Now You See It… No You Don’t.

Good news can sometimes be both fleeting and difficult to find. Today the paper Herald had a front page AP story which spoke about improvements in Iraq during the last months due to a US led security crackdown. The successes were in line with the claims of Iraqi Dr. Abd Al-Khaleg Hussein that I quoted last week in my post Success is Imminent. We get the paper at work, so I thought I would read the article more carefully when I got home. But at home I read the online Herald and the article by Robert H. Reid was nowhere to be found at the Herald site. I wondered why? Perhaps because of an oversight? Perhaps intentional? I don’t know, maybe comment section fear? So now you see the good news if you buy the paper and no you don’t get the good news if you read online. Here are a few highlights:

Bomb deaths have gone down 30 percent in Baghdad since the U.S.-led security crackdown began a month ago. Execution-style slayings are down by nearly half.

The once frequent sound of weapons has been reduced to episodic, and downtown shoppers have returned to outdoor markets – favored targets of car bombers.

There are signs of progress in the campaign to restore order in Iraq, starting with its capital city. But while many Iraqis are encouraged, they remain skeptical how long the relative calm will last.

Only two of the five U.S. brigades earmarked for the mission are in the streets, and the full complement of American reinforcements is not due until late May.

The rattle of automatic weapons fire or the rumble of distant roadside bombs comes less frequently. Traffic is beginning to return to the city’s once vacant streets.

“People are very optimistic because they sense a development. The level of sectarian violence in streets and areas has decreased,” said a 50-year-old Shiite, who gave his name only as Abu Abbas, or “father of Abbas.” “The activities of the militias have also decreased. The car bombs and the suicide attacks are the only things left, while other kinds of violence have decreased.”

A lot of good news and even more in the article. Naturally their were the standard cautions about getting our hopes up, but this was generally a positive story. Too bad this AP story released yesterday was so fleeting. It was the good news that was fleeting, it was the story. I really had to dig to find it. It looks like AP has replaced it today with a shorter and not nearly as optimistic piece.

I still think we need to send at least 21,000 more troops.  But I had this other weird thought.  There are a lot of AWOL soldiers, deserters, resistors, whatever, who seem to strongly believe that guns and violence are not the way to fight a war.  I say we should embrace their philosophy by sending them to the Middle East sans guns,  but with US flags, signs and clipboards of course.

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