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June 10, 2008

A Surge in Media Optimism on Iraq?

This from McClatchy, which often seems to be competing with Reuters for most anti-war rag.

Gotta love how it's headlined (at least on Yahoo), though:

Lull in Violence Prompts Questions of US Departure

Heh. So increased violence prompts questions of US surrender, and decreased violence prompts questions of US surrender.

Ah well. It's McClatchy. (And maybe Yahoo headlining it.) But the article is still upbeat:

After weeks of relative calm, two questions are being asked in war-torn Iraq and in the United States :

Will it last? And when can American forces start coming home?

Real peace, of course, has hardly broken out, and the improved security environment may be fleeting. But recent substantial gains by the Iraqi army, flagging insurgent violence and civilians reclaiming a sense of confidence have produced expectations that are higher than at any time since 2003.

It's increasingly reasonable to assume that Iraq's security environment will continue to improve— slowly, maybe at the margins and with the chance that things could go south fast.


Emotions here about the recent calm range from frustration to resignation to hope.

That hope appears at all encourages the government and its American sponsors. There's no denying the recent military gains. Insurgents still attack, but not as often and not as lethally. Iraqi forces are bigger and more aggressive. One senior U.S. administration official in Baghdad , speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk for publication, was moved this week to insist that Iraq's recent safety record "ain't a lull. It's a crisp decline now 17 months in duration."


Even if recent events don't portend a permanent change, nearly all the numbers the past few weeks suggest that Iraq's center finally may be holding. Of most interest to Americans is the figure 19: the number of U.S. troops who died here in May. It's a still-grim but welcome low point since the war began in March 2003 . Through the first five months of the year, 179 American troops died, well below the 475 killed during the same period a year ago.

Iraqi casualty figures also have leveled off. Iraqi government figures put the total number of violent deaths for the first five months at this year at 7,854, up slightly from 7,829 in the same period last year. However, officials point out that major operations in the southern city of Basra in March and April swelled the total.

From May 15 to June 3 last year, 316 incidents marred stability in Baghdad . This year there were 68.

Evidence of near normalcy is widespread.


Several developments account for the relative tranquillity....

The article definitely dwells on doubts and the fragility of the situation, but at least they're actually reporting the facts.

I suppose this may be McClatchy's dour attempt to insulate itself from the WaPo's criticism that the MSM is not reporting on the success in Iraq. And certainly they're both behind the curve and parsimonious with praise. But they have at least written one article on it.

We'll see if this is their sole acknowledgment on the surge's success.

BTW: Sorry, I got caught up in the argument running in Slublog's post below. I'll ignore that argument now in favor of putting stuff up.

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:32 PM

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