Dismissing the Surge's Success

In a post today, Dean Barnett of The Weekly Standard criticized the Times for ignoring the improving news out of Iraq and declared:

"In the face of media indifference, the facts on the ground in Iraq have changed dramatically and for the better. The deaths of Iraqi civilians over the past two months have declined precipitously. Before the surge and its accompanying change in tactics took effect, often 3,000 Iraqis would die violent deaths in a month, directly victimized by the sectarian violence. In September, that number dropped below 900. In October, the plunge continued to below 700, the lowest figure for any month at any point during the war."

Indeed, the Times today actually mentioned the troop surge in Iraq, only to minimize its positive effect, in Wednesday's story by Iraq infrastructure reporter James Glanz - "In Report to Congress, Oversight Officials Say Iraqi Rebuilding Falls Short of Goals."

"But another oversight official, Joseph A. Christoff, the director of international affairs and trade at the Government Accountability Office, said some measures of what some see as progress in Iraq were not as clear-cut as they might seem.

"For example, Pentagon statistics indicated that a drop in violence in Iraq over the past several months 'was primarily due to a decrease in attacks against coalition forces,' Mr. Christoff said in written remarks to a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

"'Attacks against Iraqi security forces and civilians have declined less than attacks against coalition forces,' Mr. Christoff wrote."