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Things finally getting better in Iraq


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http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gkx-3oY...s98w8wD8SLNI400

 

 

Friday Iraqi Death Toll Near Record Low

By STEVEN R. HURST ? 2 days ago

 

BAGHDAD (AP) ? Police found the bodies of six victims of sectarian violence dumped in three Iraqi cities Friday. There were no reported shootings or bombings, and it was only the second day this year that the sectarian death toll fell below 10, according to an Associated Press count.

 

Both days were Fridays, the Muslim day of rest and prayer. The last was Feb. 23, when AP records show five Iraqis were found dead in Baghdad. No one died in shootings or bombings on that day either.

 

On average, 56 Iraqis ? civilians and security forces ? have died each day so far in this very bloody year.

 

But there appears to be a marked difference between Friday and Feb. 23.

 

More than four months after U.S. forces completed a 30,000-strong force buildup, the death toll for both Iraqis and Americans has fallen dramatically for two months running.

 

U.S. commanders credit a new tactic of putting troops into neighborhood bases and of signing on disaffected former enemies as new allies in the fight against the most radical elements in both the Shiite and Sunni communities, especially al-Qaida in Iraq. Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also has called a cease-fire, a move seen largely responsible for the drop in sectarian murders.

 

On Feb. 23, when the death toll was five, the foreshortened month would end with 1,801 Iraqis killed. While impossible to forecast what this month holds, Friday's stunningly low figure follows an Iraqi toll of 905 last month. The number was 1,023 in September and 1,956 in August. The figures for U.S. military deaths followed the same downward trend: 84 in August; 65 in September; 39 last month.

 

As if sensing a possible shift in the capital, Iraqis in mainly Shiite eastern Baghdad have returned to the streets in numbers not seen in months.

 

Firas Rahim, who owns a shop selling clothing for men and children in the Karradah neighborhood, said the number of customers in the store has risen 75 percent in recent days. He now stays open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Before the chaos diminished he was open only from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

 

"I was afraid to stay open longer because of the bombings and violence. Things are looking better now. My business is booming," Rahim said. "I have whole families coming in again. It's a positive sign. I hope it lasts. Baghdadis love to live at night. I used to close after midnight and hope, someday, I can again."

 

Taxis and minibuses, scarce even on recent Fridays, were plentiful. In the mainly Shiite district of New Baghdad, in the east of the capital, a small amusement park was under repair, workmen rejuvenating the rides. The park was closed when the United States invaded in March 2003.

 

Shops were under repair for reopening. And in the neighborhood market, there were women present, able to enter without searches for the first time in months. Residents said hundreds of shops that had been closed on recent Fridays were now open.

 

But people remain bunkered in many neighborhoods of west Baghdad where struggle for control still rages among militant Shiites and Sunnis.

 

Despite the overall relative calm for civilians and Iraqi forces, the military said U.S. forces backed by attack helicopters Friday killed 10 al-Qaida in Iraq fighters, two of them wearing suicide bomb vests, in Salman Pak on the southeast fringe of Baghdad.

 

The military statement said American forces found a small weapons cache, including several suicide vests, heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft artillery.

 

North of Baghdad, the military said, it captured an al-Qaida fighter responsible for communicating between combat units and the organization's leader, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, know to the Americans as Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

 

And three U.S. airmen were killed in combat operations north of Baghdad, the military said in a separate statement.

 

All three, assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, died Thursday near Balad Air Base, some 50 miles north of Baghdad, the military said.

 

The statement did not give details on how the airmen died, nor whether they died in aircraft or on the ground. No air crashes, emergency landings or shootings were reported Thursday or Friday.

 

In a second statement, the U.S. military said Apache helicopters shot a Hellfire missile and destroyed an anti-aircraft weapon Thursday south of Baghdad. Two suspected insurgents were spotted walking away from the weapon, which had been covered by a tarp, the statement said.

 

At least 3,848 U.S. military personnel have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an AP count.

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What I find hilarious is that one of the reasons the death toll has slowed down is our decision to work with a radical Islamic cleric who has declared a ceasefire.

 

If anyone outside of the Bush administration or Fox news even remotely suggested that we should work with the leading radical Islamic cleric, what would they be attacked with?

 

Can there be an acknowledgment that when operating in the field of foreign policy, broad based rhetoric and black and white arguments are absolutely foolish?

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What I find hilarious is that one of the reasons the death toll has slowed down is our decision to work with a radical Islamic cleric who has declared a ceasefire.

 

If anyone outside of the Bush administration or Fox news even remotely suggested that we should work with the leading radical Islamic cleric, what would they be attacked with?

 

Can there be an acknowledgment that when operating in the field of foreign policy, broad based rhetoric and black and white arguments are absolutely foolish?

 

Shut up hippy, you were only allowed 4 responses.

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Can there be an acknowledgment that when operating in the field of foreign policy, broad based rhetoric and black and white arguments are absolutely foolish?

"NOOO!!! That can't be true, that's IMPOSSIBLE!"

 

They have been very hypocritical the whole time they have been in office when it comes to foreign policy. From Cheney bashing Russia for their human rights record a day after praising the repressive regime of Tajikstan's record, to the president always insisting that you are 'either with us or against us', it's a mess.

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What I find hilarious is that one of the reasons the death toll has slowed down is our decision to work with a radical Islamic cleric who has declared a ceasefire.

 

If anyone outside of the Bush administration or Fox news even remotely suggested that we should work with the leading radical Islamic cleric, what would they be attacked with?

 

Can there be an acknowledgment that when operating in the field of foreign policy, broad based rhetoric and black and white arguments are absolutely foolish?

 

 

I've always agreed with your last sentence. However, the falling death tolls is a good thing and definitely news worthy. Which is why I decided to post it. Truth is I lean to a more isolationist foreign policy in terms of troop movements and more globalized economically.

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What I find hilarious is that one of the reasons the death toll has slowed down is our decision to work with a radical Islamic cleric who has declared a ceasefire.

 

If anyone outside of the Bush administration or Fox news even remotely suggested that we should work with the leading radical Islamic cleric, what would they be attacked with?

 

Can there be an acknowledgment that when operating in the field of foreign policy, broad based rhetoric and black and white arguments are absolutely foolish?

What bobbob said.

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What I find hilarious is that one of the reasons the death toll has slowed down is our decision to work with a radical Islamic cleric who has declared a ceasefire.

 

If anyone outside of the Bush administration or Fox news even remotely suggested that we should work with the leading radical Islamic cleric, what would they be attacked with?

 

Can there be an acknowledgment that when operating in the field of foreign policy, broad based rhetoric and black and white arguments are absolutely foolish?

 

Shut up hippy, you were only allowed 4 responses.

 

 

I was going to comment but your signature distracted me. :D

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