Wednesday, October 24, 2007

That's Our Congressman!

Here's one from our What’s Wrong with Michigan’s Congressmen? Department:

Today the Detroit News has belatedly found space to run an AP article about how well things have been going in Iraq. (“Military, civilian deaths fall in Iraq”):

BAGHDAD -- October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths and American commanders say they know why: the U.S. troop increase and an Iraqi groundswell against al-Qaida and Shiite militia extremists.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch points to what the military calls "Concerned Citizens" -- Shiites and Sunnis who have joined the American fight. He says he's signed up 20,000 of them in the past four months.

"I've never been more optimistic than I am right now with the progress we've made in Iraq. The only people who are going to win this counterinsurgency project are the people of Iraq. We've said that all along. And now they're coming forward in masses," Lynch said in a recent interview at a U.S. base deep in hostile territory south of Baghdad.

By the way, I think it’s fair to point out that when “concerned citizens,” from both sides of the Shia-Sunni divide in Iraq join up to cooperate with US forces, it qualifies as a form of political progress. But I digress. The AP story also reports:

As of Tuesday, the Pentagon reported 28 U.S. military deaths in October. That's an average of about 1.2 deaths a day. The toll on U.S troops hasn't been this low since March 2006, when 31 soldiers died -- an average of one death a day.

While U.S. death figures appear to be in sharp decline, the number of Iraqi civilians and security forces show a less dramatic drop.

The current pace of civilian deaths would put October at less than 900. The figure last month was 1,023 and for August, 1,956, according to figures compiled by the Associated Press.

I love the way the AP tries to minimize a dramatic plunge in civilian deaths from 1,956 to “less than 900,” (or, by at least more than one-half in only two months), as somehow not dramatic, because it's "not as dramatic" as the plunge in military deaths.

In spite of the AP's efforts to make great news into just barely OK news, the point is clear enough, in spite of all the two-stepping. We’re winning, both militarily and politically, as a direct result of this summer's surge in forces.

Yet, immediately below this optimistic story on the National/World section of the Detroit News, is this “Iraq Update,”about Michigan’s own Rep. John Dingell, (Democrat of Dearborn),

Dingell wants troops out by '09 U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, introduced legislation

Tuesday requiring President Bush to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by Jan. 20, 2009 -- the day his successor is sworn in -- and to start the withdrawal in the next 30 days. "(A)s the war drags on I am increasingly concerned that the president is hoping to leave this mess for the next president to fix," he said.

In yesterday’s news release, posted on Rep. Dingell's website, he twice refers, in error, to President Bush’s “failed policies in Iraq,” and to the President's refusal [sic] “to take responsibility for his failed strategy.” Says Dingell:

For years now, the American people have been told that progress in Iraq is just around the next corner. Over and over again, the President has told us that we need to be patient, to allow him more time to show results. The sad reality is that President Bush has no strategy for Iraq, and has instead adopted a policy of running out the clock so that he can lay the blame for his failures on the next President.

According to the AP story, and to the growing mountain of good reports coming out of Iraq, there's been so much progress there lately that by next summer there isn't going to be enough of a "mess" left in Iraq for Democrats to run against.

Someone should tell Rep. Dingell.

We know Congressman Dingell has been frantically working to keep his own Congressional majority from legislating the utter destruction of the Michigan auto industry, so he most likely hasn’t had time to read any current news reports about Iraq.

Perhaps when his staff clips this news brief for his political scrapbook, they can include the good-news article above it from the AP.

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