Thursday, November 19, 2009

From this article in the New York Times:

One big question hovering over McChrystal is whether his experience in Iraq truly prepares him for the multiheaded challenge that faces him now. For nearly five years, McChrystal served as chief of the Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the military’s commando units, including the Army Delta Force and the Navy Seals. (Until recently, the Pentagon refused to acknowledge that the command even existed.)

As JSOC’s commander, McChrystal spent no time trying to win over the Iraqis or training Iraqi forces or building the governing capacity of the Iraqi state. In Iraq (and, for about a third of his time, in Afghanistan), McChrystal’s job, and that of the men under his command, was, almost exclusively, to kill and capture insurgents and terrorists.

The rescue of Iraq from the cataclysm that it had become by 2006 is an epic tale of grit and blood and luck. By February of that year, Iraq had descended into a full-blown civil war, with a thousand civilians dying every month. Its central actors were the gunmen of Al Qaeda, who, with their suicide bombers, carried out large-scale massacres of Shiite civilians; and the Shiite militias, some of them in Iraqi uniforms, who retaliated by massacring thousands of young Sunni men.

Emphasis added. Is this turning into the conventional wisdom? Instead of the 25,000 or so deaths per month that Lancet 2 would suggest for this period, the New York Times is now going with 1,000? That would be in the same neighborhood (even less than?) IBC.