Report vs. Reality: What General Petraeus Didn't Say
Posted on: Tuesday, September 11, 2007
September 11, 2007
Report:The General claimed that the surge has reduced the killing of Iraqi civilians.
- No independent assessments support this assertion. In fact, the head of the Congressional Government Accountability Office says his agency has a “strong difference of opinion” with Petraeus’ claim. McClatchy Newspapers report that “The military has provided no hard numbers to back the claim.”
- Petraeus’ statistical illusions come from arbitrarily excluding people killed by car bombs (more than 2,600 people this year), by members of their own religious group, and by bullet wounds to the front of the head.
- Figures from Iraqi hospitals, morgues, and police logs show that civilian killings are double what they were this time last year.
- Women from MADRE’s Iraqi sister organization, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), have taken on the gruesome task of visiting morgues to try to assess the number of women killed in gender-based attacks. They report that the killings of women have skyrocketed under US occupation and that the “surge” has done nothing to diminish the trend.
Report:The General claimed that “the most significant development in the past six months” was cooperation between US troops and local Sunni tribes in the fight against al Qaeda. Touting the province of Anbar as a model, the General said, “Coalition and Iraqi forces have dealt significant blows to al Qaeda-Iraq” and “thrown al Qaeda off balance.”
- Anbar’s anti-al Qaeda initiative has nothing to do with the surge. It was organized by tribal leaders last September, four months before additional US troops were stationed in Anbar. According to McClatchy Newspapers, the tribes had previously asked for US help in confronting al Qaeda, “but had been rebuffed. By the time U.S. troops began working with the tribes, the battle against al Qaeda was well under way.”
- Petraeus’ focus on al Qaeda is misleading. Al Qaeda in Iraq represents less than five percent of the anti-US insurgency, which shows no signs of wearing out. In fact, a recent Brookings Institution report shows that the insurgency has more than quadrupled since the occupation began. Moreover, both al Qaeda in Iraq and the overall insurgency are merely products of the US occupation itself. As for the the broader al Qaeda organization, a July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate reports that it is alive and well, with its operations in full swing in US-allied Pakistan.
Report:The General claimed that sectarian violence has been sharply reduced by the surge.
- Since the surge began, the pace of “sectarian cleansing” has actually increased, bringing the total number of Iraqis who have been driven from their homes to over four million. Iraqi Red Crescent figures show an average of 100,000 people fleeing their homes each month that the surge has been in place.
- Petraeus’ figures reflect the success of ethnic cleansing across Iraq, not the success of the surge. Where violence has decreased, it is mainly in areas where the bloody project of ethnic cleansing is now complete: killing is down because there is no one left to kill.
- According to the New York Times, “Iraq’s mixed neighborhoods are sliding towards extinction. During the troop increase, Shiite militias have continued to drive Sunnis out of at least seven neighborhoods in Baghdad.”
- In August 2007, Shiite militiamen drove out Sunnis and Christians from Baghdad’s Dora District. The move was followed by the violent imposition of the militia’s brand of Islamic law. Women are now forbidden to be in public without their husbands, and girls were forbidden to enroll in school when summer vacation ended. Violence against women and girls has been an invisible but constant feature of ethnic cleansing, which the US continues to ignore.
As expected, the Petraeus Report asks for more time to prosecute a war that should never have been launched in the first place. The only “progress” it anticipates is a reduction of US combat troops to “pre-surge levels” by mid-2008. In other words, we’ll be back where we were in January 2007, when Bush first announced his escalation of the war. Iraqi women and families can’t wait that long—and neither can we. With a third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives up for election, now is the time to let Congress know that ending the surge is not nearly enough: we need to end the occupation of Iraq and bring all of the troops home now.
By Yifat Susskind, Communications Director
Archives"Press Room" Home July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)
Iraq: The women left behind (Aljazeera, July 3, 2014)
Under Isis, Iraqi women again face an old nightmare: violence and repression (The Guardian, July 3, 2014)
How Can We Protect Women From A Sexual Jihad? (HuffPost Live, June 26, 2014)