Saturday, September 29, 2007

Petareus changes the truth again!

nice piece in the LAtimes:

"Certainly Al Qaeda has had its Ramadan surge," Petraeus said in his first comments to reporters since he returned from Washington to give lawmakers a status report on the war in Iraq. But he said the level of attacks was "substantially lower" than during the same period last year.
a comparison to the last month would make the current situation look bad. a comparison to last december (the most favourite months for comparisons lately) does obviousely make little sense.

so he start comparing to last year. this would have looked bad in every month till now. bizarre.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

blackwater again.

it looks like blackwater will stay in business, even though the iraqis claim to have video proof of unprovocted firing.

"If we expel this company immediately there will be a security vacuum that will demand pulling some troops off the battlefield," Tahseen Sheikhly, a civilian spokesman for the seven-month-old offensive against militants in Baghdad and surrounding areas. "This will create a security imbalance in securing Baghdad."
the explanation given, of course is a lie again, and a bad one.

how can the departure of 1000 men leave a security vacuum, in Iraq, which as we ve been told has trained 100000 of soldiers up to a lvel, that allows them to be "in the lead"?!?

Thursday, September 20, 2007


two lines from USAToday, that tell it all:

Al-Maliki said the shootings had generated such "widespread anger and hatred" that it would be "in everyone's interest if the embassy used another company while the company is suspended."

Maliki surely is the leader of a sovereign country.

dear blackwater, please shot only little, while you are prohibited to shoot...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

General Petreus betrayed us!

it is official now. the quaterly pentagon report on Iraq contradicts the petreus numbers.

Ilan Goldenberg did the numbers:

According to the MNC-I data there has been no improvement since either December (The numbers Petraeus and the Administration often cite) or February (when the surge actually began). Why wasn’t Congress shown these numbers in the presentation by General Petraeus? Why only the good news numbers? Why the lack of clarity on Petraeus’s sourcing? Especially since he himself acknowledged that the best numbers come from the MNC-I database.

In terms of actual anomalies

Anomaly A: Somehow in December, the month that is always cited by the Pentagon and the Administration, Petraeus’s Iraqi dead is actually greater than the MNC-I Iraqi Dead + Wounded. That makes absolutely no sense. You can’t have more dead than dead and wounded combined.

Anomaly B: In the months after the surge begins Petraeus’s Iraqi dead numbers are significantly lower than the dead + wounded numbers in the Pentagon report. This is inconsistent with the entire history of the previous year, where the numbers track closely. The only explanation would be a dramatic increase in the wounded to dead ratio. Perhaps there were more car bombings that injured people but didn’t kill them, as opposed to close range executions where victims do not survive. Or maybe there is another explanation. Still it seems inconsistent to see this major split just as the surge begins..

Petraeus had the numbers right, if you accept the facts that we had -600 wounded in Iraq in dezember.

now tell me, how will you call it,
if somebody uses "special numbers" for a presentation, that contradict the "real" or usual numbers?!? BETRAYEL seems to be the fitting word to use.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Iraqi army assessment

via Juan Cole, an interesting link to the Boston Globe:

The number of Iraqi Army and police battalions considered ready to conduct combat operations without help from the United States has declined from 15 at the beginning of the year to 12 this month, according to data that Petraeus provided to Congress last week.

Though the general was on Capitol Hill as part of two days of intense, high-profile hearings on the progress of the war, the readiness of Iraqi troops received scant attention from Petraeus or lawmakers.

At the same time, Pentagon assessments show that the number of Iraqi battalions considered "not ready" increased from 13 in November 2006 to 43 this past summer.

together with the advice to disband the iraqi national police and many hints from the GAO report, that iarqi units did not show up in baghdad at full strength as claimed before, we get a good assessment of the iarqi army: HORRIBLE.

yes, law makers missed this. sigh.

Monday, September 10, 2007

the Petraeus report

you can get the report here.

most obvious problems: displacement and refugees are only mentioned in the context of a US withdrawal. looks like it doesn t exist at this moment.

and his slides there.

everything is wrong with those slides. but just check slide two, showing what countries foreign fighters come from. not from saudi arabia, it seems.
yet the majority of capture foreigners is saudi. weird, eh? (cudos to some comment on TPM)

TPM has some nice video about the slides here.

Petraeus' information appears to measure attacks week by week. He didn't give comparisons to overall attacks in 2006, but opted instead to measure from discrete points in 2006: December for measures of overall violence; June 2006 for IED violence; October 2006 for attacks in Anbar province.
"look, if we start at the highest point, there is a DOWNWARD trend. fascinating!"

and (via Juan Cole) some REAL numbers from Iraq.

main media reaction? "general predicts troop reduction next year"

nice. exactly, when the troop level cannot be supported anylonger anyway. pretty convenient!

and here is a link to the Crocker Testimony.

well, he at least mentions displacements. in passing..

this was a very interesting part of his testimony:
"I cannot guarantee success in Iraq," Crocker said. "I do believe . . . that it is attainable. I am certain that abandoning or drastically curtailing our efforts will bring failure."
sounds like he is covering his ass, to me..

Petraeus report: exactly what i predicted!

look at what i said about it one month ago:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the september report, my predictions!

for a long time now, i wanted to write about my expectations for the september report by General Petraeus. unfortunetly, most of my predictions are already becoming true:

1. the report will highlight military success.
and there even was some, much less than expected (and necessary!), though. the number of civilians killed might be slightly down. number of attacks is similar or higher than before. violence seems mostly to have been shifted, not removed.

but the real problem with this aspect is: we sent in an additional 30000 US troops. that is nearly a 25% increase! of course this would have an effect. looking at some numbers it becomes obvious, that we need at least another 60000 to get violence in Iraq to an "acceptable" level.

