In a bold, unprecedented move, the U.S.-led coalition was able to boast a 52 percent drop in the murder rate in Baghdad from July to August with the cunning use of a thesaurus.
U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, said a security crackdown that began August 7th more than halved the city's murder rate. To calculate the success of the crackdown, officials counted only those who died as the result of having been murdered or executed as a specific target of terrorism.
Those killed in the crossfire, specifically those whose deaths had been counted before the crackdown, didn't make the cut. Death by bomb, mortar, rocket, IED, VBIED, or suicide attack is now off the list of ways one can be murdered. These means of attack are indirect and not necessarily the result of direct sectarian-related violence.
What still counts? Drive-by shootings and death by torture and/or execution. What does this change around in terms mean for the U.S. coalition casualty rate? "These comments were intended to highlight some specific indicators of progress and were never stated in relation to broader casualty figures," U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said Monday.
Right. If you were part of the U.S.-led coalition then you were singled out, brutally attacked, and murdered by terrorist thugs. If you weren't part of the U.S.-led coalition, you just died. The U.S. might even say you were killed as the result of a terrorist attack, but if your name wasn’t on that bullet, bomb or IED you weren’t murdered.
U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson didn't say how anyone arrived at the 52 percent figure, saying details would give "our enemy information they need to adjust their tactics and procedures to be more effective against us." One wonders if that enemy includes anyone who questions how a murder rate can drop when the number of bodies piling up doesn’t.
Let's just keep that kind of poetic license away from the list of World Trade Center casualties, shall we?