This is becoming very tiresome to correct Reid's incompetent statements about Iraq. For crying out loud ... the guy has gone on TV to talk about Iraq, and was unable to accurately tell everyone how long we've been there. If you don't even know how long we've been fighting ... maybe you should excuse yourself from the discussion.
Anyway, the Pentagon released its report titled "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq." The news, anti-war crowd, and the Democrats have blatantly misled you all on what the report says.
Top US congressional Democrats bluntly told President George W. Bush Wednesday that his Iraq troop "surge" policy was a failure.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged the president over Iraq by sending him a letter, ahead of a White House meeting later on Wednesday.
"As many had forseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results," the two leaders wrote.
"The increase in US forces has had little impact in curbing the violence or fostering political reconciliation.
Not so, but we'll get into the report in a bit.
The most notable quote from Reid's letter to the President is as follows:
"In fact, the last two months of the war were the deadliest to date for US troops."
This merits investigation because of what the troops have been saying about Baghdad recently.
So I waltzed over to icasualties.org. That's a site that tracks the coalition casualties in Iraq. As it turns out (no big surprise) Reid is wrong. May of 2007 was the third deadliest month for US troops in Iraq, and April of 2007 was the seventh. Here's the rundown of the top 7 deadliest months:
- Nov. 2004
- Apr. 2004
- May 2007
- Dec. 2006
- Jan. 2005
- Oct 2006
- Apr. 2007
As you can see ... the last two months have not been the deadliest. What Reid is doing is adding the two months together, and saying that there has never been a more deadly two month period. This is spin, and dishonest. To take two months and add them together is just a way to manipulate the numbers to play political football with our fallen. There have been three month periods that have been deadlier, but Reid won't bring that up.
It is also worth mentioning that the average daily number of US troop deaths last month was about 4 per day. This month that average so far is 2.6 per day ... A marked improvement that reflects the typical trends of insurgent offensives not lasting more than two months with intensity.
Gen. Petraeus immediately challenged Reid on his statements ... though not directly.
When Gen. David Petraeus drives through the streets of Iraq's capital, he sees "astonishing signs of normalcy" in half, perhaps two-thirds of Baghdad.
"I'm talking about professional soccer leagues with real grass field stadiums, several amusement parks — big ones, markets that are very vibrant," says Petraeus, commander of the roughly 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The scenes provide a sign that the new strategy in Iraq is working, although many problems remain, he told USA TODAY in an interview Wednesday.
Much of what Gen. Petraeus said in that interview is presented clear as day in the report the Pentagon just released.
Of course, Reid decided to take the usual low road and verbally insult both Gen. Pace and Petraeus in an interview with liberal bloggers. Those comments were not reported by those given the interview.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "incompetent" during an interview Tuesday with a group of liberal bloggers, a comment that was never reported.
Reid made similar disparaging remarks about Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said several sources familiar with the interview.
Reid is ok with misquoting Gen. Petraeus when it suits him, but then turns around and refuses to accept good news from the General while verbally attacking him.
So what is in the Pentagon's report about Iraq? Let's start with the link to the report so you can follow along with me. You can get the report from the DOD's website. As a side note ... I'd like to remind you that I get news feeds from the DOD updated several times a day on this site.
In Section 1—Stability and Security there are several of analysis about Iraq that are promising, and disheartening. They discuss the progress made in several areas, that progress is not ideal, most Iraqis want the nation to remain intact, and the influence of Iran and Syria in violence. The section is pretty boring, and is used mostly to outline the Iraqi government.
1.2 Economic Activity starts off with a promising sentence.
Several positive economic developments emerged during this reporting period, most notably the launch of the International Compact with Iraq, continued progress on reducing inflation, and a favorable IMF Standby Arrangement review.
The report also notes that Iraq's economy is expected to grow by 10%, and 7% outside of the oil sector. That's pretty positive growth for a country supposedly in a civil war.
The most intriguing part of the report is the section - 1.3 Security Environment. A section completely ignored by the media and Reid. Take a look at the following graph from the Pentagon's report about sectarian violence.
It could be my eyes playing tricks on me, but it looks like sectarian violence has improved since the beginning of the year. Why no props Reid?
You'll also notice the increase in weapons caches found. For those of you who don't know what that means ... it's progress.
The report also showed that the national hotline tips have drastically increased. This means that more Iraqis are helping the coalition track down the enemy.
The section concludes with confirming that Baghdad has experienced reduced violence because of the surge, and Anbar continues to have significant progress. It breaks down each region of Iraq in terms of the violence, and makes it clear that there has been an increase in violence in some relatively peaceful regions. Though nothing excessively concerning, and no where near the levels of Baghdad.
Section 1.4 Transferring Security Responsibility reports on the progress of turning the country over to Iraqi forces, and this is going very well. About a third of the country is under Iraqi control ... while most of the rest is partially ready for the transition to Iraqi forces. Only Anbar province is not ready for the Iraqis to take over.
The graphic below shows the areas of Iraq where the Iraqis are in the lead over American forces.
The Iraqi police have been getting glowing reviews in the past year from US forces, and the graphic below reflects the vast improvement in force size.
This graphic shows the Iraqi military, and how it has increasingly taken the lead in battle.
Not all of the report is glowing in its assessment of Iraq, but it shows significant improvement ... especially as a result of the surge so far. Reid and his cohorts chose to not mention any of that. Which is odd given that he's been clamoring for benchmarks to show marked improvement, and Iraqis taking the lead in the conflict. All of that was shown in the Pentagon's report only to be ignored by Reid. Not to mention that in spite of the progress that has been made ... Reid chose to verbally attack the generals who are responsible for that progress.
I would like to throw a couple of things out there. With Iraqi forces increasingly taking the lead in Iraq, the surge effort, the insurgent offensive launched last September, and Iran's increasing interference ... you will have more enemy contacts which will result in more casualties for the time being. The insurgents are now having to leave Baghdad because of surge efforts, and the population turning against them. That's why we are seeing an increase in activity outside of Baghdad now where we haven't before.
We also must acknowledge that the Iraqi forces are not as good as ours, and there will be collateral damage because of that. The insurgents may be more likely to come out into the open to confront Iraqis while US forces are playing wingman.