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Hooray, shouted the Bushites – our new “surge” strategy in Iraq is a success! The death toll for U.S. troops was down in the month of July, proving that sectarian violence is being contained by our war policies. We’re winning!
Ah… the games they play.
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Yes, American troop deaths in July were the lowest of this year, but before you join the Bushites’ victory parade, let’s note that this still means that 73 of our service members died in Bush’s war in July, bringing the total to 3,644. Those aren’t statistics, they’re people. They’re families. And if you want to play the numbers game, note that the month’s 73 deaths represent the most deadly July since the war began – about 50 percent more than in previous Julys.
And while they’re celebrating the latest American body count, let’s also note that Iraqi civilians are dying in record numbers. In fact, July recorded the second highest number of civilian deaths this year. That’s hardly a sign that sectarian violence is being “contained.” Indeed, on the very day that Bush operatives were hailing the “success” of his surge, car bombs ripped through Baghdad and other cities, killing another 142 civilians.
Meanwhile, Admiral Michael Mullen, Bush’s choice to head the Pentagon’s joint chiefs of staff, conceded to congress at the end of July that body counts don’t matter in the long run, for the war can’t be won militarily. Instead, he says, victory can come only through the political healing of deep sectarian antagonisms. And those wounds are growing worse by the day.
It’s an outrage that Bush & company are playing a numbers game to try to cover up their disastrous policy failure in Iraq. Worse, it’s morally abominable that they are playing the numbers game with the lives of other people’s families – avoiding any sacrifice by their own.
“Iraq Snapshots Give 2 Views,” The New York Times, August 2, 2007
“Troop deaths down in July,” AM New York, August 1, 2007
“Sunni Cabinet ministers quit as new attacks rock Baghdad,” USA Today, August 2, 2007