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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Reality vs. Gen. Petraeus

I'll be the first to admit that anecdotal evidence can be used to "prove" a lot of things. Nevertheless, it's interesting that the BBC chooses to run this story on the day Gen. Petraeus is testifying to Congress, under the headline "Iraqis untouched by US surge."
"I haven't left my home in two months," says Kulsoom, a medical student who lives in east Baghdad with her family.

Only a few family members ever go out, for daily essentials. Otherwise they stay at home, day after day.

But they would agree with Gen Petraeus that there has been a drop in violence since the American troop surge.

"There are fewer attacks," says Kulsoom. "Now it is only four or five killed a day in our area. It used to be 20 or 30."

"But we are still afraid. Nothing has really changed."
And this is someone who describes herself as "the optimistic one in my family."

More from the article:

"We only get two hours of electricity a day," says Kulsoom. "One in the morning, one in the evening."

The Americans send out constant press releases to journalists talking of new projects to improve the power system. But the situation is as bad as ever.

Even this lower level of violence is still shockingly high. Iraqis still get kidnapped every day.

Gen Petraeus told Congress that the number of car bombs was down by half from the start of the year. But they are still running at a rate of three a day.

Kulsoom says 60 or 70 of her classmates have left [the country] in the past 18 months, many of her professors too.

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