Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Or so I'm informed by an editorialist in Investor's Business Daily, where the editorial page is even further to the right than The Wall Street Journal's, so, hey, it must be true:

Winning The War: The best measure of our success in Iraq is the results of the latest election -- Iraqis voting with their feet. Some 4 million Iraqis who fled their homeland are returning in droves.

Got that? All four million are returning home! Yippeee!!!

Or, er, maybe not:

Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for the U.S.-Iraqi efforts to pacify Baghdad, said border crossings by returning refugees numbered 46,030 in October alone.

Hmmmm, 46,030 ... that's a lot less than four million, isn't it? By my calculations, even at the rate of 46,030 a month, it would take until 2015 for four million people to return. But that's OK -- we can still say we're "winning the war." (Or, like this guy, say that "We won." But that doesn't mean we can withdraw any troops!)

Oh, and, er, that 46,030? Apparently it comes with a couple of caveats:

...But in interviews, officials from the ministry acknowledged that the count covered all Iraqis crossing the border, not just returnees. "We didn't ask them if they were displaced and neither did the Interior Ministry," said Sattar Nowruz, a spokesman for the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

As a result, the tally included Iraqi employees of The New York Times who had visited relatives in Syria but were not among the roughly two million Iraqis who have fled the country.

The figures apparently also included three people suspected of being insurgents arrested Saturday near Baquba in Diyala Province. The police described them as local residents who had fled temporarily to Syria, then returned.

...A half-dozen owners of Iraqi travel agencies and drivers who regularly travel to Syria agreed that the numbers misrepresented reality.

They said that the flow of returnees peaked last month, with more than 50 families arriving daily from Syria at Baghdad’s main drop-off point. Since Nov. 1, they said, the numbers have declined, and on Sunday morning, during a period when several buses used to appear, only one came.

...A United Nations survey released last week, of 110 Iraqi families leaving Syria, also seemed to dispute the contentions of officials in Iraq that people are returning primarily because they feel safer.

The survey found that 46 percent were leaving because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security.

Underscoring a widely held sense of hesitation, many of those who come back to Iraq do not return to their homes....

Shut up! Shut up! We want to believe! The Iraqi government sent twenty whole buses to Damascus on Sunday! Look at that crowd! Look at that, er, significantly smaller-looking crowd!

Never mind the truth -- Bush and his propagandists are partying like it's May 1, 2003. And I mean that literally. Remember how Bush stood on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln on "Mission Accomplished" day and, rather than referring to a "war," said we'd "prevailed" in "the battle of Iraq"? Well, The New York Sun ran a story yesterday headlined "Talks Are Set on Ending Battle of Iraq." (Because, you see, the war is one big War on Terror, against one big Islamofascist enemy named Osamaddam bin Ladejad.)

Oh, but if all goes well, the wa-- er, battle in Iraq still won't end, according to the Sun, until (conveniently) "the close of Mr. Bush's presidency."

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