Monday, September 10, 2007

Petraeus, Iraq casualties, and conservative minds

Berkeley Breathed may have posted his best 'Opus' cartoon since the beginning of Bloom County: whatever you do don't miss "Petreaus", on Salon (or in your local Sunday paper).

From Washington Monthly, The Myth of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Analysis shows the group is much less influential than we have heard:
After a strike, the military rushes to point the finger at al-Qaeda, even when the actual evidence remains hazy and an alternative explanation—raw hatred between local Sunnis and Shiites—might fit the circumstances just as well. The press blasts such dubious conclusions back to American citizens and policy makers in Washington, and the incidents get tallied and quantified in official reports, cited by the military in briefings in Baghdad. The White House then takes the reports and crafts sound bites depicting AQI as the number one threat to peace and stability in Iraq.
In truth, reports Andrew Tilghman,
AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq," according to Nance, "is a microscopic terrorist organization."

Meanwhile, TPM Muckraker reports on how well the surge is serving the people of Iraq: Iraq Civilian Casualties: 2007 Outpaces 2006.
Even as today's testimony from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker is considered a possible make-or-break moment for U.S. policy on Iraq, with the Bush Administration and the Pentagon touting the success of the surge in reducing civilian casualties, there is no general agreement on what civilian casualties have been or on what the most accurate methodology for tallying casualties is.
TPM' figures were gleaned from reports from Iraq Body Count and the AP.

The Village Voice reports on how the Times covered another big story which is just coming out, who was responsible for dismantling the Iraqi military: Paper Trails in Iraq.

Right wing bloggers are livid over an ad bought by Move On, in the New York Times: Petraeus 'Betray Us' ad is group's 'shock and awe' (from Tribune's The Swamp blog). Note the Swamp's report mentions a NYT/CBS poll that shows "most Americans have more faith in the military to bring the Iraq War to a successful conclusion than they have in civilian leadership"; Talk Left disputes that conclusion.

Finally, why do conservatives and liberals think so differently? The Los Angeles Times reports on a study that suggests our brains work differently:
Based on the results...liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.



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