Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tally of Iraq's dead in surge disputed - Bush touts drop in executions, defends omitting car-bomb, blast tolls

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.

Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge in U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

President Bush explained why in a TV interview Tuesday. ``If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory,'' he told interviewer Charlie Rose.

Others contend that not counting bombing victims skews the evidence of how well the Baghdad security plan is protecting civilians -- one of the surge's goals.

No comments: