Friday, September 08, 2006

Iraq deaths multiply in new August count - Yahoo! News

Remember that security crackdown in Baghdad that was supposed to fix things? Yeah, well...

This shit, along with the attack on the media for not reporting "good news," and those that go so far as to suggest that the media's reporting of events consitutes a fifth column, and the numerous other authoritarian rantings of those who once constituted the "extreme right" and the goddamn President and his administration, makes me feel disturbed about what's gone wrong to allow us to get to this point. I truly cannot understand Bush supporters, nor do I want to try to anymore.

Iraq deaths multiply in new August count

By RAWYA RAGEH, Associated Press Writer Thu Sep 7, 1:20 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Updated figures from
Iraq's Health Ministry show there was no significant decline in violent deaths in Baghdad last month, but the U.S. military insisted Thursday the murder rate in the capital had fallen by 52 percent.

Baghdad recorded more than 1,500 violent deaths in August, according to final figures released this week by the Health Ministry. The final count was roughly the same as the figure the ministry released for July, before the U.S.-led security crackdown began in the Baghdad area.

The final figure also was nearly three times the preliminary count released by the same ministry last week.

If accurate, the final figures cast doubt on U.S. and Iraqi claims of a significant reduction in the level of violence here since the crackdown was launched Aug. 7.

Asked about the latest Iraqi figures Thursday, U.S. spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson refused to provide an explanation, merely referring The Associated Press to a statement on a U.S. military Web site that said the murder rate in Baghdad dropped 52 percent from the daily rate for July.

"The violence Baghdad endured in July receded during the month of August," the statement added. "Attacks in Baghdad were well below the monthly average for July."

Deputy Health Minister Hakem al-Zamly this week put the August violent death count for Baghdad at 1,536, based on figures from the city morgue.

However, preliminary Health Ministry figures released last week showed violent deaths in August in Baghdad at just 550, according to Dr. Riad Abdul Amir of the ministry's statistics bureau.

Iraqi officials could provide no explanation for the difference between the preliminary and final August figures, but it could have resulted in part from a late August surge in deaths. More than 250 people were killed in Baghdad in the final week of the month.

Efforts by the AP to contact Amir on Thursday for an explanation were unsuccessful.

Accurate figures on the number of people who have died since the Iraq conflict began in March 2003 have long been difficult to obtain. The Health Ministry relies on reports from government hospitals and morgues.

Poor phone lines and shortages of trained staff and computers can delay entering death reports into databases, which means the preliminary count may have lagged sharply.

But accurate figures are important because Iraqi and U.S. officials — anxious to demonstrate progress as support for the war declines in the U.S. — have used them to claim success in curbing violence in Baghdad.

Last month, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said the murder rate in Baghdad fell by 46 percent from July to August.

Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie insisted last week that execution-style killings and sectarian violence had dropped by 45 percent in the last six weeks.

Posted by crimnos @ 10:39 AM