Another deadly weekend has come to a close in Iraq, with over 100 Iraqis killed and over 340 wounded in a number of attacks across the nation. Such death tolls had once been common during the Iraqi War, and it seems to be increasingly true again lately, as violence has continued to rise over the past several months.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, cautioned against “overreacting” to such incidents, saying “there is a level of violence and a level of terrorism here that’s going to occur.”
But the rising level of violence is increasingly difficult to ignore, particularly in the wake of US military figures about the death toll in Iraq that were issued last week. In them the US claimed only 161 civilians were killed in July, despite media reports showing over three times this many had actually been slain.
US officials are struggling to show that the death toll is not on the rise, so that they can spin President Obama’s mythical end of combat operations as a military success. Rather the US intends to keep the military in Iraq through 2011, and to have the State Department’s own “small army” there fighting for years afterwards, so officials are under no illusion, rhetoric aside, that the war is anywhere near over.