It is all going well
Deaths Drop in Iraqi Capital
Even as the nation's toll climbs by at least 80, including 6 U.S. soldiers, officials credit a military sweep for Baghdad's lower tally this month.
By Solomon Moore, Times Staff Writer
August 28, 2006
How desperate was the US to sweep Baghdad?
BAGHDAD — An ambitious military sweep appears to be dramatically reducing Baghdad's homicide rate, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday — even as violence nationwide killed at least 80 people, including six U.S. soldiers in and around the capital.
Last month, the Baghdad morgue received more than 1,800 bodies, a record high. This month, the morgue is on track to receive less than a quarter of that.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki seized on the drop in slayings during a CNN interview.
"The violence is not increasing…. No, we're not in a civil war," Maliki said. "In Iraq, we'll never be in civil war. What you see is an atmosphere of reconciliation."
Although the smaller monthly tally offers encouragement to U.S. and Iraqi officials, it remains a triple-digit reminder that sectarian violence and insurgent activity continue to roil the country.
"It is not possible to create a democracy at the barrel of a gun…. We cannot even work freely as politicians," said Saleh Mutlak, a Sunni Arab member of parliament. "It is not possible for us to even hold meetings. We cannot travel between one province and another."
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of military forces in Baghdad, attributed the capital's declining violence to a sweep involving 8,000 U.S. soldiers and 3,000 Iraqi troops aimed at stopping sectarian violence.
The troops, many redeployed from hot spots around Iraq, have patrolled the capital, searched houses and made arrests since Aug. 7. Similar sweeps in Baghdad and elsewhere since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 have reduced violence. But the bloodshed would increase when U.S. forces moved on.
Though the U.S. military has not issued a timetable for ending the sweep, officials say that patrolling Baghdad indefinitely would create dependency among Iraq's nascent security forces and tax U.S. resources and manpower.
The U.S. military, with 138,000 troops, is stretched thin in Iraq; many units are on their third deployments. Last week, the Pentagon announced an involuntary recall of as many as 2,500 Marines reservists. The Army has issued recall orders to 10,000 soldiers.
U.S. military leaders say they hope Iraqi police units, paired with American training teams, will be able to maintain security once the troops leave.
Three hundred soldiers already home from Iraq were sent back. From Alaska.
Oh yeah, 6 Americans died yesterday in fighting which killed 60 people.
posted by Steve @ 8:01:00 AM