Friday, November 24, 2006

Pentagon Had A "Mission Accomplished" Moment On Monday

Via Cunning Realist, here is a press release from the Pentagon on Monday touting a reduction in violence post-Ramadan in Iraq:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2006 – As expected, violence in Iraq has dropped following the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a coalition spokesman said in Baghdad today.

Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said civilian and Iraqi security force casualties were at the lowest levels since the government was formed in May.

So far this month, the civilian casualty count is well below the casualty count in October and below the six-month average. The security force casualties reduced 21 percent over the past four weeks, and are at the lowest level in 25 weeks, he said.

“In Baghdad, there was a 22 percentage drop in casualties related to sectarian violence and executions,” Caldwell said during a televised news conference. “Coalition forces will continue to work closely with the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces to control the sectarian violence and terrorist attacks.”

Now here's the reality in Iraq just four days later per the NY Times:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 24 — As the death toll from a series of devastating car bombs in a Shiite district here rose today to more than 200, a powerful legislative bloc loyal to firebrand Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr threatened to boycott the government if Iraq’s prime minister attends a scheduled meeting with President Bush in Jordan next week.

The legislators met in an office in Sadr City, the neighborhood hit by the explosions on Thursday, and angrily denounced the American military, saying the presence of the foreign forces was galvanizing the violence roiling Iraq. Also today, in the far north, a suicide car bomber and a suicide belt bomber detonated their explosives in crowded areas in the volatile city of Tal Afar, killing at least 20 people and injuring at least 42.

The carnage over the 24-hour period amounted to one of the worst spasms of violence since the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. Though the Iraqi government maintained a tight curfew across the capital today, apparently fearful that events could spiral into full-scale civil war, hundreds of mourners poured into the streets of Sadr City to join processions of minibuses and sedans carrying wooden coffins. Women in black robes beat their chests while men waved pistols from car windows to clear the streets.

Yup - another Mission Accomplished moment brought to you by the same people who brought you that oldie by goodie flight suit moment back in May 2003 on the aircraft carrier.

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