trend of US combat deaths for April, May and June was significantly up:

' The previous three months were the deadliest three-month stretch in the war, with 104 deaths in April, 126 in May and 101 in June. '

This is up from 81 in February and March. So the quarterly average is still higher than in winter. Three weeks tells you nothing. (It is 130 degrees in Baghdad; what guerrilla in his right mind rolls out a big offensive in July or August?) Second, what kind of improvement is that, where over-all attacks rise but fewer US combat troops are affected by them? That sounds like US troops are having less contact with the enemy, which is hitting out more frequently than ever before at Iraqi security and civilian targets. That outcome does not point to "success" for the "surge"!

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