Truth be told, Iraq is still a living hell (The News Tribune)

John McCain likes to say, “we’re winning in Iraq, and we’ll come home with victory.”Maybe so, but it depends on how you measure victory.

Without question, violence in Iraq has declined. Sectarian violence has diminished, fewer people are dying, the number of deadly bombings has dropped. But let’s put this in perspective…

Without saying so explicitly, the Republicans leave the impression that Iraq is now a nearly pacific place. But let’s look at the actual statistics for September — as compiled for the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index.

Last month, 98 Iraqi policemen were killed. On about two days out of every three, a bomb killed two or more people. Over all, those bombings killed 164 people and wounded 366 others. These and other attacks killed 500 Iraqi civilians, about 17 a day. Seventeen American soldiers died; 102 were wounded.

About 19,000 Iraqis remain in American military prisons. Almost 3 million Iraqis driven from their homes still are not willing or able to return. Even now, almost five years after the invasion, Baghdad residents get just over 11 hours of electricity each day, compared to 20 hours before the war…

My point is not to diminish the genuine accomplishments of the U.S. military. Iraq is less violent. But it remains so far from the ostensible goal — a unified, democratic, safe and stable nation, as Bush, McCain and Sarah Palin put it — that when the Republicans suggest it’s just within reach, they are foisting a lie upon the American people.

Truth be told, Iraq is still a living hell (Joel Brinkley in The News Tribune)


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