Just when you thought Michael O’Hanlon’s supply of chapstick had run dry, he puckers up again and gets busy pressing his lips to Bush’s backside. Compare the boy’s analysis with the actual data that is on display in Tuesday’s New York Times. O’Hanlon writes:
Nonetheless, the military momentum appears real, despite the tragic multiple truck bombings in Ninevah Province on Aug. 14 that made that month the deadliest since winter. Overall, civilian fatality rates are down perhaps one third since late 2006, though they remain quite high. There are also signs that roughly six of Iraq’s 18 provinces are making significant economic and security gains, up from three a year ago. The story in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province is by now well known: attacks in the city of Ramadi are down 90 percent, and the economy is recovering. But there is progress in several regions with more complex sectarian mixes as well.But take a look at the actual data (click thumbnail to enlarge):
But even the Brookings Institute’s own facts tell a different story.
1. While more US troops are in Iraq the number among the “coalition of the willing” is shrinking.
2. The number of deaths of US troops remains at an all time high.
3. While more Iraqi troops are supposedly available their casualties have declined. That means they are not bearing the burden of fighting. We are.
4. Daily insurgent attacks are down from a year ago but remain higher than in any of the previous years.
5. Number of prisoners held by the United States have skyrocketed. Are we going to keep them in jail forever? Without due process? Don’t think so. And guess what happens when they are eventually released back into society? Building on relationships forged in the “joint” they will be back on the warpath.
6. O’Hanlon and company try to insist fewer Iraqis are being displaced by the violence. As I pointed out earlier, the success of ethnic cleansing (documented by Newsweek) means there are fewer Iraqis alive to move on or flee conflicted neighborhoods. Here again, recent reporting by the L.A. Times and Newsweek explode O’Hanlon’s wishful thinking..
The fact that this so-called expert is allowed to spew his nonsense on television unchallenged is further testimony that many in the media prefer fantasy to fact. Nothing like mixing spin with a dollop of wonkism. O’Hanlon is welcome to his own bizarre analysis but an alternative voice should be heard. We’ll keep punching and hope to break through to a few.
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