Shhhh Yourself, Pal

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Patrick Ruffini filed a column on Saturday boasting that the surge is “working,” but that damned liberal media just doesn’t want you to know about it.

Early indications are that the troop surge into Baghdad is working. It hasn’t been reported on widely, but murders in Baghdad are down 70%, attacks are down 80%, Mahdi Army chief Moqtada al-Sadr has reportedly made off for Iran, and many Baghdadis who had fled the violence now feel it’s safe enough to return. The strategy that Congress is busy denouncing is proving to be our best hope for victory.


When things don’t go well in Iraq, we see the endless B-roll of chaos and carnage. When things are on the upswing, we tend to hear more about Anna Nicole Smith. The media will never acknowledge victories in Iraq, so we’ll have to settle for an absence of bad coverage. But even in this relative lull in Iraq, it’s important to understand and appreciate the short-term victories so we can create more of them. And finish the job.

This is silly. Murders in Baghdad are “down 70 percent?” Since when? And compared to what? Since the two-week-old surge? How is that a remotely reliable statistic?

I also find it strange that the pro-war crowd expects the media to report as a “success” every five-day stretch where there’s a lull in attacks. No attacks in the last seven hours? Well, hell, the surge must be working.

Meanwhile, in the (at most) 24 hours since Ruffini filed his column…

A suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed 40 people in a Baghdad college on Sunday, a day after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki expressed optimism about a security crackdown in the capital.

Guards stopped the bomber in the reception lobby of the Baghdad Economy and Administration College but the man managed to blow himself up, police said.

Police put the death toll at 40, with 35 people wounded. Most of the victims were students, witnesses said.


The U.S. military says eight Iraqi police officers were killed Saturday in an insurgent attack on a checkpoint near Baghdad’s airport.

In a statement, the military said at least two insurgents were killed in the ensuing gunbattle.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, an Iraqi official says a suicide car bomber Saturday attacked a checkpoint near the house of a powerful Shi’ite leader, killing one guard and wounding several others.


Two rockets hit a Shi’ite enclave in southern Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 10 people and injuring eight, police said.

The Katyusha rockets slammed into the Abu Dishir district, which is surrounded by a predominantly Sunni neighborhood.

Earlier, an explosion near the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad killed at least two people and injured eight.


A truck bomb that killed 52 people near a Sunni mosque in western Iraq shows al Qaeda is stepping up a battle with Sunni tribes for control of Anbar province, tribal leaders and the U.S. military said on Sunday.

The escalating power struggle within the Sunni community in one of the country’s most dangerous regions comes as U.S. and Iraqi troops concentrate efforts in Baghdad to stem violence between Shi’ites and Sunnis that is pushing Iraq to civil war.

It also occurs ahead of a planned reinforcement in Anbar by U.S. troops, who could find themselves in the middle of a deadly rivalry among Sunni factions.

I wish I could say that it’s merely amusing to watch politicians and war supporters play with other people’s lives to save themselves the embarrassment of having wasted so many lives already. “If only we send a few thousand more other peoples’ kids into harm’s way, this whole “remap the Middle East” plan will finally start to materialize. Then you’ll see. We were right all along.”

Alas. It’s not amusing. It’s horrible. And infuriating. And sad.

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