Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Getting Better All The Time

AP (09.04.07):
"On Aug. 18, President Bush hailed what he called 'political gains' made in various Iraqi villages. He was particularly encouraged by progress achieved in the western Sunni-dominated province of al-Anbar."

Accolades for Anbar

Credit where credit's due. Anderson Cooper interviews Michael Ware. CNN (09.03.07), via Balloon Juice:

"COOPER: The president flew to Al Anbar Province. We've talked about it a lot. He touted the security progress that has been made there. Undeniable, things are getting better. What is working in Al Anbar and how and really, frankly, can it translate into the rest of Iraq?

WARE: Well, certainly, one of the president's war counsel -- I believe it was Secretary Gates himself -- said that really the success of Al Anbar Province predates the surge."

360 with Anderson Cooper

"It's really an Iraqi initiative. And what that is is that the Sunni Baathist insurgency turned on al Qaeda and it offered America the same terms of negotiation that it first offered four years ago in 2003 in that it was willing to work with America, but not with the Iraqi government."

"And America, after four years of bloodshed, was finally ready to accept those terms. So it's the Sunni insurgency that has turned Al Anbar around and made it safe."

"And having just returned from that province ourselves, having been with those insurgents, we watched with our own eyes as the insurgents go in one door of a training camp and emerge as the so-called Iraqi police. So they're keeping those streets safe...."

And about those claims that the surge is working because American combat deaths have declined? Kevin Drum has some numbers for us to consider. Washington Monthly (09.04.07):

"Bottom line: you should be skeptical of any claims about reductions in violence unless they take seasonality into account. So far, though, I haven't seen any credible claims of reduced violence that even mention seasonality, let alone adjust for it.

That should tell you something."

Everything In Its Season



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