As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Iraq Violence Is Rising

The President made one mistake last night, when he talked about violence still being below the levels of "a year ago." Actually, with yesterday's attacks killing 47 it has risen to that level.

BAGHDAD — April was the bloodiest month for violence in Baghdad in more than a year, another sign that Iraq's security gains are beginning to reverse.

President Barack Obama acknowledged Wednesday night that violence has risen in recent weeks, but he said the levels of violence were still below last year's.

Calling recent bombings "a legitimate cause for concern," Obama said "civilian deaths . . . remain very low compared to what was going on last year."

But statistics kept by McClatchy show that in Baghdad alone, more than 200 people have been killed in attacks so far this month, compared with 99 last month and 46 in February, according to a McClatchy count.

The last time McClatchy recorded more than 200 civilian deaths in one month in the capital was more than a year ago, in March 2008.

To maintain credibility in foreign policy, Presidents must talk straight with the American people. There's a reason for the rising violence, and that's the failure of the surge to effect a meaningful political reconciliation, which is leading to an increase in sectarian violence. Obama could make that case, and tweak his Iraq plans to increase the diplomatic efforts to force those political solutions. In fact, by dispatching Hillary Clinton to Iraq last week, he's doing that. But he shouldn't minimize the scope of the violence in Iraq right now. That's disingenuous and distorting.

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