Civilian Death Toll Falls in Baghdad but Rises Across Iraq
BAGHDAD, Sept. 1 — Newly released statistics for Iraqi civilian deaths in August reflect the strikingly mixed security picture that has emerged from a gradual six-month increase in American troop strength here: the number of deaths across the country rose by about 20 percent since July, but in the capital itself, the number dropped sharply.
. . . But the figures provided by the Interior Ministry official show a drop in deaths within Baghdad, to 656 in August from 896 in July.
And that suffices for progress. Who would have thought that four years after knocking down the Hussein statue, we would be celebrating a mere 656 civilian deaths in Baghdad as a positive news item?
In our absolute desperation and self-doubt, this is how far we have allowed ourselves to come, rhetorically.
There is no way for Americans to adequately apologize to Iraqis for what they have done to them and to their country. Three decades after we got out of Vietnam, we are finally dealing with the Vietnamese under fairly normal circumstances. We can hope, but not count on, an ability to work normally with Iraqis at some future date.
Whether that will be ten, thirty or fifty years is impossible to tell.