And here's the key quote:
NEWS COVERAGE and debate about Iraq during the past couple of weeks have centered on the alleged abuses of private security firms like Blackwater USA. Getting such firms into a legal regime is vital, as we've said. But meanwhile, some seemingly important facts about the main subject of discussion last month -- whether there has been a decrease in violence in Iraq -- have gotten relatively little attention. A congressional study and several news stories in September questioned reports by the U.S. military that casualties were down. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), challenging the testimony of Gen. David H. Petraeus, asserted that "civilian deaths have risen" during this year's surge of American forces.
A month later, there isn't much room for such debate, at least about the latest figures. In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web site icasualties.org. The Iraqi Health Ministry and the Associated Press reported similar results. U.S. soldiers killed in action numbered 43 -- down 43 percent from August and 64 percent from May, which had the highest monthly figure so far this year. The American combat death total was the lowest since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since the insurgency in Iraq took off in April 2004.During the first 12 days of October the death rates of Iraqis and Americans fell still further.
Al-Qaeda tried to step up attacks this year, U.S. commanders say -- so far, with stunningly little success.Read it here.
And then there's this [complete with charts for the reading impaired]
And [lest we forget Afghanistan] this.
And on the subject of political reconciliation in Iraq there's this. Those ten-foot tall Mahdi's just don't seem to be what the MSM and the Democrats claimed they were.
Suddenly, and without warning, the MSM has decided that things are looking up in Iraq. Is it because they were shamed by Robin Wright's startling admission to Howard Kurtz that she and other leading journalists felt that good news on the war should be buried while negative news is routinely played up? [here]
Is it Gen. Sanchez' blistering condemnation of MSM bias, which they did not report, but could not have helped but notice? [here]
Is it that they just got tired of the old story-line?
Is it that Hillary has been moving away from an anti-war position?
What is notable is that, like a flock of birds or school of fish, they all turned on a dime to emphasize the new conventional wisdom.
This raises the vital questions -- have things really changed that much in Iraq, or is this just a change in how the story is reported? It is clear that things were never as bad as the MSM reported, but are they now improving as much as the new stories seem to indicate? Time will tell.