Washington Post editorial on Sunday, October 14th:
A congressional study and several news stories in September questioned reports by the U.S. military that casualties were down. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), challenging the testimony of Gen. David H. Petraeus, asserted that “civilian deaths have risen” during this year’s surge of American forces.
A month later, there isn’t much room for such debate, at least about the latest figures. In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web site icasualties.org. The Iraqi Health Ministry and the Associated Press reported similar results. U.S. soldiers killed in action numbered 43 — down 43 percent from August and 64 percent from May, which had the highest monthly figure so far this year. The American combat death total was the lowest since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since the insurgency in Iraq took off in April 2004.
[I]t’s looking more and more as though those in and outside of Congress who last month were assailing Gen. Petraeus’s credibility and insisting that there was no letup in Iraq’s bloodshed were — to put it simply — wrong.
McClatchy article from October 10th, “Increased violence continues in Iraq”:
BAGHDAD — A recent jump in violence across Iraq continued Wednesday, with at least 16 people killed and 45 wounded in various attacks, including seven involving improvised bombs. More than 55 people were killed and more than 110 were wounded on Tuesday.
Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said the attacks were part of what’s become an annual increase in violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends this weekend. He said the attacks were mounted mainly by al Qaida in Iraq, which he said is trying to reverse a growing movement among fellow Sunni Muslims who are turning against it.
“This spike in violence largely targets those it sees as most threatening to it — Iraqi security force leaders, concerned local citizens and other local citizens in areas that are in the process of rejecting al Qaida,” he said.