Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Now I see a darkness:
Documenting the impact of sectarian and other violence in Iraq during the surge is a matter of accepting Prop Joe rules: proof is hard to come by. With acrimony over the war at a fever pitch -- in the U.S., in Iraq, and internationally -- every statistic has a political implication, bound to be unwelcome for one faction or another. The simplest method of addressing the problem? Omerta.

Today the United Nations Mission in Iraq released its first human rights report of 2007. UNAMI reports in the past have been controversial. Although largely reliant on official ministry statistics for its portrait of Iraq, UNAMI has been accused by the Iraqi government of painting a bleaker picture than is warranted. This year, with so much at stake for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the government decided it was better not to take any chances. (Warning: PDF)
In its previous reports on the human rights situation in Iraq, UNAMI regularly cited the Iraqi Government's official data, including the Ministry of Higher Education's statistics on killings among academics and the Ministry of Interior's statistics on killings among police officers. It is therefore a matter of regret that the Iraqi Government did not provide UNAMI access to the Ministry of Health's overall mortality figures for this reporting period. UNAMI emphasizes again the utmost need for the Iraqi Government to operate in a transparent manner, and does not accept the Iraqi Government's suggestion that UNAMI used the mortality figures in an inappropriate fashion.
UNAMI still expressed "concern" about ethnic cleansing, internal displacement, endangered minorities, official torture and weak judicial oversight. It dismisses the U.S.'s favored statistic -- a 50 percent drop in sectarian killing since the beginning of the surge -- by saying "the number of victims was nevertheless high, with as many as 25 bodies still being found on some days on the streets of Baghdad." Don't hold your breath for Maliki to become more cooperative for the next report.
--Spencer Ackerman
Spencer--

Longtime reader, first time commenter: can you post links here when you publish elsewhere? You're my favorite writer on Iraq and I'm sure I'm missing a lot of your content.

Thanks man---Jerry
Blogger sloan | 11:58 AM

Sure, Sloan, will do. Thanks for reading. Here's something I wrote for the Guardian's blog yesterday:

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/spencer_ackerman/2007/04/tear_down_this_wall.html
Blogger spencerackerman | 2:11 PM

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