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The Left's Collective Aneurysm

12:14 PM, Nov 20, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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As expected, today's extraordinary front page article in the New York Times on progress in Iraq is causing aneurysms across wide swathes of the left-wing blogosphere. You might think the news that "the security improvements in most neighborhoods are real" might be cause for bipartisan celebration, or at least cautious optimism.

Think again. Instead, left wing bloggers are doing everything in their power to deny or disparage the gains that our soldiers are making--with increasingly little concern for intellectual honesty of their arguments.

It seems they're determined to prove right Senator Joe Lieberman, who warned earlier this month that Democrats today are "emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq"--regardless of the evidence.

Consider this gem from Daily Kos, posted this morning in response to the Times piece.

The news this morning is full of signs of peace settling over Baghdad as increased troop levels help to quiet the insurgency.

Officials said privately that they hoped to foster a sense of normalcy and encourage limited travel to Iraq, particularly by business people and aid workers. They mentioned that Baghdad International Airport is preparing to reopen in a few days.

Wait, wait, wait. That was 2003.

No, here's how nice things are in Iraq.

Ammar Hussein finally felt it was safe enough to keep his pizza shop open until midnight. Life was returning to normal in Iraq's capital. Most nights, families crowded around plastic tables outside his shop to eat pizza and ice cream.

Darn it, that was 2004. This must be the right article.

The amazing realisation is that somehow normal life continues. Shops open, people go to work. Even the Crazy Frog mobile phone ring tone has become the latest fad in Baghdad.

Sorry again, 2005.

Clever stuff, no? The only problem: the Kos quotes are spectacularly out of context.

Consider the article from 2005, drawn from the Telegraph. It's true it does contain the line, "The amazing realisation is that somehow normal life continues."

But here's what precedes it:

"The people of Baghdad do not need statistics to tell them that they are living through terror unimaginable in the West.

"Every two days for the past two years more civilians have died in Iraq than in the July 7 London bombings.

"Just yesterday, 31 people lost their lives in several attacks across the country, which included gunmen shooting dead three Sunni Arab members of the team drafting Iraq's new constitution; insurgents slaughtering 10 workers on a bus travelling to a US army base, and gunmen ambushing a police vehicle in northern Mosul, killing two."

And here's what follows it:

The amazing realisation is that somehow normal life continues…

But conversation in the city is dominated by the bombs left in cars near markets, the drive-by shootings, the kidnappings or even the water melon seller with the poisoned produce to be given for free to passing policemen.
And then there are the suicide bombs - around 130 of them across Iraq in the first six months of this year alone - fuelled by a seemingly endless procession of young men, drawn from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Syria.

Parents are alarmed not only for the children's safety but the mental scars the violence will leave.

By contrast, here's the Times today:

Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad's streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.