2. the report will claim some political progress
the US will try to force iraqis to at least attempt a vote on one of the laws. (oil, most likely)
the political process unfortunetly has become much worse lately. so this a forced law will lead to another debacle, like the constitution did.

3. the Anbar progress will take ahuge place in the report.
as i wrote before, i don t believe that forming militias is progress.

4. future action: slowly remove troops.
Bush and Co will have to face reality. a majority of americans (and of US MPs of both parties) wants troop numbers reduced. the reduction of course will not come in real action, but mostly in promises. a tiny short term reduction. a bigger reduction next year (when keeping this force level up will become difficult for the US military anyway) and prospect of a huge reduction AFTER the elections.

5. don t expect any hard numbers!
oil production? electricity delivered? numbers of attacks, violence death? the report will contain pretty little of this. and those that get in, will be carefully chosen.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

progress in Iraq?

Kansascity has a repor on the iraq progress:

When President Bush announced in January a “new way forward” in Iraq, he said that Iraqi and American troops would improve security while the Iraqi government improved services.

Responsibility for security in most of Iraq would be turned over to Iraqi security forces by November, he said.

With better security would come the breathing room needed for political reconciliation, Bush said.

With less than a week to go before the White House delivers a congressionally mandated report on that plan, none of this has happened.

i am very curious: what will sunday news do on the report tomorrow?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

the press and the number game

look at these two articles about civilian casualties.

first, NYtimes:

Still, the trend is similar: both the American and the Iraqi reports note a roughly 50 percent drop in the number of civilians who have been killed since the end of 2006. According to Iraqi government data, the number of civilians nationwide who died as a result of violent causes dropped to about 2,000 in August from about 4,000 in December 2006. American military statistics shows that the number of civilian deaths declined to 1,582 in August from 2,989 in December.
then we have the Boston Globe:

In March, the Pentagon's quarterly report estimated that there were about 1,300 sectarian slayings across Iraq in December 2006, when the sectarian violence was at its peak. But in its June report, the Pentagon revised the December 2006 death toll to more than 1,600. That change makes the decline to about 600 in April - after the surge began - even more dramatic.
so it looks like the pentagon simply keeps "UP-dating" it s old numbers. and makes new numbers look better by doing so.


Kaplan has written some piece on who disbanded the iraqi army. looks like Cheney did. funny, eh?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

more on the GAO report

the CSMonitor has a niece piece on the GAO report:

it includes critisism by o'hanlon:

The GAO's data may not reflect the downward trend experienced last month, says Mr. O'Hanlon. During his recent tour through Iraq, he adds, every local briefing he received from the US military said that attacks in that particular sector were down.
just remember, last month saw the WORST attack in iraq, EVER since the start of the war!
btw, this article on realclear politics claims, that if only you ignore those 520 dead Yazidis, august wasn t that bad a month..

but O'hanlon goes on, to make another point:

In addition, for the GAO to decline to judge whether attacks are sectarian or not is to take an overly rigorous approach to the numbers, says the Brookings expert.

"I just think they were flat-out sloppy," he says of GAO.

nice. so he clearly knows the motivs, of people killing people in Iraq?
i at least know the motivs of the US military. they will again label those 520 dead Yazidis to be NOT killed by sectarian violence.

In another discrepancy between the GAO and the administration, the GAO judges Iraq's commitment to field three government brigades in Baghdad as only "partially met," while the administration marked it as "satisfactory."

The difference? The GAO cites its concerns about the training and readiness of those Iraqi troops – and whether they are truly a deployed force. Just 65 percent of Iraqi personnel are deployed in the field at any one time, for instance, says its report.

so GAO thinks, that 65% "brigades aren t really brigades. it tend to agree. it s rather interesting to notice, how the pentagon changed it s numbers again. they insist those units arrived in Baghdad at 71%. but before the claim was, that after an initial problem with very low numbers, battalions arrived ready to act.
and remember, we are talking about battalions brought to 110% strength, before the move.
this would lead to the conclusion, that EVEN MORE soldiers stayed at home!


Kagan, who brought up the original plan for the surge, has some problems with the report as well. of course his arguments don t make any sense at all. sigh.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

GAO report. most benchmarks missed

take a look at the report here.

and TPM has a good video about the numbers game on iraqi casualties:

i m looking forward to see, how they will spin this next week...

Iraq Parliament back to work - at half strength..

iraqs parliament is back from august recess.

Parliament reconvened with 164 members and adjourned after about 90 minutes after lawmakers asked for time to read 10 bills that had been presented for their consideration, member of parliament Hussein al-Falluji told Reuters.

The 10 bills did not include any of the benchmark laws.

only slightly more than half of the lawmakers (total of 275) was present, pretty standard numbers for iraqi parliament in important meetings.

the lawmakers are under immense pressure by the US, to start passing benchmark laws.

Bush said he took Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki aside at one stage and told him: "'You're my friend and ... you've made progress in your recent meetings and now's the time to get these laws passed. You've got hard work to do.' And you know what? He understands that."
Maliki claims that he has submitted a debathification law to parliament, we ll see.

time is running out, but the US government will do whatever they can, to make at least one law happen or at least put on an agenda.

good or bad law? doesn t matter!