Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Press Games

The Associated Press declares the surge "a success" because violence in Baghdad is down this week. Juan Cole refutes:

The US press is so busy looking for signs of improvement that they have already forgotten about the slaughter of hundreds of Shiite pilgrims just last week, and are interpreting the relative calm of Sunday and Monday as some sort of turning point. Unlikely.

In fact on Wednesday it was reported that police had found 17 bodies in the streets of Baghdad. A judge was assassinated in broad daylight. Guerrillas fired katyushas at the posh Karrada district. Militiamen shot 4 men at a Sunni mosque in the southern Risala district. In the northern city of Mosul, police found 4 bodies. There were scattered bombings and assassinations elsewhere in the country.

The violence in Iraq has ebbed and flowed since the start of the occupation. Just because we're currently in an "ebb period" doesn't mean the violence in Iraq is over. Not by a long shot. The levels of violence after an ebb period have often grown from the levels before the ebb period. And as Professor Cole notes, wasn't it just last week that hundreds of Shiite pilgrims were slaughtered by Sunni insurgents?

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